Now Commenting On:

{"event":["hot_stove" ] }

Nationals considering left-hander O'Flaherty

Nationals considering left-hander O'Flaherty

Nationals considering left-hander O'Flaherty

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Nationals have interest in free-agent left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, but as a team source put it, "That's down the road."

O'Flaherty missed most of the 2013 season because of Tommy John surgery, but that won't stop the Nats, who are known to sign players coming off of injuries, from pursuing him. For example, they signed right-hander Chien-Ming Wang in 2010 after he was coming off of major shoulder surgery.

The team has also dealt with a handful of players who have had Tommy John surgery. Right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann went through the procedure and have become solid pitchers for the club. O'Flaherty hopes to start throwing in January.

"I'm open to going anywhere," O'Flaherty said via telephone. "Me and my agent are just feeling it out. If it comes along, great. If it doesn't, we'll wait. We really don't have a deadline. We are just going to feel out the market and see what comes up."

When healthy, O'Flaherty is known to get hitters out with his sinker. His best season was in 2011, when he had a 0.98 ERA. Left-handers hit .195 against O'Flaherty that year.

"My arm feels amazing," O'Flaherty said. "I actually couldn't be happier with it. I'm really excited. I'm doing better than expected."

O'Flaherty said he admires what Washington has on its squad.

"The Nationals have a great group of guys. They have a lot of young talent. They had a rougher season than expected [in 2013]," O'Flaherty said. "They have so much good, young talent on their team, and that is a team we have gone to war with when I was with the Braves. In 2010, 2011, you could tell they were starting to do something special. ... You feel like they are going to be competitive for a long time."

The Nats are looking to improve their bullpen by adding a couple of lefty pitchers. They already have interest in Oliver Perez, J.P. Howell, Boone Logan and Scott Downs.

Last week, Yankees catcher Brian McCann decided to wear uniform No. 34 in honor of his best friend, O'Flaherty, his former teammate in Atlanta. What was O'Flaherty's reaction to McCann's decision to do that?

"It felt great. That's my boy. He is my best friend -- not just in baseball, but in life," O'Flaherty said. "You meet a few players throughout your career that you really hold on to and have friendships with. [McCann] has been one of them for me. We are real close. I couldn't be happier for him to be with the Yankees."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["hot_stove" ] }
{"event":["hot_stove" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español