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Detroit Tigers: Potential Mike Aviles Replacements

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Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop JaCoby Jones (79) throws during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop JaCoby Jones (79) throws during the Detroit Tigers spring training camp at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers infielder Mike Aviles looked to hurt his wrist in the bottom of the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game against Chicago. Should he miss time, here are some potential replacements.

Detroit Tigers utility player Mike Aviles was forced to leave Tuesday’s game after appearing to hurt his wrist while diving for a ground ball that he ultimately couldn’t snag.

At this time, the Tigers haven’t released anything on the injury. However, if Aviles is forced to miss time, the question becomes, who replaces him?

Aviles hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire at the plate in his first season in Detroit. The 35-year-old came into Tuesday’s contest hitting .190 with a .239 on-base percentage and a .222 slugging percentage. In addition to those numbers, the utility player also added nine runs scored, three RBI and a pair of doubles.

Detroit could opt for an offensive upgrade over Aviles, but they could also turn to a player with the same defensive flexibility that the former Royal provides. So far this season, Aviles has seen time at every infield position with the exception of first base. He’s also appeared in games in left field and right field.

It will be interesting to see who the Tigers turn to as a replacement should Aviles miss time. Here are some options.

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JaCoby Jones

Perhaps the most obvious choice, Jones is one of the team’s best prospects. In just 28 minor league games this season, the 24-year-old is hitting .312 with 24 RBI, 14 runs scored, eight doubles, five home runs, three stolen bases and two triples.

Athletic and with all kinds of power, Jones has also seen time at a number of positions in his minor league career. So far, the former Pittsburgh farmhand has logged innings in center field and at shortstop and third base. This kind of defensive flexibility could appeal to the Tigers as Jones would provide a more natural backup for Cameron Maybin. Detroit has so far been forced to use Justin Upton and Andrew Romine out of position as reserves.

Additionally, Jones would give the Tigers another player capable of manning third base and shortstop, two positions where Aviles provides depth.

Casey McGehee

Signed as a minor league free agent with an invitation to Spring Training, McGehee had an extremely productive camp. He likely would have made the team had Nick Castellanos not been entrenched as the team’s third baseman.

McGehee hit .316 with a .413 on-base percentage in 20 spring contests. He also added eight runs scored, six RBI, two doubles and a home run. What was perhaps most encouraging about the former Brewer’s time with the Tigers is the fact that he drew seven walks compared to just four strikeouts.

So far with Triple-A Toledo, McGehee has continued to produce. In 62 contests, the infielder has hit .319 with 29 runs scored, 27 RBI, 15 doubles, four home runs and two stolen bases. In addition to making a positive impact at the plate, McGehee has also showed defensive flexibility, playing at third base and first base. He could potentially back up Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera while Andrew Romine handles reserve middle infield duties.

Dixon Machado

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If the Tigers want to continue with two middle infielders on the bench, Dixon Machado could be the player called upon. A slick fielder, Machado would likely be starting the majority of the games at shortstop if it weren’t for Jose Iglesias.

The current Toledo Mud Hen has turned in a respectable season at the plate so far, posting a .332 on-base percentage, 28 runs scored, 20 RBI 10 stolen bases and eight doubles.

Steven Moya

Another outside-the-box choice considering he isn’t an infielder. However, like Aviles, Moya can play both corner outfield positons. This would allow Romine to back up the infield.

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The slugging outfielder would also provide Brad Ausmus with another option off the bench as a pinch hitter. Moya has 36 RBI, 33 runs scored, 13 doubles, 12 home runs and two triples in 47 minor league games. He’s also added two doubles, two triples and two RBI in a nine-game stint with Detroit earlier this season.

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