Veteran left-hander Bill Bray is probably the only non-roster invitee with a realistic hope of making the Washington Nationals' Opening Day roster. That is, if the Nationals decide to keep a left-handed specialist in the bullpen. The Nats have said that Zach Duke is likely to fill the role Tom Gorzelanny played in 2012 as the left-handed long man in Davey Johnson's pen. As Nats' GM Mike Rizzo explained in his first conversation with reporters this spring, however, the Nationals don't necessarily think they need to add a left-handed specialist. "The amount of left-handed relievers has never been a priority to me," Rizzo said, "mostly because we have right-handers that can get left-handers out. And it coincides with Davey [Johnson's] managerial style." Good luck, NRIs. Here they are...
• Fernando Abad - 27 yo; 6'2''; 215 lb; LHP - A Dominican-born lefty signed as an amateur free agent by the Houston Astros in 2002, Abad debuted with Houston as a 24-year-old in 2010. In three major league seasons, the reliever (who made six starts with Houston last season) is (1-11) with a 5.10 ERA, 5.00 FIP, 33 walks (3.51 BB/9) and 55 Ks (6.91 K/9) in 88 games and 84.2 IP. As a reliever last year, Abad had a 3.80 ERA, a 4.32 FIP, six walks (2.28 BB/9) and 22 Ks (8.37 K/9) in 23.2 IP. Abad's one of six left-handers who'll be competing for a spot in the Nationals' bullpen in Spring Training.
• Jeremy Accardo - 31 yo; 6'1'', 200 lb; RHP - Jeremy Accardo, an eight-year veteran who signed as an amateur free agent with the San Francisco Giants in 2003, pitched for the Indians and A's in 2012, with a combined 4.82 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 16 BB (3.86 BB/9) and 29 Ks (6.99 K/9) in 27 games and 37.1 IP (35.1 of them with Oakland). The Indians designated Accardo for assignment after 26 appearances last year and he was released when he cleared waivers, signing on with Oakland and posting a 1.17 ERA and a 3.72 FIP in seven games at Triple-A Sacramento before he was called up to make one appearance with the A's in late September.
• Bill Bray - 29 yo; 6'3''; 230 lb; LHP - Limited to just 8.2 IP at the major league level in 2012 by groin and lumbar issues, Bill Bray, a former Montreal Expos' 1st Round pick ('04), posted a 2.98 ERA, a 3.19 FIP, 17 walks (3.17 BB/9) and 44 Ks (8.19 K/9) in 79 games and 48.1 IP in his last full season of work in 2011. With the Reds that year, Bray held left-handers to a .176/.255/.292 line and in his six major league seasons, the left-handed reliever has a .213/.312/.331 line with 45 walks (4.62 BB/9) and 84 Ks (8.62 K/9) in 87.2 IP against left-handed hitters. If the Nationals are going to have a left-handed specialist in the bullpen, Bray's the top candidate.
• Brandon Mann - 28 yo; 6'2''; 200 lb; LHP - Tampa Bay Rays' '02 27th Round pick Brandon Mann spent the last two years pitching for the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan's Central League, where the left-hander was (3-9) with a 4.27 ERA, 37 walks (3.59 BB/9) and 59 Ks (5.73 K/9) in 28 games, 17 starts and 92.2 IP. Mann last pitched in the US at High-A in the LA Dodgers' system in 2010. In eight years in the Rays' and Dodgers' organizations, Mann never pitched above Double-A. The Nationals signed the lefty to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training early in January.
• Patrick McCoy - 24 yo; 6'4'', 200 lb; LHP - '07 Nats' 10th Round pick Patrick McCoy spent the last two seasons at Double-A Harrisburg. In 2011, McCoy was (1-2) with a 5.13 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 16 walks (2.73 BB/9) and 53 Ks (9.06 K/9) in 49 games and 52.2 IP. This past season, the lefty was (7-3) with a 3.70 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 19 walks (2.93 BB/9) and 60 Ks (9.26 K/9) in 50 games and 58.1 IP. After his sixth minor league season, McCoy pitched for the DWL's Gigantes del Cibao this winter, going (2-1) with a 2.63 ERA, six walks (3.95 BB/9) and 12 Ks (7.90 K/9) in 13.2 IP. Harrisburg Senators' pitching coach Paul Menhart told MASN's Byron Kerr that McCoy was dominant at times this year, and Mr. Kerr wrote that the left-hander's, "... stock rose even higher following his tremendous performance," in the DWL.
• Ross Ohlendorf - 30 yo; 6'4'', 240 lb, RHP - '04 D-Backs' 4th Round pick Ross Ohlendorf pitched for San Diego in his sixth MLB season in 2012 after starting the year with the Boston Red Sox. Ohlendorf was released by the Sox in June and joined the Padres, for whom he was (4-4) with a 7.77 ERA, 4.90 FIP, 24 walks (4.44 BB/9) and 39 Ks (7.21 K/9) in 13 games, nine starts and 48.2 IP. Ohlendorf's best year in the majors was a +1.1 fWAR campaign in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he was (11-10) with 53 walks (2.70 BB/9) and 109 Ks (5.55 K/9) in 29 starts and 176.2 IP.
• Will Ohman - 35 yo; 6'2'', 225 lb; LHP - Will Ohman pitched for the Chicago White Sox last year in his 10th major league campaign, going (0-2) with a 6.41 ERA, 6.28 FIP, five walks (1.69 BB/9) and 13 Ks in 32 games and 26.2 IP. The veteran left-hander was released in July. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds and pitched for their Triple-A affiliate though he was never called up to the majors. Ohman signed with the Nationals earlier this week, agreeing to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training where he'll compete with Fernando Abad, Bill Bray, Patrick McCoy and Brandon Mann for the role of the Nats' late-inning-lefty, if they decided to keep a second left-hander in the bullpen.
• Tanner Roark - 26 yo; 6'2'', 220 lb; RHP - Rangers' '08 25th Round pick Tanner Roark was acquired by the Nats along with RHP Ryan Tatusko in a July 2010 trade that sent IF Cristian Guzman to Texas. Roark spent his fifth MLB season at Triple-A Syracuse where the right-hander was (6-17) with a 4.39 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 47 walks (2.86 BB/9) and 130 Ks (7.92 K/9) in 28 games, 26 starts and 147.2 IP. Roark then went to the Venezuelan Winter League where he was (1-1) with a 3.60 ERA in six starts and 30.0 IP in which he walked 11 (3.30 BB/9) and K'd 20 (6.00 K/9) pitching for the Bravos de Margarita.
• Check Out Our Review Of All The Pitchers In Camp That Are On The 40-Man Roster:
Washington Nationals: Spring Training 2013 - Pitchers And Catchers Report - Pitching Preview sbn.to/YUDIhj— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) February 12, 2013