Pirates add Nix as new utility man

Pirates add Nix as new utility man

PHOENIX -- The Pirates added to their collection of former first-round Draft choices on Sunday, signing versatile free agent Jayson Nix.

The 31-year-old journeyman, who had exercised the out-option in his contract with Tampa Bay the day before, was in-house and in uniform No. 27 for Sunday's series finale with Arizona.

"He'll spot start," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Plays all four infield positions and both corners of the outfield. He is a right-handed bat with some barrel. I think we got better with his addition."

Nix, then, essentially is Josh Harrison 2.0. The original now becomes the everyday third baseman, as the club considers the immediate future of a struggling Pedro Alvarez.

Nix was a No. 1 pick by Colorado in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft -- he broke in playing for Hurdle's Rockies in 2008 -- and becomes the seventh former first-round choice on the current 40-man roster.

The younger brother of Laynce Nix, Jayson played 18 games with the Phillies earlier this season and was batting .274 in 54 games with Durham, the Rays' Triple-A affiliate in the International League.

"I'm pretty comfortable pretty much everywhere I play," Nix said. "I'm aware this club has been playing well, and I'm very excited to join a team that's in the race."

To clear room for Nix on the 25-man roster, Brent Morel was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis in the wake of his three-RBI game in Saturday night's 8-3 win over the D-backs. Infielder Dean Anna, claimed on waivers from the Yankees a month ago, was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.