Washington wasn’t exactly hurting for bullpen depth, but with so many veteran relievers still looking for homes and willing to sign cheaply Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Nationals have signed Chad Durbin to a minor-league deal.
Durbin spent last season in Cleveland and struggled, posting a 5.53 ERA while serving up 12 homers in 68 innings. However, his 59/26 K/BB ratio was still decent and prior to last year he pitched pretty well for the Phillies from 2008-2010.
Drew Storen is the Nationals’ closer and last week they signed Brad Lidge to join Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett as setup men, so Durbin will have to compete with Henry Rodriguez and Ryan Perry for a middle relief role in spring training.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.