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Nats sign reliever Roenicke to minor-league deal

Feb 14, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT

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VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals added another name to the competition for the final spot or two in their bullpen, this one quite familiar to one of their biggest stars.

Washington signed right-hander Josh Roenicke to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to big-league camp. Roenicke, owner of a 4.17 ERA in 190 career games with the Reds, Blue Jays, Rockies and Twins, just so happens to be Ian Desmond’s brother-in-law.

The 31-year-old reliever saw significant action in Colorado and Minnesota the last two seasons, posting a combined 7-3 record and 3.70 ERA in 126 appearances, though his walk rate (5.2 per nine innings) was an area of concern.

Baseball runs deep in the Roenicke family. His father, Gary, played outfield for the Orioles in the 1980s. His uncle, Ron, is entering his fourth season as Brewers manager.

And, of course, there’s the connection with Desmond. Roenicke first men Ian’s sister, Nicole, in 2006 while playing in the minors in Sarasota, Fla. (where the Desmonds grew up). The two were married in 2010.

Desmond has faced Roenicke three times in his career, all in 2012 while Josh pitched for the Rockies. Desmond tripled in his first at-bat. He then homered his next time up. Roenicke finally got his brother-in-law to ground out in their third encounter.

“Can’t beat em’ join em’,” Desmond tweeted at Roenicke after the news was announced this afternoon.

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Low-cost move, of course, and always nice to have some additional competition, but if I’m Ryan Mattheus I’ve got to be very, very anxious about my status on the ball club.

    • David Proctor - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      I still think they’re going to bring in Oliver Perez, too.

    • David Proctor - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      And while we’re at it, Kilgore said on the radio today that we’re still talking to Ryan Madson’s agent.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

      I don’t have much faith in Ryan right now. He was terrible when he came back. Rest might have done him well done but I am ready to move on given Garcia’s availability. Also we can dip into FA market for a Perez or a Madson any day.

  2. trochlis318 - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    The best part is that Desi is 2-3 with a HR and a triple against his brother-in-law LOL

  3. 3on2out - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    This is quite a baseball family…I remember his dad, Rhino, from the Orioles’ heydays.

  4. David Proctor - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Someone was asking about Christian Garcia earlier.

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWP 6s
    Christian Garcia is feeling great, fully healthy for spring. Pitched a month in the Mexican League. Ready to compete for a bullpen spot.

    That’s great news, if he actually, truly is healthy.

    • Faraz Shaikh - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      it would be amazing if he can join the bullpen and perform some. he can easily take some of the load off of drew and clip in late innings or middle innings from stammen. he has two plus pitches i believe, right? his only problem is health. he doesn’t walk a ton either like HRod did.

      • David Proctor - Feb 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        He has three plus pitches and a fourth that’s average. That’s why there was talk of making him a starter last year…but he’s not durable enough.

  5. mrnat7 - Feb 14, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    The above picture of Roenicke, should be our uniform with Nationals across the front. It is one of the best in baseball and was our uniform before our team went to Minnesota. It is so much more attractive than the red we wear now!

  6. letswin3 - Feb 14, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    I remember his dad sharing left field for the Orioles with John Lowenstein, and hitting like 350 …. a team first guy. So the guy has good genes, and I wish him well.

  7. realdealnats - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    What are Garcia’s 3 plus pitches? And what’s the fourth one that is average?

    I hope he is healthy too. He looked sharp two years ago.

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