(Eric Risberg / AP)

Left-handed reliever J.C. Romero has opted out of his minor league contract with the Nationals, he said in a phone conversation this afternoon. Romero, a 14-year major league veteran, had an option to leave the Nationals if he had not made the major league level by June 1. He decided to move on when he saw a dwindling opportunity.

“Pretty much, there’s nothing more that I could prove in Triple A,” Romero said. “I felt in my heart that I could contribute to the major league club. I guess they thought otherwise.”

FoxSports.com first reported Romero had opted out of his deal.

Romero, 36, allowed four earned runs in 12 2/3 innings at Class AAA Syracuse, striking out 16 and walking four. He last pitched May 8, at which point he landed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left shoulder.

Even before Romero went on the disabled list, they had claimed left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno off waivers from the Astros. They have since promoted another lefty, Fernando Abad, to the majors to join their bullpen.

“I’ve been around this business a long time, and I’m not naïve,” Romero said. “I got to look for my best opportunity to go back to the big leagues and help the club. When I signed with them, I thought that was the best opportunity. I guess it wasn’t. I was really looking forward to helping them, but now I’ll move on wish them the best.”

Romero signed with the Nationals late in spring training after he pitched well for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. His deal paid $15,000 per month in the minor leagues. Had he been promoted, Romero would have a prorated salary of $850,000, plus incentives.