Results tagged ‘ Trot Nixon ’
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.
If Trot Nixon does not win a roster spot with the Brewers, the organization might not have a job for him at Triple-A.
So said general manager Doug Melvin, who met with Nixon last week. Nixon switched from No. 3 to No. 93 on March 14 but it has not helped him shake his spring slump, and with a .108 batting average it appears that he’s behind in the Brewers’ race for backup outfield spots.
“We had a conversation and I let him know where he stood at this time,” Melvin said. “The tough thing about Spring Training is evaluating the numbers, but I told him that if he didn’t make our big club, there wasn’t a guarantee of anything at Triple-A at this point.
“There’s still a lot of time left, though,” Melvin added. “The thing is, as long as you have a uniform on, you have a chance of making the ballclub. Trot is a real pro and he tries hard and he gives his best effort. In Spring Training, a couple of balls fall in for hits and the story is totally different.”
One thing is certain: Nixon is doing everything he can to get on track. He has not started a Brewers “A” game since March 15, but on Friday he asked for at-bats in a Triple-A game.
I tried over the weekend to ask him how he was doing, but he was not in the mood to chat.
“I really feel like talking about it, to be honest with you,” Nixon said with his head down.
Other outfielders are ticketed for Triple-A over Nixon. Prospects Cole Gillespie and Brendan Katin are likely to play in Nashville and the team is mulling whether to send Lorenzo Cain there. Jason Bourgeois, who is in big league camp, will go to Nashville. If Chris Duffy does not make the cut he would probably be assigned there, too. Ditto for Tony Gwynn Jr. or Brad Nelson, though the Brewers would have to pass that duo through waivers first.
So you can see that it’s crowded. Nixon, 34, would have a lot of competition for playing time.
Before we get to today’s “A” game lineup, manager Ken Macha told us at this morning’s “B” game against the Dodgers that outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. had a setback during a throwing drill on Sunday and will undergo an MRI scan today to determine what’s going on in his sore right shoulder. He won’t be the designated hitter this afternoon.
Trot Nixon makes his first appearance in center field and Brad Nelson, who has drawn raves from Macha so far, starts in left. Here’s the full lineup:
Jason Kendall C
Craig Counsell 2B
Corey Hart RF
Prince Fielder 1B
Angel Salome DH
Trot Nixon CF
Brad Nelson LB
Casey McGehee 3B
Alcides Escobar SS
Right-hander Jeff Suppan gets the start for Milwaukee and Todd Coffey, R.J. Swindle, Tim Dillard and Lindsay Gulin are also scheduled to work.