No one said baseball was fair, and for two members of last year’s Opening Day team, this has never been more true.
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The Detroit Tigers have trimmed their roster to 29 by sending eight players to the minor leagues. Among the somewhat surprising moves was the assignment to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens for catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Tyler Collins. Each of these players were on the 2014 Opening Day roster.
Holaday stuck around the majors all season long, and into the playoffs, serving as backup to Alex Avila, however with the solid season that James McCann put up in Toledo last year and the struggles at the plate for Bryan (.231 avg, .542 OPS,) this moved seemed destined to happen. In fact, while it is a surprise that someone who was with the big league club all season is back in the minors, anyone who followed the Tigers since the end of last year likely saw this coming.
Holaday has five hits in 25 at-bats this spring (.200), though one of his hits was a Grand Slam last week. Meanwhile, McCann wasn’t just handed a spot, he earned it with a .371 batting average in Grapefruit League play.
This move will allow the team to go with a righty-lefty split with Avila and McCann platooning based on the opposing starting pitcher.
While McCann may have been anointed as the second catcher much of the offseason, Collins had been pegged as the fifth outfielder, but that didn’t come to pass.
Instead it looks as if the Tigers will be keeping two utility infielders in Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez. The rationale being that those two can be used for defensive subs late in the game and the team rarely used a pitch hitter off the bench late in games in 2014. They also run fairly well and the team has been working the middle infielders in the outfield, first base and catcher.
Collins hit a couple of homers in Spring Training but wasn’t hitting consistently, at .234 in 53 plate appearances.
Despite the disappointment, Holaday and Collins will likely be on the ready to come back. With Avila’s health always an issue, Holaday could be back and Collins will likely be the first outfielder called up as needed.
The team has until Saturday to trim the roster to the required 25 men before Opening Day next Monday in Detroit.