The Washington Times - December 21, 2011, 05:10PM

The Nationals announced Wednesday afternoon that they claimed infielder Carlos Rivero off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Rivero, a non-drafted free agent signed by the Cleveland Indians in 2005, was a shortstop throughout his minor league career until he was claimed last offseason off waivers by the Phillies. They converted him to third base and he spent the majority of the season at Double-A in 2011.

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In six minor league seasons Rivero is a .258 hitter with a .317 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage. Rivero, a 23-year-old Venezuelan native, has 47 career home runs — but saw a large jump in his power numbers last year. From 2006-2010, Rivero had never hit more than eight homers in a season. In 2011 he hit 16 between Double-A and Triple-A.

Overall he hit .270 with 16 homers, 38 doubles and a .326 on-base percentage in 2011 and he will likely be given an opportunity in spring training to compete for a backup infielders’ job if the Nationals feel they can’t get Steve Lombardozzi enough playing time as a utility infielder and would prefer to keep him playing every day in Triple-A. He could also serve as a right-handed bat off the bench. 

Rivero was put on the Phillies 40-man roster this offseason.

The addition leaves the Nationals with 37 players on their 40-man roster.