GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Jayson Nix was mentioned as a contender for the Indians' opening at third base when Spring Training began, but the early evidence in camp has made it clear that Cleveland has other plans.
While Nix has worked out some at third base, he has spent the bulk of his time this spring -- during practices and Cactus League games -- manning second, which is his natural position. Nix got the starting nod at second base against the Padres on Wednesday.
"They told me I'm going to play more second than third," Nix said. "But I'm still going over there and getting some work there occasionally. As of now, I'm going to play more second."
That does not bode well for Nix's chances of earning a spot in the Tribe's starting lineup. While the Indians have not officially named Orlando Cabrera their regular second baseman, all signs indicate that the veteran is in the plans to break camp in that role.
Nix is out of player options, meaning he would need to be exposed to waivers if the Indians wanted to send him to the Minor Leagues at the end of camp. Even if Nix cleared waivers, he has the right to decline an outright assignment to the Minors.
Indians manager Manny Acta insists that Nix is still in the running for a spot.
"Right now, he's battling with Orlando for that second-base job," Acta said.
Last season, the 28-year-old Nix hit .234 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs in 78 games with the Indians after being claimed off waivers from the White Sox in June. He played some second but mostly manned third (Nix made 16 errors in 56 games there) after the Tribe traded Jhonny Peralta to the Tigers in July.
Nix played winter ball in Puerto Rico to continue working on third base, but was limited to 15 games after missing a week after being struck on the head with a pitch. As things currently stand, Jason Donald appears to be the favorite to land Cleveland's full-time third -base job this spring.