"I'd like to buy a vowel. Is there an A?"
"Yes, there's one A."
"I'd like to solve the puzzle, Pat. Cla Meredith."
That's Cla - no "y" - Meredith, signed by the Nationals to a minor league contract today. Meredith, whose real middle name is Claiborne, has appeared in six big league seasons, mostly with the San Diego Padres, but with the Orioles the past two seasons. He's a Virginia native who played his college ball at Virginia Commonwealth, and was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2004.
Last year, he made 21 appearances for the Orioles as a right-handed specialist, allowing 18 hits in 15 innings, with seven strikeouts and three non-intentional walks. He was unscored upon in 15 appearances, including 11 straight. He was sent to Triple-A Norfolk in May, and was not recalled.
Meredith is a submarining righty who relies on a fastball and slider. He was extremely effective in his first two seasons with the Padres, allowing only 37 earned runs over about 130 1/3 innings in 2006-07. In 2008-09, he dipped to 49 earned runs in 107 innings before getting traded to Baltimore. He'll be in the mix for the Nats' bullpen competition in Viera, Fla., later this month, the sixth non-roster righthander with big league experience who will be in camp.