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MacDougal returns

Mar 24, 2010, 8:58 PM EDT

TAMPA — The Nationals have signed reliever Mike MacDougal to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp.

MacDougal, who saved 20 games for the Nats last season, was non-tendered by the club in December after undergoing hip surgery. He wound up signing with the Marlins but was released last week after an ineffective spring.

The right-hander is expected to report to Nationals camp in Viera tomorrow.

UPDATE AT 6:52 P.M. — General manager Mike Rizzo wouldn't rule out the possibility of MacDougal making the Opening Day roster but said "something extraordinary would have to happen for him to break camp with the club."

The right-hander has said he's willing to open the season at Class AAA Syracuse, though he does have an out clause in his contract if he's not promoted to Washington by a certain date early in the season. Rizzo said there are no concerns with MacDougal's hip anymore but that theRead more ยป

  1. JayB - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    Mark,Has Dukes spoken yet and has anyone shown any interest in him?

  2. Anonymous - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Well at least we know what he can do. I like this.Ryan

  3. Bonzai!!! - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    Another warm body. Those never hurt to have around.

  4. SBrent - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Are you kidding? This looks like true desperation.

  5. Nervous Nats Fan - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    This makes me even more worried about the state of the bullpen than I already was.

  6. greg - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    jayb, i don't remember where i saw it, but i remember seeing some comments from dukes somewhere. don't remember exactly what he said, but it didn't come across angry, "yeah, it's a business."

  7. greg - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    ah, the "panic" button rears it's ugly head again. and over a 'minor league' deal.

  8. Positively Half St. - Mar 24, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    It is just not a great idea. I am disappointed.

  9. natsfan1a - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    I wasn't expecting that but it's just a minor league deal, right? On the plus side, he did manage to right the save ship at a time when it was fairly swamped, no? He could be scary but what closer isn't, sometimes? Why do I keep asking so many questions? (that one's rhetorical, btw)

  10. Section 222 - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    My response: "Whatever." If he's actually going to pitch for us, I'll get worried, but why not have him in reserve in case Capps, Bruney, Storen, and English all go down with injuries?

  11. Anonymous - Mar 24, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Souldrummer says -Drew Storen cannot be happy about this, but inventory is never that bad a thing.

  12. Andrew - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    JayB said… Mark,Has Dukes spoken yet and has anyone shown any interest in him?I spoke to Elijah this morning and many times since he was released, and he is still working out and waiting for a good place to go to. Elijah spoke to some reporters and was quoted I know in an AP feed.Honestly, he has had all good things to say which is impressive to me given how his relationship ended with the Nats. I will be seeing him next week when I make a drive over to Tampa.

  13. Andrew - Mar 24, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    JayB – This is NiShea Duke's comments about Elijah which surprised a lot of people too.http://nybaseballdigest.com/?p=22871You should see some of the cards and letters from the fans he got too. Very impressive. I don't know what happened behind closed doors but I think it is a non-story except what you see in the boxscores.

  14. Wily Mo Peterson - Mar 25, 2010 at 2:43 AM

    Now this makes sense. Zero risk signing and the guy did show he can close games in the major leagues last season albeit not consistently. Send him to the minors and if he gets his act together he may be able to help the team, hopefully not as a closer though. If not, no harm no foul.

  15. sjm105 - Mar 25, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Does anyone see this move resulting in Bergmann being released? Not sure I would do that but he has not looked good this spring. MacDougal did walk way too many but he was a fighter last year and you have to appreciate what he did when the bullpen had no other closer options. I wonder if we can "fix" his mechanics once more.

  16. Deacon Drake - Mar 25, 2010 at 4:25 AM

    Great job non-tendering him and getting him back for no cost. Last season his deal required him to be on the roster 20 days after reporting to AAA… is their a similar clause this year?Always good to have insurance in case Capps implodes and Storen isn't ready for the 9th…

  17. Steve M. - Mar 25, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Tell Elijah we all say WASSUP!

  18. Richard Moore - Mar 25, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    I am for this move and just hope McCatty can him tame his wildness. I know he saved 20 out of 21 opportunities but he gave me heart failure several times when he came into a tight situation and immediately walked the first batter.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 25, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Does anyone else see NiShea Dukes comments and think she just wants her baby daddy to get picked up by another team so those child support payments keep coming?Call me skeptical.

  20. Anonymous8 - Mar 26, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    Anon at 11:16AM, yes. How much does this put in question all the negative comments she made about Elijah during their marriage? A lot!I am sure Elijah isn't a choir boy but this is such an interesting turn in his past negative public portrayal about him and his wife.Two sides to every story?

  21. Anonymous - Mar 27, 2010 at 4:20 AM

    I really like the MacDougal signing. Yes, his 96mph fastball (3rd highest velocity of all NL relievers) tends to wander, but he led the league in save percentage last season, stranded 20 of 24 inherited runners, and saved all 4 opportunities when entering with tying run already on base. I hope they bring him up in May.

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