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Catching help on the way?'s Bill Ladson reported early this morning that the Nationals are on the verge of signing catcher Johnny Estrada to a one-year, $1.25-million contract. I just got in touch with GM Jim Bowden, who would neither confirm nor deny the deal.

I'd expect an announcement later today or tomorrow. The thinking here: Even if Paul Lo Duca hadn't gotten injured, this is a move that Nationals could have pursued. It appears more and more like they'd like to give Jesus Flores a full season of catching games and getting 500 at-bats, which simply wouldn't happen at the major league level. At Class AA Harrisburg or Class AAA Columbus, Flores could learn how to handle the rigors of a full season.

Estrada: He was traded from Milwaukee to the Mets early in the offseason for reliever Guillermo Mota, but then was non-tendered by the Mets, making him a free agent. He appeared in 120 games (113 as a catcher) for the Brewers last season, hitting .278 with 10 homers and 58 RBI. He did, however, throw out only six of 79 would-be base stealers, which would certainly make him a backup in Washington.

More as I get it.

By Barry Svrluga  |  January 29, 2008; 10:10 AM ET
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