TAMPA -- The Nationals have signed reliever Mike MacDougal to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp.
MacDougal, who saved 20 games for the Nats last season, was non-tendered by the club in December after undergoing hip surgery. He wound up signing with the Marlins but was released last week after an ineffective spring.
The right-hander is expected to report to Nationals camp in Viera tomorrow.
UPDATE AT 6:52 P.M. -- General manager Mike Rizzo wouldn't rule out the possibility of MacDougal making the Opening Day roster but said "something extraordinary would have to happen for him to break camp with the club."
The right-hander has said he's willing to open the season at Class AAA Syracuse, though he does have an out clause in his contract if he's not promoted to Washington by a certain date early in the season. Rizzo said there are no concerns with MacDougal's hip anymore but that the pitcher could still use some mechanical work with coach Steve McCatty to fix some kinks.
"I think if we can get him back with McCatty, who was the guy who straightened him out to begin with after the White Sox released him [last year], I think we can really salvage a very serviceable guy for us," Rizzo said.
Manager Jim Riggleman said the MacDougal signing shouldn't be viewed as evidence the Nationals are concerned about the back end of their bullpen.
"No, if Mike hadn't done for us what he did last year, we probably would not have made room for bringing him in," Riggleman said.