If the Red Sox need more outfield depth, old friend Trot Nixon is now available, though it appears his playing days may be nearing an end after a difficult spring.
Nixon, the former Red Sox outfielder (1996-2006) was released by the Milwaukee Brewers this morning, according to a report in the Journal-Sentinel's Brewers Blog. The move had Brewers manager Ken Macha a bit emotional, according to the newspaper's website:
It has been obvious for a while that Nixon wouldn't make the club, but it was an interesting announcement because Macha was so sincere about his feelings for Nixon, who played for Macha for four years in the minors [in the Red Sox system].
Macha said Nixon is a friend and said it was a tough day for him personally because of the move. Macha and the front office saw the same things we did with Nixon, and he asked general manager Doug Melvin to release Nixon early rather than keep him until the end of camp. Melvin obliged, leaving room for Nixon to latch on with another team as he told the Brewers he would still like to play.
"His career has meant as much to me as it has to him," Macha said. "I'd recommend him as a person, teammate and a baseball player.
"It's been a tough day for me, but that's what happens."
MLB.com has more on Nixon's struggles this spring from earlier this week:
The hard-nosed veteran outfielder switched from No. 3 to No. 93 on March 14, which he called an effort to "shake things up" in his bid for a Brewers roster spot. But Nixon went 1 for 9 in his first seven games after the move, a stretch that actually raised his spring batting average, from .107 to .108 . . .
No one is accusing Nixon of a lack of effort. On Friday, he passed on an off-day and went over to Minor League camp for at-bats. Nixon has privately opened up to a handful of teammates about his struggle this spring.
But when a reporter approached him over the weekend to ask how he was doing, Nixon was not in the mood to chat.
"I really don't feel like talking about it, to be honest with you," Nixon said with his head down.
After the Red Sox elected not to offer salary arbitration to Nixon after the 2006 season, the 34-year-old outfielder moved on to spend time with the Indians, Diamondbacks, and the New York Mets before signing a minor-league deal with Milwaukee in December.