Norris, Nats agree on contract (source)

April 9th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Working to add an arm to help their struggling bullpen, the Nationals have an agreement in place with free-agent right-hander Bud Norris, a source told's Mark Feinsand on Tuesday.

The deal, which is pending a physical and was first reported by Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, has not been confirmed by the club. General manager Mike Rizzo said the team is checking out Norris in West Palm Beach, Fla., and it would be a Minor League deal if the Nationals like what they see.

Norris, 34, was signed by the Blue Jays on March 7 to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training, but Toronto released him earlier this month.

In serving as the Cardinals’ closer for most of last season, Norris registered 28 saves with a 3.59 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings. The Nationals’ bullpen entered Tuesday with a 10.17 ERA -- worst in the Majors by a large margin -- so the club is hoping Norris can provide some depth and quality innings.

Dozier hoping to break out

has been around the big leagues long enough to know that a 10-day slump to start the season will be magnified far more than a similar drought midseason.

That's why the 8-year Major League veteran isn't all that worried about his 3-for-29 start entering Tuesday's game.

“Playing a number of years, you know you can have a bad week or something in August and it doesn’t really mean that much,” said Dozier, who hit a leadoff homer in the ninth inning on Monday night for his first extra-base hit of the season. “But when it gets off to a bad week at the beginning, it kind of gets scrutinized. But look up and if it’s the same thing in October -- then we’ll talk. We’ll be fine.”

Dozier is coming off a bit of a down year, in which he hit .215 with a .305 on-base percentage with the Twins and Dodgers. He also went just 2-for-16 in the postseason with Los Angeles, after being acquired at last season's Trade Deadline.

So it's no surprise that he's spent a bit of extra time in the batting cages and watching film to try to get on the right track.

“I’ve taken, I think, more swings in the past four or five weeks than I have my whole career,” Dozier said.

But it's one swing in particular -- the one on Monday that resulted in a 410-foot homer with a 102.8 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast -- that he's hoping will put him on the right track.

“I sure hope so, don’t you?” Dozier said. “Yeah, I think we’ll be all right.”

Doolittle, Zimmerman will Virginia to national title

Standing in front of his locker wearing the same University of Virginia long-sleeve T-shirt he's donned for much of the past few weeks, Sean Doolittle stuck to what he said throughout the entire NCAA men's basketball tournament -- "Never a doubt."

Doolittle, who had also just opened a box containing a new Rawlings glove with "Doo" inscribed next to a Virginia logo, made it back to the team hotel following Monday's game just in time to watch the final minutes of Virginia's national championship victory from his "lucky spot" on the floor of his room.

"That was my lucky spot against Auburn, so I had to stick with that," said Doolittle, who played baseball at Virginia from 2005-07 and was inducted into the Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame. "I can get really close to the TV and yell -- and they can hear me, so I can help. If they needed some extra input, I could yell at them, or slap the floor and play some defense with them. And jumping up and down on the bed after they won."

Teammate and fellow Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame member Ryan Zimmerman played his part too.

"Oh yeah, I was right out there," Zimmerman joked. "Took some charges."