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Rays ink versatile Nix to Minor League contract

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay announced Thursday the signing of infielder Jayson Nix to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

The acquisition of the 31-year-old Nix adds depth and versatility to the Rays, as he has played second base, shortstop, third base and the corner outfield positions during his six Major League seasons split between the Rockies, White Sox, Indians, Blue Jays and Yankees.

Tampa Bay's infield is set for 2014, with Evan Longoria, Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist and James Loney all returning.

With the loss of Kelly Johnson, who signed a free-agent deal with the Yanks, Sean Rodriguez is the lone utility man on the roster.

Nix hit .236 with three home runs and 24 RBIs in 2013. He has a .218 career average with 37 home runs and 126 RBIs in 425 Major League games.

The Rays also announced that outfielder Jerry Sands cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Durham. He also received an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Tampa Bay claimed Sands off waivers from Pittsburgh in December. He was designated for assignment earlier this week to make room on the roster for left-hander Pedro Figueroa.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for

Tampa Bay Rays, Jayson Nix