- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cristian Guzman cleared waivers and is eligible to be traded to any other club in the majors, but the Washington Nationals are unlikely to deal the hot-hitting shortstop, according to major league sources.

The Boston Globe initially reported Sunday that the Red Sox put in a waiver claim for Guzman but later amended that report to say the Red Sox only considered claiming the 31-year-old. Guzman, in fact, was not claimed by any club and has thus passed through the waiver process.

The Nationals are free to trade the .317-hitting shortstop to anyone, but the sources said the organization is not actively shopping him around and intends to keep him on the roster through the remainder of the season.

Guzman is signed through next season and is due to make $8 million in 2010, a lofty salary some in the organization would be interested in shedding. But with no viable alternative plans at shortstop for the immediate future and with Guzman on a hot streak that has seen him hit .460 over his last 16 games, the Nationals are content to stick with him.

Five foreign players signed

The Nationals announced the signings of five teenage prospects from the Dominican Republic, including 16-year-old infielder Jean Valdez, who team officials believe could become a middle-of-the-order hitter in the majors.

Washington also signed outfielder Jose Norberto, 18; and right-handers Cleto Brazoban, 17; Vidal Paredes, 18; and George Rosa, 19.

These are the first prominent Latin American players the Nationals have signed since learning this spring that a top Dominican prospect who claimed to be named Esmailyn Gonzalez falsified his identity and age. That scandal in part led to the resignation of general manager Jim Bowden and the firing of front office official Jose Rijo.

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