Bruney wants the chance to close

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Chico Harlan
Copyright 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009; 3:11 PM

Mike Rizzo tends to like pitchers like Brian Bruney. By now, we can probably establish a formal union for them. Rizzo has a preference for guys who are tall and powerful -- let's call 'em the Hard-Throwing, No-B.S. subset. "Well," Bruney said, "you get no B.S. from me." I just talked a few minutes ago to Bruney on the phone. He was down in Texas, getting ready for a deer hunt. He was straight-shooting about this much: He'd love the opportunity to close, and he's happy about the trade to Washington because it helps his chances. (Somehow few have had luck in New York nudging Mariano Rivera aside.) "I love closing ballgames," Bruney said. "There's nothing better than that in my opinion. I felt like New York was a good stepping stone with lots of pressure-filled situations. But to be honest, I had talked to my agent and I said, 'I can't wait to get to the place where I can try and close somewhere.' " No promises, of course. The Nats still have Mike MacDougal on their 40-man roster, and Bruney's closing experience isn't deep. But for now, Jim Riggleman seems at least ready to entertain the possibility. The manager described Bruney as "kind of a power arm to go toward the end of our bullpen. We feel like we needed a little help out there. He's got experience and he's got a good arm, so we're very excited about having him." Continuing: "As we sit here right now, it's undetermined who would be our closer. I think that's a healthy situation, get some competition out there and maybe the hot hand takes it. ... I think this gives us another option." And finally: "You put it all together -- where he's pitched, the arm strength and experience he has -- I think it's all a very nice package."


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