That word -- "gamer" -- was the first out of Pedro Martinez's mouth, too. The two played together for seven years with the Red Sox, and won a World Series title in 2004.
"I'll tell you what," Martinez said. "He can play for my team any day."
Nixon, 34, was batting .309 with 10 home runs for Triple-A Tucson, spending time both in left and right field. His best Major League seasons came with the Red Sox, including a career year in 2003 that saw him hit .306 with 28 homers.
Nixon signed with the Indians before last season and batted .288 after the All-Star break. He then signed a Minor League deal with the Diamondbacks, and accepted an assignment to Triple-A after losing a roster battle in Spring Training.
There, he thrived, ranking fourth in the Pacific Coast League with 40 walks and eighth with a .437 on-base percentage. He was slugging .558 with 15 doubles and 31 RBIs.
A former first-round Draft pick of the Red Sox, Nixon is a career .275 hitter over 11 Major League seasons. His playoff resume includes one World Series title and four League Championship Series, and he holds a .283 average in 42 postseason games.
"He's a hard-nosed player," David Wright said. "He's a guy who's going to go out there and get dirty. He's a guy that plays with a lot of intensity, and I think that's a good thing both on the field and as a clubhouse guy. He's been on a championship team. He knows what it takes to win and he'll go out there and give you something day in and day out."
Nixon should see ample time in the outfield for the Mets, now that Moises Alou is out indefinitely with a strained left calf, and Ryan Church is sidelined with continued post-concussion symptoms. There is no timetable for either player's return, and currently, the Mets were relying on a host of backups and recent callups to fill the void.
Nixon is set to join the Mets before Saturday's game against the Rangers.
"He looks like a little grouch all the time, but in reality, he's a great person," Martinez said. "A good family man."