Olympic governing bodies are used to getting calls from major league organizations saying, "Sorry, (fill in nation here), you can’t have (fill in player here) because we need him in the major leagues."
There have been famous examples (at least in BA’s way of being famous) in the past two Olympics, such as 2000, when the Dodgers called up righthander Luke Prokopec, keeping him from pitching from Australia in the Sydney Games, or in 2004, when Canadians Justin Morneau and Jeff Francis were made big leaguers before they could become Olympians. Team USA has heard it too many times to name such specific examples.
This time, though, Team USA got a player it wanted after he was sent down from the major leagues. The Rockies promoted Ian Stewart and designated second baseman Jayson Nix for assignment to free up Nix to play in the Beijing Olympics next month. Nix was the MVP of the World Cup last November for Team USA thanks to some key hits and stellar defense at second base, and the performance helped propel him to his first major league time this year. In fact, the 25-year-old was Colorado’s Opening Day starter at second base, though he has hit just 7-for-56 in the big leagues (.125) this season.
"He has to clear waivers by Monday to be available to play in the Olympics," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle told the Rocky Mountain News. "To get an opportunity to play in the Olympics, it adds tremendous value to someone’s career."
USA Baseball general manager Bob Watson had said Wednesday that with Team USA’s roster at 23, a player would be added and hinted the player was in the big leagues, so Nix was who he was referencing.