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01/29/10 10:02 AM ET

Nationals sign Batista to Minor League deal

Veteran right-hander has experience as starter and reliever

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have signed right-hander Miguel Batista to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Batista, 38, could be both a starter and a reliever. Last year he served as a reliever for the Mariners, going 7-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 56 games.

He also has a history with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, as they worked together when both were with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Rizzo was the team's scouting director, and Batista was a starter. They were with Arizona when it won its only World Series title, in 2001.

Known as a poet and novelist, Batista has played in the big leagues for 15 seasons, going a combined 95-108 with a 4.54 ERA for eight teams.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.