The Washington Nationals today selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Ron Villone from Syracuse of the Triple-A International League and designated left-handed pitcher Mike Hinckley for assignment. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Villone, 39, is 56-59 with 85 holds and a 4.75 ERA (591 ER/1119.1 IP) in 654 games (93 starts) spanning 14 seasons with Seattle, San Diego, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston, Pittsburgh, Florida, New York (AL) and St. Louis. The previous four seasons (2005-08), Villone posted a .203 (76-for-375) batting average against when facing left-handed batters. Villone pitched in 74 games for the Cardinals last season, posting a 4.68 ERA.
Villone signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent on April 11. In eight appearances with Syracuse, Villone walked two, struck out 5 and posted a .160 batting average against en route to a 2.35 ERA (2 ER/7.2 IP).
Hinckley, 26, posted a 4.66 ERA (5 ER/9.2 IP) and issued 11 walks in 14 relief
appearances with Washington.
While being another old-for-young move, Hinckley played way above his lead last fall. He has to clear waivers to be sent down to the minors, so it's very unlikely some other team is going to claim him at this point. But the Nats have 10 days to do something with him by designating him for assignment.
Villone is old. Like, almost as old as I am. At this stage of his career, he is a classic left-handed specialist. Last year, in 74 games with St. Louis, he held lefties to a .176/.311/.318 line in 108 plate appearances. Right handed hitters went .300/.421/.861 against him in 121 plate appearances.
Hope Manny Acta knows the book on this cat better than Tony LaRussa did.
In other Nats-related news, the Arizona Diamondbacks called up Josh Whitesell and gave him their starting first base job. Thanks again Jim Bowden.