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Nats sign veteran lefty Cotts to Minors deal

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals signed veteran left-hander Neal Cotts to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced Friday morning.

The Nats have two left-handers already slated for their Opening Day bullpen in Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez, but Cotts could have a chance to break camp with the Major League club if he can prove he has something left in the tank. Washington carried three left-handers in its bullpen for most of last season, and manager Dusty Baker enjoys the matchup flexibility it gives him late in games.

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals signed veteran left-hander Neal Cotts to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the team announced Friday morning.

The Nats have two left-handers already slated for their Opening Day bullpen in Sammy Solis and Oliver Perez, but Cotts could have a chance to break camp with the Major League club if he can prove he has something left in the tank. Washington carried three left-handers in its bullpen for most of last season, and manager Dusty Baker enjoys the matchup flexibility it gives him late in games.

Cotts, who turns 37 in March, did not pitch in the Majors in 2016, splitting his time among three organizations in Triple-A. He last appeared in the Majors in 2015, when he pitched in 68 games for the Brewers and Twins with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

The Nationals usually bring a number of veteran bullpen options into Spring Training with a chance to make the team if they prove they can still pitch effectively or serve as Minor League depth in case of injury.

Cotts will be reunited with former pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was with Cotts during one of the best seasons of his career in 2013 with the Rangers. Then, Cotts posted a 1.11 ERA with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings and a 0.95 WHIP.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Neal Cotts