The Washington Nationals have added some organizational bullpen depth, signing left-hander J.C. Romero to a minor-league contract, the team has announced. The deal includes an invite to big-league Spring Training.
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Romero, 36, has been floating around on the free-agent market since August -- when he was released by the Orioles -- but got some great national exposure as a late-inning arm for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic earlier this month. The southpaw tossed just 4⅔ innings in five games overall during the tournament, but did so primarily in high-leverage situations and struck out better than a batter an inning.
A 14-year MLB vet, Romero has been less of a bullpen presence the last four years than in his first decade of big-league ball. The left-hander has thrown just 90 innings in the majors since 2009, and has been sidelined for significant periods of time with forearm and elbow issues.
The Nats have just one left-hander -- Zach Duke -- who is a lock for the club's bullpen, so there is an off-chance Romero will make his way to the capital at some point this season. Fellow southpaws Fernando Abad and Bill Bray are likely to compete with Romero for bullpen time.