The Nats confirmed some of the names Baseball America had earlier this week as well as adding a couple more names to the list of minor contracts and NRI.
They confirmed the signing of OF Ruben Mateo and added he received an invitation to Spring Training. Mateo is the once uber-hyped prospect from the Rangers who never lived up to the expectations. He’s also an ex-Red that Jim Bowden acquired in 2001 (along with Edwin Encarnacion in exchange for SP Rob Bell). The 28-year old Mateo played in the Korean League last year. Another warm body for Spring Training, with the volume of OFs the Nationals have around, a spot in New Orleans may be tough to come by for Mateo.
Additionally, LH RP Joe Horgan and RH RP Saul Rivera agreed to minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. The 28-year old Horgan returns for a third season with the Nats. Horgan was briefly abused in a few appearances for the Nats last season which led to the emergence of Hector Carrasco. His AAA numbers in 2005 don’t paint a promising picture for 2006 (1.55WHIP 6.8K/9 4.3BB/9 1.3HR/9 in 63IP). If he doesn’t fit into the roster squeeze at New Orleans, he’s likely a roster casualty. Rivera popped onto the radar last year with a solid performance in Harrisburg in 2005. Though old for the level, the 28-year old put up good numbers in 76IP in relief (1.20WHIP 8.2K/9 2.4BB/9 0.4HR/9IP). His odds of making the 25-man are remote but if he pitches well in the Spring, he’s an option worth considering as an injury replacement. Ideally, he’ll spend the season in New Orleans.
The Nats also agreed to terms on 2006 minor-league contracts with IF Henry Mateo and Alex Nunez, OF Jesus Feliciano, CA Miguel Bernard, RHP Juan Ovalles and LHP Jacobo Meque. Mateo, Feliciano, and Meque all return to the Nats while Bernard comes over from the Braves system and Ovalles for the White Sox. All of these guys are minor league organizational depth.
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