VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals and popular left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez have reunited.
The team announced this morning that it has signed Gonzalez to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.
Gonzalez posted a 4.68 ERA over 50 innings with the Brewers last season. He struck out 60 and walked 25, posting a 1.660 WHIP.
The 35-year-old lefty was a well-liked member of the Nats' 2012 roster and put up a 3.03 ERA over 47 appearances that season. He made one appearance in the National League Division Series against the Cardinals, allowing a run in one inning of work in the Nats' Game 2 loss.
The Nats had interest in re-signing Gonzalez last offseason, but he inked a $2.25 million deal with Milwaukee.
For his career, Gonzalez has pitched to a .219/.287/.346 line against left-handed hitters, although last season, lefties hit .274/.336/.443 off him.
Word of Gonzalez's signing filtered through the Nats' clubhouse this morning. Gio Gonzalez seemed thrilled with the addition when I asked him if he'd heard the news, calling Michael Gonzalez his "brother from another mother."
Gonzalez will add to what already was a long list of bullpen options for the Nats, who seemingly only have two free relief spots available.
Manager Matt Williams has said that ideally, he would like two left-handers in his bullpen. Jerry Blevins has a spot locked up, but Gonzalez gives the Nats another southpaw reliever in camp.
He'll compete for a spot along with lefty Xavier Cedeno and righties Ryan Mattheus, Christian Garcia, Tanner Roark, Ross Ohlendorf, Luis Ayala, Manny Delcarmen, Clay Hensley and Josh Roenicke.
Here's today's Nationals lineup for this afternoon's 1:05 p.m. game against the Braves:
RF Nate McLouth
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
DH Danny Espinosa
CF Brian Goodwin
RHP Stephen Strasburg