Couple of brief items to pass along to you this morning from the Nationals. The club has signed Alex Cintron to a minor league deal, which will not include an invitation to big-league spring training. Cintron, 32, last played in the major leagues in 2009, when he spent 21 games with the Nats. He spent all of 2010 with the New York Mets' AAA affiliate in Buffalo, where he played just 20 games.
News also came out last night that catching prospect Hector Taveras has been suspended for 25 games, effective at the start of this season, for violating Major League Baseball's Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. According to the Associated Press, Taveras was found in possession of an unauthorized syringe, but did not test positive for any drug. Hence, the 25-game suspension instead of the normal 50-game suspension for a first violation of the program. Taveras spent most of last year with the Nationals' Gulf Coast League affiliate, but also played one game for Washington's low-A club in Hagerstown.
Word of Taveras' suspension came just five days after another Nationals catching prospect, Adrian Nieto, received the aforementioned 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned supplement, which he has blamed on an over-the-counter supplement.