WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The Washington Nationals have signed long reliever Jon Rauch to a two-year contract.
The Saturday signing helped both parties avoid salary arbitration.
Official terms were not disclosed, but The Washington Times reported Sunday that the 6-foot-11righthander will earn $1.2 million in the 2008 season and $2 million in 2009.
He has been a workhorse out of the Nationals' bullpen the last two seasons, appearing in 173 games, including a Major League-leading 88 last season when he went 8-4 with just 21 walks and 71 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.61.
"The game plans that (pitching coach Randy) St. Claire and catcher (Brian) Schneider came up with (were) second to none and have been proven as long as they are executed properly, they will work," Rauch said recently on the team's Web site.
His signing leaves the Nationals with one player -- infielder Felipe Lopez – left on their offseason arbitration-eligible list.