Diaz dealt to Texas for Nickeas

Victor Diaz's time with the New York Mets came to an end Wednesday, as he was dealt to the Texas Rangers for minor league catcher Mike Nickeas.

Diaz, a 24-year-old outfielder, was in spring training with the Mets this season and contended for the starting right field position, but Xavier Nady pulled away early in camp.

Diaz logged just 11 at-bats with New York this season, batting .182 (2-for-11) with two RBI in six games. Last year, he played in 89 games.

At Triple-A Norfolk, Diaz struggled, never regaining the form that led many to draw comparisons to a young Manny Ramirez earlier in his career. In 103 International League games, Diaz batted .224 with eight home runs and 38 RBI, striking out 99 times in 379 at-bats.

His best month was June, when he batted .284 (33-for-116) with five home runs and 19 RBI, but he had been slumping for some time on a poorly-performing Tides club, batting .171 in July and .190 in August.

Diaz was designated for assignment last week to make room for outfielder Shawn Green on New York's 40-man roster.

In Colorado, where the Mets won for a second consecutive day by a large margin, Mets manager Willie Randolph said he wasn't surprised by the trade of Diaz.

"He was going up and down focus-wise," Randolph told reporters. "I told him every time I sent him out that I wanted him to go down and focus and play hard and hustle and all of those things."

Nickeas, 23, was a fifth round selection of the Rangers in 2004 from Georgia Tech. Considered a strong defensive backstop, Nickeas will report to Class-A St. Lucie of the Florida State League, but had been playing at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League.

In 39 games for Frisco, Nickeas was batting .248 (28-for-113) with two home runs and 15 RBI. He opened the season at Class-A Bakersfield of the California League, batting .297 (19-for-64) with no home runs and six RBI in 17 games.


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