Pat Sullivan/AP Pat Sullivan/AP

The Nationals announced Tuesday afternoon that they have claimed left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno off waivers from the Houston Astros and optioned him to Class AAA Syracuse. He joins fellow Puerto Rican left-handed reliever, J.C. Romero, in Syracuse.

Cedeno, 26, spent parts of the last three seasons with the Astos and compiled a 6.00 ERA over 39 innings. He posted a 10.5 K/9 rate in 31 innings in 2012 but it fell dramatically as he struggled with control last season in 6 1/3 innings. The Puerto Rico native posted a 2.28 ERA in 27 2/3 innings for the Astros Class AAA affiliate last season.

Cedeno also pitched in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico, where he allowed one run and struck out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings. The Nationals scouted the tournament and later signed Romero, 36, to a minor league deal late in spring training. Romero, whose deal has a June 1 opt-out date, hasn’t allowed an earned run in seven appearances in Syracuse and struck out eight batters.

The Nationals have a solid track record of taking on players down on their luck, whether it be injury histories or poor performance, and working with them to improve. Zach Duke and Fernando Abad, for example, were originally with the Astros. The Nationals, for example, were the only team to show serious interest in reliever Christian Garcia.

Here’s tonight’s lineups:

Nationals 

1. Denard Span, CF

2. Jayson Werth, RF

3. Bryce Harper, LF

4. Adam LaRoche, 1B

5. Ian Desmond, SS

6. Anthony Rendon, 3B

7. Danny Espinosa, 2B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Ross Detwiler, SP

 

Cardinals

1. Shane Robinson, CF

2. Allen Craig, 1B

3. Matt Holliday, LF

4. Carlos Beltran, RF

5. Yadier Molina, C

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Matt Carpenter, 2B

8. Pete Kozma, SS

9. Adam Wainwright, SP