Nationals sign reliever Mike Gonzalez to minor league deal

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Mike Gonzalez’s inability to land a bullpen gig this offseason always seemed weird to me.

Certainly his lengthy injury history played a big part, especially since he underwent knee surgery shortly after last season, but he has a 2.94 career ERA and was effective last year with a 4.39 ERA and 51/21 K/BB ratio in 53 innings for the Orioles and Rangers.

He wasn’t able to find a big-league job but at least Gonzalez has signed somewhere, agreeing to a minor-league contract with the Nationals.

Washington could use the relief depth with closer Drew Storen and fill-in closer Brad Lidge on the disabled list. For now he’ll head to extended spring training and then presumably join the Triple-A bullpen.

Braves shutting down Mike Soroka for 4-5 days due to shoulder problems

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves starter Mike Soroka will be shut down for the next 4-5 days due to renewed soreness in his right shoulder.

Soroka is not presently listed in the top five of the Braves depth chart at starter, but is nonetheless an enormously talented pitcher who, at some point this season, was likely to figure into their plans. He was supposed to figure in more largely than he did last season, but after an impressive debut he missed the entire second half with shoulder problems, making only five starts.

There will no doubt be a reevaluation of him in the next few days, but this is could bad news for the Braves’ pitching depth.