Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 5:25 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
The Washington Nationals announced the signings of reliever Cla Meredith and Alex Cora to minor-league contracts on Wednesday, offering both players invitations to big-league camp this spring.
Meredith, 27, owns a 3.62 ERA in 286 career appearances with the Boston Red Sox, San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles. A Richmond native who pitched in college at VCU, he was a trusted setup man for San Diego for several seasons before struggling in 2010. The sidearm-throwing right-hander went 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 appearances with Baltimore, then continued to labor at Class AAA Norfolk (posting a 6.00 ERA in 20 games).
Meredith does have a history of success in the National League, owning a 3.26 ERA and 1.306 WHIP over 237 13 innings. He'll have a tough time cracking the Nationals' Opening Day bullpen, though, with Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett, Todd Coffey, Doug Slaten and Henry Rodriguez clearly ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.
Cora, whose signing was reported several weeks ago, figures to have a shot at making the Nationals' big-league roster as a utility infielder. The 35-year-old has spent parts of the last 13 seasons in the majors with five different clubs. Known more for his defensive prowess than offensive skill, he hit .210 with 20 RBI in 66 games for the New York Mets and Texas Rangers last season.