The Nationals have expressed interest in acquiring former Cincinnati closer Danny Graves, who passed through waivers and became a free agent yesterday, according to a club source.

Graves converted 10 of 12 save opportunities with the Reds this year but had a 7.36 ERA. He was designated for assignment by the Reds on May 23, a day after he allowed five runs in just one-third of an inning and then made an inappropriate gesture toward a fan. The Reds said the decision to cut Graves loose was based solely on performance.

Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden held the same position in Cincinnati when the club acquired Graves from Cleveland in 1997. Should Graves end up with the Nationals -- and nothing appears imminent -- it's likely he would be used to add depth to the set-up team of Luis Ayala and Gary Majewski.

The Florida Marlins, who need bullpen help and are managed by former Reds manager Jack McKeon, are also likely to be interested in Graves.

Church Is Rookie of the Month

Outfielder Ryan Church was named the National League's rookie of the month for May, when he hit .377, drove in 11 runs and had an OPS of .916. Church, who is platooning with Marlon Byrd, said even though he appeared in 30 games last season, he still very much feels like a rookie. "I'm learning every day," Church said.