Nationals Reliever Barrett Jumps On AFL Opportunity





WASHINGTON—Pitching in the Arizona Fall League was too good an offer for reliever Aaron Barrett to pass up, even with his wedding taking place in the middle of the league's season.

Barrett took a weekend off from the Salt River Rafters so he could get married in Oxford, Miss. Two days after he and his wife Kendyl said their vows, he pitched a scoreless inning. In the AFL, he had yet to give up an earned run or a walk and had struck out five in five innings.

"It's been an awesome year so far," said Barrett, who went a combined 3-2, 2.09 in 42 appearances (52 innings) between low Class A Hagerstown and high Class A Potomac. "It's been a crazy ride, but a good one."

"He's got good angle to his fastball, and his slider has swing-and-miss capability," farm director Doug Harris said of Barrett, a midseason South Atlantic League all-star who finished the summer in the Carolina League.

Barrett pitched two seasons at Mississippi before the Nationals took him in the ninth round of the 2010 draft. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound righty was drafted four times overall, including out of Central High in Evansville, Ind., and Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC.

The 24-year-old was disappointed in his junior season at Ole Miss, where he went from Friday starter to a spot in the bullpen. The Rangers took him in the 27th round that year, but he returned to the Southeastern Conference.

Barrett also hit a bump in his career when he was sent to extended spring training in 2011. He had struggled during his debut at short-season Auburn, so a successful first spring training was not enough to win him a job in low Class A.

"I was really upset and thought I deserved to start out in Hagerstown, but it didn't happen that way," Barrett said. "It was a blessing because I kind of developed a role as a closer, and then I closed some more games this year. I don't think I'll close in the big leagues, but having that mentality has helped."

CAPITAL GAINS

• Lefthander Matt Purke is expected to be ready for spring training after having surgery for shoulder bursitis that limited him to three starts in 2012. Purke, a 2011 third-round pick who received a $2.75 million bonus, went 0-2, 5.87 with 12 walks and 14 strikeouts in 15 innings at Hagerstown.

• Righthander Hassan Pena, 27, started 3-for-4 in save chances with Culiacan of the Mexican Pacific League. He was 0-1, 3.18 with one walk and seven strikeouts in six innings.