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12/23/2004 5:16 PM ET
Nationals agree to terms on minor league contracts -- and spring invites -- with 10 players
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The Washington Nationals today announced that infielder Phil Hiatt, infielder Jared Sandberg, infielder Rick Short, catcher Keith Osik, right-handed pitcher Hector Carrasco, right-handed pitcher Chad Durbin, right-handed pitcher Seth Greisinger, right-handed pitcher Luis Pineda, right-handed pitcher Dan Smith and left-handed pitcher Micah Bowie have agreed to terms on minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcements.

Hiatt joins the Nationals after hitting .235 with 30 home runs and 77 RBI for New Orleans of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2004. Long known as one of minor league baseball's top sluggers, Hiatt has 314 home runs at the minor league level since debuting as a pro in 1990. Hiatt is a .216 hitter with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 170 major league games with Kansas City, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Sandberg hit .230 with 19 home runs and 67 RBI last season for Durham of the Triple-A International League. The 26-year old is a career .221 hitter with 25 home runs and 92 RBI in 196 big league games with Tampa Bay from 2001-03. Sandberg, who was rated as high as the No. 7 prospect in the Devil Rays chain by Baseball America in 1999, has 113 home runs in nine minor league seasons.

Short batted .299 with nine home runs and 67 RBI in 129 Pacific Coast League games with Omaha and Edmonton in 2004. The 33-year old hit .336 in 40 games with Edmonton after joining the Expos organization in July. He has never played in the big leagues but is a career .312 hitter with 79 home runs and 553 RBI in 11 seasons as a pro.

Osik, 36, is a .231 hitter with 13 home runs and 108 RBI in 450 big league games for Pittsburgh, Milwaukee and Baltimore spanning parts of nine seasons. He went 2-for-25 (.080) in 11 games for Baltimore in 2004.

Carrasco last pitched in the big leagues for Baltimore in 2003, when he went 2-6 with eight holds, one save and a 4.93 ERA in 40 games out of the bullpen. Carrasco is 30-42 with 16 saves and a 4.22 ERA in 498 games (one start) spanning nine big league seasons with Cincinnati, Kansas City, Minnesota, Boston and Baltimore. He did not pitch in the United States in 2004.

Durbin, 27, pitched for both Cleveland and Arizona last season, going a combined 6-7 with a 6.97 ERA in 24 games (eight starts). He is 17-30 with a 6.22 ERA in 75 major league games (56 starts) spanning six seasons with Kansas City, Cleveland and Arizona. Durbin, rated as high as the Royals' No. 6 prospect by Baseball America in 2000, was Kansas City's third-round selection in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft.

Greisinger was Detroit's first-round selection (sixth overall) in the 1996 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Virginia. He is 10-16 with a 5.56 ERA in parts of three big league seasons with the Tigers (1998, 2002) and Twins (2004). The 29-year old split the 2004 season between Minnesota (2-5, 6.18 ERA in 12 games/nine starts) and Rochester (5-5, 4.96 ERA in 13 starts) of the Triple-A International League. He resides in Falls Church, VA.

Pineda, 30, pitched at three levels in the Mets chain in '04 and posted a 2.92 ERA. Pineda is 1-4 with a 4.44 ERA in 42 career big league games with Detroit (2001) and Cincinnati (2002). In 10 minor league seasons, he is 24-15 with 17 saves and a 3.05 ERA.

Smith did not pitch in the big leagues in 2004 after having surgery to repair his right rotator cuff and labrum performed by Dr. James Andrews on July 15, 2003. During a June 2004 rehab assignment, Smith posted a 2.25 ERA in three games for Single-A Brevard County. He last pitched for the Manatees on June 14.

Bowie, 30, did not pitch last season. He last pitched at the big league level for Oakland (0-1, 7.56 ERA in six games) in 2003. Since making his big league debut in 1999, Bowie is 4-8 with an 8.45 ERA in 33 major league games (11 starts) for Atlanta, Chicago (NL) and Oakland. Rated by Baseball America as Atlanta's No. 8 prospect entering the 1999 campaign, Bowie last pitched on August 27, 2003 for Triple-A Sacramento.

The Nationals today also announced that outfielder Cristian Guerrero, outfielder Francisco Pasencia, outfielder Michael Coleman, shortstop Ramon Castro, catcher Craig Kuzmic, right-handed pitcher Doug Sessions, right-handed pitcher Saul Rivera and left-handed pitcher Matt White have agreed to terms on minor league contracts. Player Development Director Adam Wogan made the announcements.

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