SAN FRANCISCO -- The Nationals have officially purchased the contract of catcher Carlos Maldonado from Class AAA Syracuse and granted reliever Brian Bruney his unconditional release.
Maldonado becomes the primary backup to catcher Wil Nieves, who takes over regular duties with Ivan Rodriguez on the DL. The 31-year-old journeyman has 21 games of big-league experience; he hit .163 (7-for-43) with the Pirates in 2006-07. At Syracuse, he was batting .218 with four doubles, a homer and nine RBI.
Bruney had been designated for assignment May 17 after posting a 7.64 ERA in 19 relief appearances. After clearing waivers, he had the choice of accepting his outright assignment to Class AAA or becoming a free agent. He did not accept the assignment, so the Nats granted him his release, and he's now free to sign with any other club.
Acquired in December from the Yankees in exchange for the top pick in the Rule 5 draft, Bruney was awarded $1.5 million in an arbitration hearing in February. The Nationals are responsible for his full salary.