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Baker not sure how Nats will use Blanton

Manager wants to see how new acquisition meshes with other pitchers
MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Nationals addressed a bullpen need this week when they signed right-hander Joe Blanton, 36, to a one-year contract. Manager Dusty Baker welcomed the addition of Blanton to a bullpen likely to include Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen.

But Baker said Wednesday that Blanton's specific role with Washington remains undetermined, given his recent experience as a late-inning reliever, long reliever and swingman.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Nationals addressed a bullpen need this week when they signed right-hander Joe Blanton, 36, to a one-year contract. Manager Dusty Baker welcomed the addition of Blanton to a bullpen likely to include Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez, Sammy Solis and Blake Treinen.

But Baker said Wednesday that Blanton's specific role with Washington remains undetermined, given his recent experience as a late-inning reliever, long reliever and swingman.

View Full Game Coverage

In a late-inning role for much of last season, Blanton appeared for the Dodgers 75 times. He struck out one batter per inning en route to a 1.01 WHIP and career lows in ERA (2.48) and opponents' batting average (.194) in 80 innings.

"He didn't start out as a late-inning guy," Baker said. "We have three or four late-inning possibilities. I really don't know until I see him and how he meshes with our group of guys."

Pitchers in action Wednesday
After starter Joe Ross threw two scoreless innings in Wednesday's 9-1 win over Detroit, a group of right-handed non-roster invitees kept the Tigers from scoring through the seventh inning.

Taylor Hill and Jacob Turner each pitched two innings without allowing a run, after which Wander Suero tossed a scoreless frame of his own.

Left-hander Braulio Lara allowed one run on a single and a double in the eighth inning, and then right-hander Derek Eitel tossed a perfect ninth to preserve the victory.

Zak Kerr is a contributor to MLB.com.

Washington Nationals, Joe Blanton