VIERA, Fla. -- It was reported on Thursday that the Astros are in a need of a left-handed bat off the bench and are eyeing Nationals outfielder Laynce Nix, who signed a Minor League deal with Washington last month.

Nix is considered to be one of the best bench players in baseball. Last year, he hit .291 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 165 at-bats for the Reds.

Nix, a Houston native, didn't have a reaction when he was told on Friday that Houston had interest in his services.

"It doesn't mean anything until it happens," Nix said. "It doesn't change anything I do. I'm getting ready for a season. It's real simple for me, because I just have to do what I have to do to play baseball."

Entering Friday, Nix was 4-for-17 [.235] with two RBIs this spring.

Nationals make second round of cuts

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals made their second round of roster cuts on Friday.

They optioned pitchers Adam Carr and Garrett Mock to Triple-A Syracuse and reassigned first basemen Michael Aubrey and Kevin Barker, outfielders Jeff Frazier and Jonathan Van Every, catchers Carlos Maldonado and Jhonatan Solano and pitchers Luis Atilano, J.D. Martin and Josh Wilkie to Minor League camp.

In addition, the team also released reliever Cla Meredith, who had Tommy John surgery this spring. Meredith's elbow started to hurt during his first bullpen session of Spring Training. He was hoping it was scar tissue breaking up inside his elbow, as he already had bone chips removed from the elbow this past offseason. However, about a week later, he needed elbow construction.

The Nationals' Spring Training roster is at 46 players.

Of the players cut, Carr was the biggest surprise because he pitched well, throwing four shutout innings and striking out two.

Last season, Carr was one of the best relievers in the team's farm system, going a combined 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. That success carried over into the Arizona Fall League, as he posted a 2.08 ERA in 10 appearances for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

"Obviously, coming into my first big league camp, you want to impress people," Carr said. "I felt that I came in and made a strong showing. I just worked hard and lived by what I wanted to do -- just take it one day at a time. I felt good."

Manager Jim Riggleman said Carr wouldn't have seen a lot of time had he survived the cuts.

"[Pitching coach] Steve [McCatty] puts the pitching together and lines it up as to how many innings the starters are going to go, how many innings there are left for the relievers," Riggleman said.

"The opportunities for Adam to pitch and show what he could do were going to be minimized. He was going to sit too many days. So he needs to get into Minor League camp and get on a regular schedule."

Ramos appears likely to back up Pudge

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman declined to say who is winning the battle between Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos for the backup role behind the plate. But it's pretty clear it's Ramos.

Entering Friday's action against the Astros, Ramos was 6-for-16 [.375] with an RBI, while Flores was hitless in nine at-bats.

Riggleman acknowledged that Flores is getting the short end of the stick, because Ivan Rodriguez is the starter and needs to play. It's also not a secret that Ramos is the team's catcher of the future. He is expected to play every day by the second half of the season.

"I think what we are going to end up doing is give Pudge [Rodriguez] a couple of days off and put Flores [behind the plate Sunday] and try and keep him sharp. We might DH him a couple of games," Riggleman said. "He has caught, but he hasn't started many games."

The Nationals could do one of two things with Flores. He has two options left and could be sent to Triple-A Syracuse. Washington could also trade Flores, but interest in him appears to be cooling. For example, the Astros were scouting Flores but lost interest because they believe he still has a weak shoulder. Flores missed almost two years of action because of a shoulder ailment.

Worth noting

Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman hopes that outfielder Corey Brown can start playing in the next couple of days. Brown has missed more than a week of action because of a sprained left ankle. ... The Potomac Nationals received their championship rings for winning last year's Carolina League championship on Friday.