- Associated Press - Sunday, March 27, 2011

VIERA, FLA. (AP) - The Washington Nationals traded hot-tempered outfielder Nyjer Morgan to the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday for minor league infielder Cutter Dykstra and cash.

Dykstra is the son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra. The trade came two days after Milwaukee sent outfielder Chris Dickerson to the New York Yankees for pitcher Sergio Mitre.

Morgan stole 34 bases last year during a season in which he drew a pair of weeklong suspensions from Major League Baseball. He appealed those penalties and eventually sat out for eight games.

Last week, he was restrained by a Nationals coach as Washington scrapped with St. Louis. Morgan appeared to have upset the Cardinals by running into Albert Pujols as the star first baseman handled a tailing throw.

Morgan became expendable once it became clear that Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. would 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 back up Carlos Gomez in center field for the Brewers.

“Things can change during the season, but Carlos is our center fielder,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “I think it adds to the depth on our bench. (Morgan) played every day last year but he’ll back up Gomey. When he needs a day off, we’ll have somebody to play center field.”

Roenicke also said the speedy Morgan may be used as a pinch-runner because he is a “good base-stealer.”

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.”

Morgan hit .253 last year for Washington. He first was given a seven-game ban when the commissioner’s office said he deliberately threw a baseball into the stands. While that was being appealed, Morgan was given an eight-game suspension on Sept. 3, two days after charging the mound against the Marlins.

Morgan eventually sat out for eight games following an appeal, rather than the original penalties of two bans totaling 15 games.

Riggleman said Morgan’s difficulties last year had no bearing on what happened this spring.

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