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Lefty Gonzalez welcomed to Crew bullpen

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Lefty Gonzalez welcomed to Crew bullpen play video for Lefty Gonzalez welcomed to Crew bullpen
MILWAUKEE -- Remember last year, when the Brewers added left-hander Mike Gonzalez in free agency?

On Monday, they made the signing official.

The Brewers formally announced their one-year pact with the veteran reliever on Monday, a move that could cap general manager Doug Melvin's bullpen makeover. Gonzalez had agreed to the deal, which pays $2.25 million plus incentives, back on Dec. 28, but it remained unofficial until the player passed his physical exam and the team cleared space on its 40-man roster.

Those hurdles were complicated by the holiday break but were cleared by Monday, when the Brewers designated right-hander Arcenio Leon for assignment.

Gonzalez, 34 and a 10-year Major League veteran, will continue to wear uniform No. 51. Another reliever, Jim Henderson, switched to No. 29.

Gonzalez is the Brewers' third significant bullpen pickup in about a month, joining fellow former Nationals lefty Tom Gorzelanny (free agency) and former Rays right-hander Burke Badenhop. With incumbent closer John Axford, right-handers Henderson and Brandon Kintzler, plus one of the five competitors for four open spots in the starting rotation, the Brewers have the makings of a seven-man relief corps.

Gonzalez can earn incentives on top of his base salary if he emerges as the Brewers' closer. He posted a 3.03 ERA in 47 appearances for Washington in 2012, his best ERA since his last season in the National League -- 2009 -- when Gonzalez posted a 2.42 ERA in 80 appearances for the Braves.

Over 10 seasons and 434 relief appearances, Gonzalez owns a 2.94 ERA and 56 saves, including a 2.62 ERA and 54 saves in 349 games in the NL.

With Gorzelanny and Gonzalez, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will have a pair of experienced left-handers, something he has lacked for most of his two-year tenure with the team. The Brewers have not used two lefties in relief since April 23, 2011, when Zach Braddock and Mitch Stetter each pitched in an extra-inning loss to the Astros.

The Brewers claimed Leon off waivers from the Astros in November.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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