Davey Johnson told MLB.com’s Marty Noble on Sunday that “I don’t have room for another lefty reliever.” With the Nationals bringing in Bill Bray, Jeremy Accardo and the recently-released Will Ohman on minor league deals this winter, questions were raised as to whether or not Zach Duke would be the lone lefty in Washington’s pen this season. But it appears that question is now answered.
I wrote late last week that the Nationals could potentially make a move to add a second left-hander to their bullpen, specifically mentioning Atlanta’s Jonny Venters as a fit, however the Nationals sound as though they’re standing pat.
Washington right-handers Rafael Soriano, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Craig Stammen have all performed admirably against lefties over the course of their respective careers, and Johnson has been adamant about not believing in handedness matchups since he started managing the Nationals in mid-2011. The Nationals lost left-handers Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez to the Brewers this offseason, leaving Duke as the lone lefty from the 2012 season.
The former Pirates starter signed a minor league deal with the Nationals on March 29 of last year, and re-established himself as long-man/reliever with Washington after getting called up on September 3. The 29-year old posted a 1.82 ERA in 13.2 innings across eight games, and posted a 6.6 K/9 ratio.