Matt Tuiasosopo bombed a monster home run for the Detroit Tigers today versus the New York Mets (video link). On the radio broadcast following the no-doubter, Dan Dickerson and Jim Price noted that Tuiasosopo’s swings had been looking much better of late and that he was trying to push to earn a spot on the team. I’m confident that Dan and Jim realize that the chances of Tuiasosopo making the team are very slim, but it’s spring training and you kind of have to talk like that on the radio to keep the games interesting.
I’m sure Tuiasosopo himself thinks that he can make the team, and as a right-handed bench bat he could fill a need, but the Tigers don’t appear to be acting like he’s a guy in the mix for one of the 25 roster spots. Here’s why:
Today marked the 15th spring game that Tuiasosopo had appeared in this year. He played at first base in eleven of those games and played third base in five of those games (I’m assuming that means there was one game in which he played both positions). He’s played in the outfield in zero of those games.
Some facts: Tuiasosopo entered spring camp as a long shot to make the team. In order to help out the team during the season, his primary defensive role would be as a platoon outfielder (can we all agree the team is set at third base and first base?). The Tigers haven’t elected to play him in the outfield even one time yet this spring.
I have to believe that if the Tigers had even the smallest inkling to consider him as an outfielder during the season, they’d be trying to get him reps out there this spring. In fairness, Tuiasosopo has played a fair bit of outfield in both the major and minor leagues so it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to suddenly ask him to do it again, but you would think they would want to see him out there at least a handful of times.
Captivating stuff, I know. As we’ve mentioned here before, you know you’re watching a good team when the most interesting thing to talk about during spring training is whether or not the most marginal of candidates actually has a chance to make the team. Matt Tuiasosopo, it appears, does not.