Sunday, February 17, 2008
Nixon auditions for Arizona, other MLB clubs at D-backs' camp
By Jerry Crasnick
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Veteran outfielder Trot Nixon, still hoping to latch on with a big-league club as a free agent, auditioned for the Arizona Diamondbacks at the team's spring training complex in Tucson on Sunday.
Nixon, 33, is a .275 hitter with 136 home runs in 11 seasons with Boston and Cleveland. After struggling to stay healthy during the end of his tenure with the Red Sox, he hit .251 with three homers in 307 at-bats for the Indians last season.
Arizona opened up Nixon's workout so other interested teams could take a look. Toronto, Seattle and the Los Angeles Dodgers all had scouts on hand to watch him.
Arizona's starting outfield is set for 2008 with Eric Byrnes in left field, Chris Young in center and Justin Upton in right, but the Diamondbacks might be in the market for a left-handed bat off the bench as corner man Chad Tracy rehabilitates from offseason knee surgery. Tracy recently suffered a blot clot in the knee and isn't scheduled to begin running until Feb. 24. It's questionable whether he'll be ready Opening Day.
The Diamondbacks cut ties earlier this winter with switch-hitter Tony Clark, who hit 17 homers in 221 at-bats in 2007. They expressed a passing interest in veterans Eric Hinske and Mark Sweeney before those two players found jobs elsewhere.
Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes recently said it's "50-50'' whether the club will add another hitter this spring.
Nixon, Kenny Lofton, Corey Patterson, Shannon Stewart, Reggie Sanders, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds are among the outfielders who have yet to find jobs in a trying offseason for MLB free agents.
Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com. His book "License To Deal" was published by Rodale. Click here to order a copy. Jerry can be reached via e-mail.