The Astros acquired the versatile infielder off waivers on Nov. 3 and kept him on their roster until needing to make space on Wednesday, when the club acquired Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland from Boston. Bixler is now one of 10 non-roster players to have received an invitation to Astros camp.
Bixler's versatility could make him an intriguing option as Houston pieces together its bench for 2012. Though he played primarily as a shortstop while coming up through the Pirates' system, Bixler has played all four infield and three outfield positions in the Majors.
He made his Major League debut with Pittsburgh in '08 and played 68 games with the Pirates from 2008-09. Bixler, 29, appeared in 79 games with the Nationals in 2011. He batted .205 and posted an on-base percentage of .267.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.