Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers bring back Joe Jimenez and John Hicks

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DETROIT, MI - APRIL 28: Joe Jimenez #77 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the ninth inning at Comerica Park on April 28, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The White Sox defeated the Tigers 7-3. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - APRIL 28: Joe Jimenez #77 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the ninth inning at Comerica Park on April 28, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The White Sox defeated the Tigers 7-3. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers players Joe Jimenez and John Hicks returned to the team Sunday following stints in the minor leagues. The duo replaces the recently-traded Justin Wilson and Alex Avila.

Detroit Tigers fans will see a pair of familiar faces on the active roster, as both reliever Joe Jimenez and catcher John Hicks are back with squad.

The team announced the move in a tweet on the team’s official Twitter account on Monday morning.

Detroit tweeted the following:

"“To fill their spots on the 25-man roster, the #Tigers have recalled RHP @JAJimneez27 and C John Hicks from Toledo.”"

Both should provide immediate reinforcements for a Detroit team that has traded away J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila in recent weeks.

Jimenez and Hicks will directly step in to fill the roster spots previously occupied by Wilson and Avila. The newly-promoted duo should both fill key roles upon rejoining the roster.

For a Tigers bullpen that ranks 30th in WAR, 29th in swinging strike percentage and 26th in strikeouts per nine-innings and WHIP, Jimenez will provide immediate value as a setup option to new closer Shane Greene.

With Greene closing games in place of Wilson, the Tigers’ setup choices have changed significantly.

Outside of Jimenez, the most immediate options are Bruce Rondon, Daniel Stumpf and Alex Wilson.

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Because of this, the rookie may find himself pitching in high-leverage situations down the stretch.

This should be good for Jimenez’ development as he eases into pitching at the back end of games at the Major League level ahead of a likely more prominent role with the team in 2018.

Jimenez previously pitched to a 12.46 ERA and a 4.69 xFIP in 4.1 innings for Detroit earlier this season. In 25 Triple-A innings in 2017, the right-hander owns a 1.44 ERA and a 2.86 FIP.

He struck out 12.96 batters per nine innings with Triple-A Toledo.

John Hicks

Meanwhile, Hicks will complement James McCann behind the dish in the same way Avila did.

McCann still struggles against right-handers, so the ex-Mariner should receive plenty of playing time against righties.

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In 38 plate appearances this year against right-handed opposition, Hicks is batting .342 with an .842 OPS.

What’s more, Hicks could also see occasional time at first base, potentially taking over as Miguel Cabrera’ primary backup at the position.

This would allow Andrew Romine to see more time in right field with Alex Presley on the disabled list.

Hicks previously logged 69 plate appearances for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. He hit .299 with a .319 on-base percentage, a .522 slugging percentage, a .353 wOBA, a 120 wRC+, 12 RBI, 11 runs scored, three home runs and a stolen base.

A potential long-term piece for the club, Hicks had only seen 36 plate appearances in the Majors prior to Opening Day 2017.

Next: Breaking down the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila trade in its entirety

It will certainly be worth watching to see what he can do with a more steady diet of plate appearances to finish out the season.

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