VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals were willing to sign Manny Delcarmen to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training because of how he performed for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League.
Delcarmen had a feeling that if he went to the Domican Republic, teams would take notice of his talent on the mound. In 14 1/3 innings, Delcarmen struck out 18 batters and had an ERA under 2.00. He also proved that he is healthy, and his fastball was clocked in the mid-90s. In recent years, Delcarmen had dealt with elbow problems.
"I threw well. A lot of teams approached me and called my agent," Delcarmen said. "[The Nationals] were one of the teams that called me and kept persisting on wanting me to sign with them."
Delcarmen, 32, will try to make the team as a reliever. Last season, he was in the Orioles' organization, going 3-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 48 games for Triple-A Norfolk. The last time he pitched in a big league game was in 2010 for the Rockies.
Delcarmen is best remembered for his years with the Red Sox from 2005-10. His best season for Boston came in 2007, when he had a 2.05 ERA and helped the team win the World Series title. Delcarmen is hoping for a repeat performance with the Nationals.
"It's every kid's dream is to make it to the Majors, hopefully get that ring. I did it in Boston," Delcarmen said. "The Nationals are so close, it would be awesome to be part of that this year. You can see the hard work the guys are putting in right now. This is my first year here, and you can see the atmosphere is great. Hopefully, everybody gives it their best. The one thing is to shoot for a World Series. Hopefully, I will be part of that."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.