Nationals right-handed reliever Luis Ayala asked for and was granted his release, whittling the competition for the final spot in the Nationals’ bullpen by one.

Ayala, a 36-year-old sinkerballer, signed a minor league deal late in the winter. He pitched well in some outings, but allowed four earned runs in one appearance and five in another. Ayala, a member of the original 2005 Nationals, could have accepted the Nationals assignment to the minors, but instead he will attempt to catch on with another team.

“I don’t want to go to Triple A,” Ayala said. “I’m going to go home and keep training, see what happens this week, see if I have a chance with another team. I appreciate the opportunity, but that’s baseball. These things happen.”

After moving Ross Detwiler to the bullpen, the Nationals have one bullpen spot remaining. Aaron Barrett, Class AA Harrisburg’s closer last season, has thrust himself into the running with a sterling spring. Left-handers Xavier Cedeno and Michael Gonzalez and right-handers Christian Garcia, Ryan Mattheus and Manny Delcarmen also remain in camp.