Looks like they pulled the trigger. Hard to get real excited right now, but if Stanton can get some lefties out, it might be one of those small moves that is helpful.
The Washington Nationals today signed free-agent left-handed pitcher Mike Stanton and returned from rehab and reinstated outfielder Ryan Church from the 15-Day Disabled List. To make room on the roster, the Nationals placed both infielder Junior Spivey (right radius fracture, retroactive to July 9) and infielder Tony Blanco (vertigo associated with a sinus infection, retroactive to July 11) on the 15-Day Disabled List, and transferred infielder Henry Mateo from the 15- to the 60-Day Disabled List. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.
Stanton joins the Nationals after appearing in 28 games for New York (AL) earlier this season. By signing with Washington, Stanton returns to the National League East, where last season, while pitching for New York (NL), he posted a 2.88 ERA (8 ER/25.0 IP) and a .211 (20-for-95) batting average against while facing division foes Atlanta, Florida and Philadelphia.
Stanton, 38, brings significant pennant-race and post-season experience to a Nationals bullpen that already leads MLB in both relief wins and saves. Stanton has pitched in 11 post-seasons (1991-93, '95-2002) with Atlanta, Boston, Texas and New York, including six Fall Classics that have resulted in a trio of World Championship rings.
Stanton joins Joey Eischen as a second left-handed pitcher in the Nationals' bullpen. In 17 big league seasons, Stanton has limited opposing left-handed batters at a .245 mark (323-for-1320), an attractive attribute considering Carlos Delgado, Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu and Cliff Floyd all reside in the NL East. A 2001 American League All-Star, Stanton is 58-52 with 236 holds, 76 saves and a 3.81 ERA in 996 major league games (one start).
Church rejoins the Nationals for the first time since suffering a ligament sprain in his right ribcage while making a game-ending circus catch against the left-field wall on June 22 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Church, 26, was batting .325 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 57 games for Washington prior to the injury. He went 5-for-18 with a double during a four-game rehab stint with Harrisburg of the Double-A Eastern League.
Spivey injured his right radius while hitting off a tee prior to Saturday's contest at Philadelphia. Acquired from Milwaukee on June 10 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tomo Ohka, the Nationals are 18-10 since the trade. The 30- year-old Spivey hit .221 with two home runs and 7 RBI in 23 games with Washington prior to the injury.
Blanco, 23, is hitting .250 with one homer and seven RBI in 39 games with Washington. Blanco has not had a plate appearance in 10 July contests due to a case of vertigo associated with a sinus infection. He was Washington's second of two selections in the 2004 Rule 5 Draft from Cincinnati.
Mateo, 28, has appeared in just one game for the Nationals in 2005, going 0-for-1 with a walk on May 13 vs. Chicago (NL). He is continues to recover from September 23, 2004 surgery that repaired a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder.