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Bruney wants the chance to close

Mike Rizzo tends to like pitchers like Brian Bruney. By now, we can probably establish a formal union for them. Rizzo has a preference for guys who are tall and powerful -- let's call 'em the Hard-Throwing, No-B.S. subset.

"Well," Bruney said, "you get no B.S. from me."

I just talked a few minutes ago to Bruney on the phone. He was down in Texas, getting ready for a deer hunt. He was straight-shooting about this much: He'd love the opportunity to close, and he's happy about the trade to Washington because it helps his chances. (Somehow few have had luck in New York nudging Mariano Rivera aside.)

"I love closing ballgames," Bruney said. "There's nothing better than that in my opinion. I felt like New York was a good stepping stone with lots of pressure-filled situations. But to be honest, I had talked to my agent and I said, 'I can't wait to get to the place where I can try and close somewhere.' "

No promises, of course. The Nats still have Mike MacDougal on their 40-man roster, and Bruney's closing experience isn't deep. But for now, Jim Riggleman seems at least ready to entertain the possibility. The manager described Bruney as "kind of a power arm to go toward the end of our bullpen. We feel like we needed a little help out there. He's got experience and he's got a good arm, so we're very excited about having him."

Continuing: "As we sit here right now, it's undetermined who would be our closer. I think that's a healthy situation, get some competition out there and maybe the hot hand takes it. ... I think this gives us another option."

And finally: "You put it all together -- where he's pitched, the arm strength and experience he has -- I think it's all a very nice package."

By Chico Harlan  |  December 7, 2009; 3:05 PM ET
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Next: Riggleman chats with media


what about storen? a little competition for the closer spot? it'll be interesting to see now what they do with macdougal.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | December 7, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Storen is not ready to close yet, as much as I like what I have seen from Drew so far. Don't forget that Mariano Rivera did not assume the closer role until he had appeared in 80 major league games spread out across two seasons.

Posted by: markfd | December 7, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Did you ask him about his elbow?

Posted by: TimDz | December 7, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree - throwing Storen as a rookie into the closer role is unnecessarily tough. Much better for him to be a 7th/8th inning guy and then work him towards a closer role.

Seems like a good deal - I expect the PTBNL will be one of the backlog of AAA 5th starter types.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 7, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Bruney probably fits in with Clippard and Burnett in the setup role better than closer, but he's certainly capable of competing with MacDougal. It would be nice though to have a closer who Bruney was not able to compete with. Not sure where you get one of those - maybe darft him out of college with the tenth pick or something.... Storen probably is not ready yet, but perhaps Bruney and MacDougal can hold it down until he is ready.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 7, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Riggs on Willingham ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 7, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Trouble on the Viera horizon? The projected opening day 2B says not so fast, my friend....

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 7, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I would love it if they could just get rid of Guzzie and give Ian Desmond a shot at SS and sign Orlando Hudson. But I doubt anyone will take on Guzzie's salary.

Posted by: FloresFan | December 7, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Riggs on Bruney and Willingham, likely from the same presser as for the fullcount site link above:

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 7, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

p.s. Isn't it great seeing this flurry of activity and new Nats-related posts here and elsewhere? Three cheers for the winter meetings!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 7, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

More Riggs on Bruney:

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 7, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hudson ain't happening. No way they give up a 2nd round pick for him (since they won't have to give up #1 overall).

Posted by: RicketyCricket | December 7, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Post, new.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 7, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Hudson wasn't offered ARB RicketyCricket so there isn't a draft pick attached to him.

Posted by: peytondowdy | December 7, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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