JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson remains content with the notion that Washington could open the season with just one left-hander in the bullpen, but he mentioned the name of a recently-demoted pitcher as one who still has a good shot of contributing this year.
After the offseason departure of Sean Burnett, Tom Gorzelanny and Mike Gonzalez, it leaves Zach Duke as potentially the lone lefty in the 'pen. Fernando Abad remains in Major League camp, and Johnson mentioned veteran Bill Bray -- reassigned to Minor League camp on March 3 -- as a possible piece.
"He's coming along," Johnson said of Bray. "He's making progress. So we'll see. But his arm strength is pretty good. It's just his release point is not what it used to be. So we're trying to stretch his arm position farther away from his body. He started tucking it and getting behind him, and that affects your command and also your velocity."
Johnson has said matchups don't concern him so much with the experienced right-handers he has in his 'pen. He's quick to point out that Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Henry Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano all have experience closing games.
"Ideally, I have a comfort zone of lefties creating a match up that I'd favor," Johnson said. "But if I have confidence in a right-hander getting them out, there's not much difference. I'd rather have a right-hander that can get them out than a left-hander that can't. It's that simple."