VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals gave reliever Luis Ayala his unconditional release Wednesday. Ayala struggled this spring, allowing nine runs in six innings. Furthermore, opposing hitters had a .370 batting average against him.
"I want to keep playing. … I want to have a chance to play with another team," Ayala said. "I thank the Nationals for the opportunity, but it happens."
Ayala signed a Minor League deal with Washington in February. Ayala became the second player from the 2005 squad to reunite with the organization, following Jamey Carroll, who signed a Minor League deal a month earlier.
Ayala played with the Nats/Expos from 2003-08, and he was one of the team's most reliable relievers. Over the past three years, Ayala played for the Yankees, Orioles and Braves and recorded a respectable 2.58 ERA.
Manager Matt Williams believes Ayala can still pitch in the big leagues.
"He is a veteran guy that knows how to pitch," Williams said. "I don't think Luis, if you ask him, would say he [lights up] the radar gun, but he knows how to get people out. We want to give him an opportunity to see what's out there."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.