Nationals add righty reliever James Bourque to 40-man roster

The Nationals this afternoon selected the contract of right-hander James Borque, adding the reliever to the 40-man roster to protect him from being exposed to the Rule 5 draft at next month’s Winter Meetings.

Bourque, 25, was 4-2 with six saves and a 1.70 ERA in 41 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2018. He led all Nationals minor leaguers (with a minimum of 50 innings) with 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings and 5.09 hits allowed per nine innings. He was third in the system in ERA.

Bourque-Throws-White-Harrisburg-Sidebar.jpgLast season marked a transition to full-time reliever for Bourque, who was a 14th-round selection out of Michigan in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. He fanned 76, walked 26 and help opponents to a .169 average.

After being promoted to Harrisburg on July 13, Bourque allowed only two earned runs in 19 2/3 innings and struck out 24 batters.

Overall in his minor league career, Bourque is 17-20 with six saves and a 4.25 ERA in 93 games, including 44 starts, over four seasons.

The 40-man roster now contains 36 players, with another to be added once catcher Kurt Suzuki, who has agreed to a two-year deal, passes his physical.

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