Nats Sign C Bard
The Nationals today agreed to a non-guaranteed minor league contract with catcher Josh Bard, adding the 30-year-old as a possible back-up behind Jesus Flores. Bard spent this spring with the Boston Red Sox, who released him three days ago. If Bard makes the roster, he will earn $600,000.
Lifetime, Bard has a .265 average and .395 slugging percentage in seven big league seasons. He's spent much of the last three years with San Diego, enjoying his best season in 2007, when, in 389 at bats, he hit .285 with five home runs and 51 RBI.
Boston signed Bard this offseason to a one-year, $1.7 million deal, envisioning him as the personal catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. But Bard struggled to catch Wakefield's knuckler, and despite his success at the plate -- he had a .429 average in six spring games -- Boston decided to cut ties before it had to pay his full salary.
Bard, who will turn 31 on March 30, joins a mix of Washington catchers that includes Wil Nieves and Javier Valentin. Flores, the starter, has missed much of this month with a right elbow strain, but took batting practice today.
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