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Nationals sign Jeremy Hellickson to minor-league deal

The eight-year veteran will aim for a major league return in 2018.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals and starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson have agreed to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports.

Hellickson, who is soon to be 31, will look to rediscover the success he had earlier in his career. A former Rookie of the Year Award winner with the Rays, Hellickson struggled mightily with the Phillies and Orioles in 2017. The righty surrendered 1.9 home runs per nine innings, which contributed to a 5.43 ERA. His stint with the Orioles was even worse, as Hellickson pitched to a 6.97 ERA while giving up 2.3 homers per nine.

Despite his struggles, Hellickson will have a shot to make the Nats’ starting rotation. The top of the starting staff is obviously loaded with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but the projected fifth starter is A.J. Cole, who threw just 52 innings last season. If Hellickson can tap into the success he had with the Phillies in 2016 (3.98 FIP over 189 innings), he may find himself in a major league uniform come April.