(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

The Nationals thinned the competition for their final bench spot this morning, shipping infielder Zach Walters to minor league camp after his stellar performance this spring. The Nationals have yet to announce to the move, but Walters will be optioned because he is on the 40-man roster, likely to Class AAA Syracuse.

Walters, a call-up last September, went 11 for 29 with a homer, two doubles and a triple this spring. He struck out eight times and drew four walks. Walters, 24, is an athletic player who is still taming his throwing arm. He made 38 errors last season at Class AAA Syracuse.

With Walters excised from major-league camp, the Nationals will decide their final bench spot from a handful of remaining players. Outfielders Nate McLouth and Scott Hairston, catcher Jose Lobaton and infielder Danny Espinosa appear to be locks for the Nationals’ opening-day bench.

The leading two contenders for the final spot are 40-year-old infielder Jamey Carroll and first baseman Tyler Moore, who represent a choice, essentially, between dependability and power. Jeff Kobernus, Will Rhymes and Brock Peterson also remain in major league camp.