Following today’s game Clete Thomas was optioned to Toledo and Don Kelly was called up in his place. Beck quotes Leyland on Thomas and the decision:
“Thomas has to work on shortening his swing,” manager Jim Leyland said. “This is not a punishment. This is a player that we love.”
Kelly is versatile. He is a veteran of the Tigers system who has typically posted good batting averages and he’ll take some walks. He’s been raking for Toledo this year (341/409/478) while playing predominantly in centerfielder though he has a history as an infielder.
This move still surprises me greatly. Yes, Thomas has been struggling and swinging through a lot of pitches. But up until this afternoon Leyland thought enough of him to bat him 3rd and he is a very good defender. But his 237/315/412 line is dramatically better than Josh Anderson’s 252/289/330 line. Really, if anybody should be going out it should be Anderson who is absolutely anemic at the plate and despite his speed he managed to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. But he’s your leadoff hitter…sorry…back to the topic at hand.
I agree with Kurt that this move is mostly about versatility with 6 games coming up in NL parks and Leyland is itchin’ for some double switchin’ and Kelly will be his left handed Raburn. Or maybe they are just looking for some rookie spark. Still, I think the wrong guy got sent out.