The Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-handed relief pitcher Joe Nelson to a one-year contract.
Nelson, 34, went 3-1 with one save and a 2.00 ERA in a career-high 59 relief outings for the Florida Marlins in 2008.
His ERA ranked third among National League relievers behind the Dodgers' Hong-Chih Kuo (1.69) and the Phillies' Brad Lidge (1.95). He surrendered just 42 hits while striking out 60 in 54.0 innings and held opponents to a .207 batting average.
"We feel like Joe can really help our bullpen," said Rays executive Andrew Friedman in a press release announcing the deal. "He had a tremendous season in 2008 and has been very effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. Our bullpen was a large part of our success in 2008 and our quest is to have one of the top bullpens in the American League on an annual basis."
Originally a fourth round selection by the Atlanta Braves in 1996, Nelson owns a career mark of 4-2 with 10 saves and a 4.09 ERA in 107 major league games with the Braves (2001), Red Sox (2004), Royals (2006) and Marlins.
Nelson also spent most of the 2005 season at Durham, the Rays' Triple-A affiliate.