Nats hire '96 World Series MVP as bullpen coach

Updated: January 27, 2006, 12:17 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Former All-Star closer John Wetteland was hired by the Washington Nationals as their bullpen coach on Friday.

Wetteland, who played for the Montreal Expos, was a roving pitching instructor for the Texas Rangers the past three seasons.

"I couldn't be more pleased to add one of the best young pitching minds in baseball to our coaching staff," Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. "John's high energy, passion, temperament and knowledge will provide invaluable resources for all of our pitchers."

Wetteland was 48-45 with 330 saves and a 2.93 ERA for four major league teams from 1989-00. His save total ranks ninth in baseball history.

He saved 105 games for the Expos from 1992-94, and ranks fourth on the franchise's career saves list. His 43 saves in 1993 was the team record until Chad Cordero finished with 47 last season for Washington.

Wetteland was the MVP of the 1996 World Series with the New York Yankees, saving all four of the team's victories against Atlanta.

Washington also agreed to a one-year contract with right-hander Francis Beltran and to minor league contracts with first baseman Daryle Ward and left-handed reliever Valerio del los Santos.

The 30-year-old Ward hit .260 with 12 homers and 63 RBIs for Pittsburgh last season. De los Santos, 33, is 9-12 with a 4.54 ERA in nine major league seasons; he went 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA for Florida in 2005.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press