VIERA, Fla. — The Washington Nationals have traded outfielder Nyjer Morgan to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Morgan became expendable once it became clear that Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. would be able to platoon in center field. Ankiel will start for Washington on opening day.
"It wasn't really what he didn't show as what Ankiel did show," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Ankiel showed us he can go get the ball in the outfield. His arm is really a weapon. When he's put there, very few players are going from first to third or second to home. He can create a lot of damage with one swing of the bat.
"Nyjer had a nice spring training. After the first week he did really well. He did everything he had to do, it's just Ankiel winning the job, not Nyjer losing the job."
Morgan, who bats and throws left-handed, will probably compete with righty Carlos Gomez for playing time.
Morgan said recently that he didn't think he'd be with the Nationals on opening day.
On Saturday, manager Jim Riggleman responded: "I'm disappointed that he feels that way, but I'm sure it's based on probably him seeing two or three other guys that he is competing with."
Rizzo said that had nothing to do with the trade.
"Players say things out of frustration all the time," Rizzo said. "I just had a great meeting with Nyjer. He's comfortable where we're at and he feels good about himself, so that didn't play into it at all."
Washington received minor league infielder Cutter Dykstra and cash from the Brewers.
Morgan stole 34 bases for the Nationals last season, despite a .319 on-base percentage, and batted .253 with 24 RBIs.
In 2009, Morgan hit .351 in limited playing time with the Nats and had 24 steals.
Dykstra is the son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra. He played third base for Wisconsin of the low Class A Midwest League last season, where he hit .312 with 39 RBIs and 27 steals. The second-round pick in 2008 also had a stellar .416 on-base percentage.
Dykstra is expected to report on Monday and is likely to join Potomac of the high Class A Carolina League.
"He's an athletic kid, he's a really good runner," Rizzo said. "He's a good offensive player with a high on-base percentage guy and works counts. He's really the type of guy that hits at the top of the lineup. Has a little pop and speed and really commands the strike zone."