Alex Brandon/AP

The Nationals outrighted utility player Carlos Rivero to Class AAA Syracuse, removing him from their 40-man roster after he cleared waivers. The Nationals could have lost Rivero, who is out of minor league options, had another team added him to its 25-man roster.

General Manager Mike Rizzo said earlier this week he did not know if the Nationals would be able to keep Rivero, who hit .303/.347/.435 at Class AAA Syracuse last year. Rivero, who will turn 25 in May, played outfield for the first time this spring and most often plays third base.

“I’m a little surprised” no team picked up Rivero, one National League scout said. “Guess the bottom line is, no teams have 40-man roster room and they don’t believe he’s ready to help at the major league level. Most teams would love to have him at Class AAA because hes’ gotten better every year.”

The Nationals also moved reliever Christian Garcia to the 15-day disabled list, which became a formality earlier this month. Garcia has not thrown for a month with a partially torn tendon in his right forearm, and a specialist in Baltimore told him last week not to play catch until next Monday. Garcia said today he no longer feels any pain in his forearm.

Garcia would be eligible to return during the first week of the season. But given his timetable, Garcia is likely to miss at least the first month of the season.