Nats, Hellickson agree to Minors deal

March 16th, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals added another candidate to their rotation mix, agreeing to terms with right-hander to a Minor League deal that includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training.

Hellickson, who will turn 31 in April, enters an ongoing competition for the fifth starter job in the Nationals' rotation. A.J. Cole has been the favorite for the role thus far, and Washington has expressed confidence in the right-hander. Cole is out of options, and the Nats risk losing the former prospect if he's placed on waivers. But they have stopped short of naming Cole as the fifth starter.

, the club's top pitching prospect, has pitched well this spring, including a strong outing in Friday's 4-2 victory over the Cardinals, in which he gave up one run in 3 2/3 innings, with four strikeouts. The Nats also welcomed veterans and Tommy Milone to compete in camp and add rotation depth.

Hellickson posted a 5.43 ERA in 164 innings for the Phillies and Orioles in 2017. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2011 with the Rays, and his bench coach in Tampa was Dave Martinez, now the Nationals' manager.