Nixon signs with Braves for another two years

Otis Nixon, suspended for cocaine use during the Braves' pennant drive, re-signed with the team yesterday, saying he was spurning a richer offer from the California Angels to stay in Atlanta.

Nixon and the National League champion Braves agreed on a two-year contract with a third year at the player's option -- a deal similar in structure to one offered by the Angels. Nixon will be paid $5.6 million during the next two seasons and the option could bring the total to $8.1 million for three years.


California denied offering more money to Nixon, who was acquired by the Braves from the Montreal Expos in April. He set a franchise record with 72 stolen bases and hit .297 -- 69 points above his lifetime average. But on Sept. 16, commissioner Fay Vincent suspended him for 60 days after he failed a drug test. He missed the NL playoffs and the World Series.

"It was tough," Nixon said, in his first news conference since the suspension. "I was rooting for my team like I was out there with them. But I had to take care of me; I had to take care of Otis, and make sure I was OK."


Nixon, 32, said he remains in a daily drug-treatment program. He will miss the first 18 days of the 1992 season, serving the balance of his suspension. He lost an appeal last week to have the term shortened. But he will be allowed to play during spring training.

* PIRATES: Third baseman Steve Buechele, 30, agreed to a four-year deal for $11 million to stay with the club.

Agent Alan Meersand said that on Wednesday night he offered the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres the chance to match the offer, but didn't call the New York Yankees, who had been indecisive for weeks.

Meanwhile, Rod Wright, the agent for Barry Bonds, told the Pirates they have no chance of signing his client to a long-term contract. The sides are now negotiating a one-year deal.The Pirates reportedly offered Bonds, a free agent after next season, $25 million over five years.

* METS: Pitcher Bret Saberhagen can demand a trade after the 1992 season because he was dealt in the middle of a multiyear contract, but he said he most likely would be happy enough to remain with the Mets.

" as long as the Mets continue to put together a team that can make it to the postseason,I don't see any problem," said Saberhagen,a two-time Cy Young Award winner who was acquired from the Royals in a five-player trade Wednesday night.

Mets general manager Al Harazin said the Mets originally proposed dealing outfielder Kevin McReynolds and infielder-outfielder Gregg Jefferies for Saberhagen and infielder Bill Pecota. The Royals rejected that, but When Harazin added infielder-outfielder Keith Miller to the mix, the final ingredients were in place. The Royals suggested substituting second baseman Terry Shumpert for Pecota, but the Mets insisted on Pecota and got him.

* WHITE SOX: Minor drug charges against Dan Pasqua could be dismissed if random urine tests show the outfielder has not been using drugs. Under an agreement accepted Wednesday in Municipal Court in Dumont, N.J., Pasqua, 30, must submit to the tests and pay $545 in fines.


* RED SOX: A judge ordered the acquittal of pitcher Roger Clemens of charges that he tried to interfere with the arrest of his brother during a barroom brawl last January.

State District Court Judge Jim Barkley told jurors to find the three-time Cy Young Award winner innocent after defense attorneys filed a motion seeking an acquittal based on legal technicalities.