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Nationals sign Heath Bell to minor league deal

The three-time All-Star will compete for a spot in Washington's bullpen during spring training.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals have signed reliever Heath Bell to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to major-league spring training, according to a major-league source.

Bell, 37, will likely have a chance to compete for a spot in the Nationals' bullpen during spring training after struggling last season while spending time with three different organizations. After posting a 7.27 ERA in thirteen appearances for the Rays, he was released and spent time at Triple-A with the Orioles and Yankees over the summer.

Bell, who signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Marlins before the 2012 season, will join his sixth different organization since leaving the Padres as a free agent. He is the owner of a lifetime 38-32 record and 3.49 ERA, and was named to three consecutive NL All-Star teams as the Padres' closer from 2009 to 2011. In five seasons with San Diego, Bell posted a 2.53 ERA while saving 134 games in 354 appearances.