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04/10/09 8:03 PM ET

Nationals sign left-hander Villone

Pitcher inks Minors deal, assigned to Triple-A Syracuse

ATLANTA -- The Nationals continue to add insurance to the organization by signing left-hander Ron Villone to a Minor League contract on Friday. He will play for Triple-A Syracuse and be its only left-hander out of the bullpen.

Washington added Villone in case one of the team's three left-handed relievers -- Michael Hinckley, Wil Ledezma or Joe Beimel -- falters in the bullpen. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo declined to comment for this story, and Villone was unavailable for comment.

Villone is a 14-year veteran who has played for 11 Major League teams, including the Yankees, Cardinals and Blue Jays. He is 56-59 with a 4.75 ERA during his career. Last year, Villone played with the Cardinals and had a 4.68 ERA in 74 games. The southpaw was a non-roster invitee this spring with the Mets, but did not make the cut.

In other news, the Nationals are one of a handful of teams that are interested in right-hander Chad Gaudin, who was released by the Cubs recently. He can be a starter and reliever. However, the Nationals likely won't overbid for services; the team is willing to give him a Minor League deal.

Last year, Gaudin played with both the Cubs and Athletics and went a combined 9-5 with a 4.40 ERA.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.