VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals added another name to the competition for the final spot or two in their bullpen, this one quite familiar to one of their biggest stars.
Washington signed right-hander Josh Roenicke to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to big-league camp. Roenicke, owner of a 4.17 ERA in 190 career games with the Reds, Blue Jays, Rockies and Twins, just so happens to be Ian Desmond’s brother-in-law.
The 31-year-old reliever saw significant action in Colorado and Minnesota the last two seasons, posting a combined 7-3 record and 3.70 ERA in 126 appearances, though his walk rate (5.2 per nine innings) was an area of concern.
Baseball runs deep in the Roenicke family. His father, Gary, played outfield for the Orioles in the 1980s. His uncle, Ron, is entering his fourth season as Brewers manager.
And, of course, there’s the connection with Desmond. Roenicke first men Ian’s sister, Nicole, in 2006 while playing in the minors in Sarasota, Fla. (where the Desmonds grew up). The two were married in 2010.
Desmond has faced Roenicke three times in his career, all in 2012 while Josh pitched for the Rockies. Desmond tripled in his first at-bat. He then homered his next time up. Roenicke finally got his brother-in-law to ground out in their third encounter.
“Can’t beat em’ join em’,” Desmond tweeted at Roenicke after the news was announced this afternoon.