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Nationals Sign Michael Gonzalez To Minor League Deal, Again

The Washington Nationals released veteran lefty Michael Gonzalez earlier this week, but the reliever returned to the organization this morning on a minor league deal, giving the Nats some left-handed depth that can help out in the bullpen if necessary this season.

Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIR

Michael Gonzalez's latest run with the Washington Nationals appeared to end earlier this week after only a brief run back in the organization competing for one of the final spots in the Nats' 2014 pen. Gonzalez signed on March 4th to give the Nats another left-handed bullpen option, but when he appeared unlikely to win one of the jobs in Matt Williams' bullpen, Gonzalez was released earlier this week:

Gonzalez, 35, pitched for the NL East Division Champion Nationals in 2012, finishing the season in the nation's capital at +0.6 fWAR and posting a 3.03 ERA, a 2.98 FIP, 16 walks (4.04 BB/9) and 39 Ks (9.84 K/9) in 35 2/3 IP.

After his run with the Nationals, Gonzalez signed a 1-year/$2.25M deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

In 2013, the veteran left-hander put up a -0.6 fWAR season, posting a 4.68 ERA and a 4.87 FIP, with 25 walks (4.50 BB/9) and 60 Ks (10.80 K/9) in 50 IP.

Matt Williams explained the decision to bring Gonzalez back to the organization earlier this spring as one that gave the Nationals options, explaining that the move wasn't a sign the Nats were unsatisfied with the available in-house options.

"It's not the lack of being satisfied with the guys that we have in camp," Williams said. "But [Gonzalez] is a guy that comes with a reputation of being able to do that role and [he was] available."

The decision last week to move '07 1st Round pick  Ross Detwiler into a relief role gave the Nationals two left-handers in the bullpen, however, and made it unlikely that Gonzalez would make the Opening Day roster.

Two days after he was released, however, the Nats announced this morning, that the veteran reliever was returning on a minor league deal: