The Washington Nationals selected the contract of right-hander Rafael Martin on Tuesday and designated left-hander Xavier Cedeno for assignment. President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Martin, 30, joins the Nationals for his first Major League assignment. Plucked from the Mexican Winter League after catching the eye of Nationals Director of International Scouting Bill Singer, Martin signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent on Feb. 25, 2010.
During a remarkable 2014 season, in which Martin advanced through three levels of the Nationals' system, he was 3-2 with a 1.39 ERA and 11 saves. Martin, who relies on a dominant slider, did not allow a run from May 16 to Aug. 17, a span of 29 games (46.1 IP). His performance earned him an invitation to the Nationals' Major League camp this spring.
The Nationals are Martin's first Major League organization. A one-time construction worker in California, Martin signed with the Saltillo Saraperos of the Mexican League at the age of 22 after participating in in a tryout camp in Tecate, Mexico, on March 24, 2007.
In one game with Triple-A Syracuse this season (April 11 at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre), Martin pitched two innings to earn the save, allowing two hits and striking out four.
Cedeno, 28, pitched in 25 games for the Nationals over the course of three seasons (2013-15). He was 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA (16.0 IP).