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Nats Add Three Young Prospects To Roster

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 8, 2005; Page D07

With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training a week from today, the Washington Nationals agreed to terms with first baseman Larry Broadway, third baseman Tony Blanco and infielder Alejandro Machado -- three members of the 40-man roster whose impact with the major league club likely won't come for a few seasons.

Broadway, 24, is considered the Nationals' best hitting prospect, though he likely will begin the season in Class AAA. He hit .270 with 22 home runs and 72 RBI for Class AA Harrisburg last season.

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The Nationals selected Blanco, 23, in December's Rule 5 Draft, meaning he must remain on the team's big league roster all season or he will be offered back to his former team -- the Cincinnati Reds. Blanco split time between Class A and Class AA last year, hitting .275 with 29 homers and 78 RBI. Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden brought Blanco up through the Reds' system when Bowden was the GM in Cincinnati.

Machado, 22, was acquired by the club midway through last year in a trade with Milwaukee and hit .306 with 30 stolen bases between Class A and Class AA.

In other news, the Nationals continue to work on finalizing a radio deal after an apparent agreement with Clear Channel Communications fell through late last month. The team is now negotiating with Infinity Broadcasting and WMAL, and will likely decide between the two and make an announcement this week. Team officials have also started listening to audio tape and watching videotape of prospective announcers for both radio and television.

TIGERS: Detroit started its offseason by landing one all-star free agent, then had to wait three months to nab another.

After Carl Pavano and Steve Finley spurned the Tigers' offers, Detroit added outfielder Magglio Ordoñez to go with closer Troy Percival, who joined the team in November.

Ordoñez was the last remaining premier free agent of the offseason.

DEVIL RAYS: Former 20-game winner Denny Neagle agreed to a minor league contract with Tampa Bay.

Neagle, who hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2003 because of elbow and shoulder surgeries and whose contract was terminated by Colorado in December after he was cited for soliciting a prostitute, will make the minimum $316,000 if added to the major league roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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