Brewers release Nixon; option Gamel
The Brewers released veteran outfielder Trot Nixon on Wednesday in their latest round of roster cuts.
The team also optioned third baseman Mat Gamel, one of its top prospects, to Triple-A Nashville, and announced that recently-acquired reliever Wes Littleton had cleared waivers and been optioned to Nashville. Littleton, though, will remain in camp, ostensibly to compete for a bullpen job.
Nixon signed a Minor League contract over the winter and the Brewers hoped he would be this year’s Gabe Kapler, a fellow former Red Sox who had a solid 2008 season as a backup outfielder in Milwaukee. Instead, Nixon batted .105 in 20 Cactus League games and fell behind fellow competitors Chris Duffy, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Brad Nelson in the chase for two spots on the bench.
While the rest of the team warmed up for a game against the Dodgers on Wednesday, Nixon was packing up his belongings in the Brewers clubhouse. Through a club spokesman, he declined to speak to reporters.
“That was tough for me,” said Brewers manager Ken Macha, who was Nixon’s Minor League skipper from 1995-98 and said he put his “heart and soul” into developing Nixon as a big leaguer. “I explained to him that his career has meant as much to me as to him because I spent so much time with him. I’m proud to say he was a player with me in the Minor Leagues because of his professionalism and the career that he has had.”
Nixon indicated to Macha that he still wants to play and was not mulling retirement. That’s why Macha encouraged Brewers general manager Doug Melvin to make the move early, instead of waiting for the final week of Spring Training.