Tribe gets Bixler from Bucs
Sandusky native Brian Bixler is the latest entry into the competition to be the Indians’ middle infield utility man.
The Tribe acquired Bixler on Monday in a trade with the Pirates. Low-A third baseman Jesus Brito, who split last year between the Arizona Rookie League and short-season Mahoning Valley, was sent to the Bucs.
Bixler has spent the better part of the last three seasons at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he’s batted a combined .276 with 21 homers, 130 RBIs and a .766 OPS while striking out 366 times in 1,199 at-bats. He’s appeared in a total of 68 games in the big leagues over the last two seasons, batting .178 (27-for-152) with a .475 OPS.
The 27-year-old Bixler has played primarily at shortstop in his career, but he can also handle second base, third base and center field.
With Luis Valbuena likely to see the bulk of time at second base and Asdrubal Cabrera locked in at shortstop, Bixler, Jason Donald and non-roster invitees Mark Grudzielanek and Luis Rodriguez will compete for the utility role. And there is, of course, still a chance another name or two will be added to that mix before all is said and done this winter.