UPDATED AT 4:45 P.M.: The Nationals agreed to a minor-league contract with reliever Ron Villone, who was 5-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 63 appearances for them last year, on Wednesday. The 40-year-old will get an invite to major-league spring training, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes the team. Jim Riggleman is fond of Villone, and it’s conceivable he snags one of the last bullpen spots.
A couple items to update you on this afternoon:
--First, the Nationals won their arbitration hearing with reliever Brian Bruney today, meaning he’ll make $1.5 million instead of $1.85 million this season. Bruney was in his first year of arbitration after going 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA last season. He was 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in 2008, but has struggled with injuries in the past. Reliever Sean Burnett, the Nationals’ other arbitration-eligible player, will have his hearing on Thursday.
--For those asking, I’m going to be one of the late arrivals to Viera -- I’m working on a MASN commercial the next couple days, and that was pushed back because of the snow, so I won’t arrive until Saturday. It’s not ideal, but I’ve got moles lined up to pass along info from the Chien-Ming Wang press conference on Friday, and I’ll have something for you on those proceedings. Short of any Kubatko-esque funny stories, I’ll probably stay away from the play-by-play of my travel experiences, but I’ll hit the ground running when I get there.
--Lastly, a request: Anybody got any good music suggestions? I’ve got $25 in iTunes gift cards to burn, which I fully intend to do before I spend the next six weeks doing the Snowbird Slalom in a rental car down I-95 in Florida. So I’m open to ideas. My music tastes are pretty diverse -- the iPod currently runs the gamut from a healthy supply of 70s R&B and funk to classic rock and blues to hip-hop and pop. I’m a bit of a music geek, so I can find some redeeming qualities in pretty much anything, though country has a tougher time getting my approval than anything else. And as an avid electric guitar player, anything that doubles as instructional material scores extra points.