Laynce Nix declared himself a free agent today after clearing waivers and refusing an outright assignment, according to the Reds’ official Twitter feed.
Nix, who turned 30 last month, batted .291/.350/.455 with four home runs, 18 RBI and an 805 OPS over 165 at-bats this past season. He sprained his left ankle on August 23 and missed most of the month of September, but was on the club’s roster for the Division Series against the Phillies.
Nix went through virtually the same process last November. After hitting a career-high 15 home runs in 309 at-bats in 2009, Nix refused an outright assignment from the Reds only to return on a minor league contract.
It’s possible he could be back, but there will probably be a few teams interested in him as a cheap alternative for a left-handed bat off the bench. Nix posted a 795 OPS in 163 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season and an 802 OPS in 303 plate appearances against righties in 2009.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.