The Nationals are in need of left-handed relievers, and MLB.com has learned that the team has expressed interest in Scott Downs, who played for the Expos from 2000-04. A baseball source said the Nats have inquired about Downs at least twice. It's not known what kind of contract Downs is seeking.

Downs, 37, was a starter when he played for Montreal, but since leaving the organization, Downs has become valuable left-handed specialist for the Blue Jays, Angels and Braves. Last season, Downs had a combined 2.59 ERA for the Angels and Braves in 43 games, while left-handers hit .259 against him.

Downs had his best season in 2011 with the Halos, going 6-3 with a 1.34 ERA in 60 games. Lefties hit .179 against Downs that year.

Downs is not the only lefty specialist the Nationals are eyeing. According to the Washington Post, the team is looking at Oliver Perez and J.P. Howell.

Howell, who had interest in signing with Washington last year, is a free agent once again. Last season, he pitched for the Dodgers and had a 2.03 ERA, while lefties hit .154 against him.

Perez revived his career the last two years with the Mariners. This past season, lefty hitters had a .238 batting average against Perez, who also averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

The Nats consider Sammy Solis a future starter, but if he makes the team out of Spring Training in 2014, Solis could be considered to serve as one of the lefties out of the bullpen. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranks Solis as the 11th-best prospect in the organization.