Utility infielder Brian Bixler arrived in the Nationals’ clubhouse this afternoon and will officially be added to the Nationals’ 25-man roster for the Nationals’ game tomorrow, replacing Jesus Flores, whom the Nationals optioned to Class AAA Syracuse yesterday.
Bixler is not on the 40-man roster, which means the Nationals will have to take a player off their 40-man and send him through waivers. The leading candidate is probably Garrett Mock, who in 11 1/3 utterly ineffective innings at Syracuse has walked 17 batters.
In 14 games at Syracuse this year, Bixler built on the success he experienced during his scorching spring training. When the Nationals called him up, he was hitting .326/.483/.370.
During the spring, working with Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein, Bixler moved his hands further away from his body and cocked his bat so the top of it faced more toward the pitcher’s mound. He continued the adjustment at Syracuse.
“I liked how it felt and I think it helped me become a better hitter,” Bixler said. “So I’m just going to stick with it.”
Bixler can play basically any position except pitcher and catcher. He has played 68 games in his career, hitting .178/.261/.341 in 166 plate appearances. Bixler, 28, last played in the majors in 2009 with the Pirates, the team that drafted in the 2004 second round.
“It’s always exciting, especially as a new team,” Bixler said. “I’m just excited to be here with the Nationals. It’s kind of funny coming straight to Pittsburgh. It’s a little different being on this side, this clubhouse.”