Rockies free Nix to play in Olympics
Infielder designated; must be in Minors to qualify for Games
DENVER -- The country, or at least its baseball team, needs infielder Jayson Nix more than the Rockies.
The Rockies designated Nix for assignment Saturday after Team USA asked if the club would make him available for the Olympics in Beijing.
Nix, who is out of Minor League options and has to be exposed to other teams through waivers in order to be sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs, must be on a Minor League roster by Monday to be eligible for the Games.
It was with Team USA that Nix has had his highest baseball moment. In the 2007 International Baseball Federation World Cup in Taipei City, Taiwan, Nix went 12-for-31 with six extra-base hits to lead the U.S. to the gold medal and the earn tournament's most valuable player honors.
Nix, 25, began the year as the Rockies' starting second baseman, but he hit .125 (7-for-56) in two stints with the big club. The Rockies called up third baseman Ian Stewart in his place.
All that would stand between Nix and Team USA would be another club claiming him and placing him on its Major League roster.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said USA Baseball officials talked with Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett about acquiring Nix's services.
"If he gets through [waivers] and has the opportunity to play in the Olympics, I think that adds tremendous value to somebody's career," Hurdle said.
Nix, the Rockies top pick (44th overall) in 2001, would give the Rockies' system three players on Team USA. Center-field prospect Dexter Fowler and right-handed reliever Casey Weathers, the club's top choice in 2007, also have been chosen.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.