The Tigers catching situation

In the midst of a big unannounced move yesterday, the Tigers did make a small official moves. The Tigers signed catcher Robinzon Diaz to a minor league contract. It is mostly just a depth move, but it does give the Tigers a few options behind (or next to) Gerald Laird in 2010.

In 2009 the Tigers worked with a rotation of Dane Sardhina, Dusty Ryan, and Alex Avila as Laird’s caddy. Sardhina is just an abysmal hitter. Ryan has good pop and a cannon for an arm but seemingly couldn’t win over Jim Leyland. Avila burst on to the scene with the bat and probably raised expectations beyond a reasonable level with his August performance but he’s still quite new to catching.

So the Tigers inked Diaz to become an insurance policy. Avila needs to catch on a regular basis and initially it may be better if he does so in the minors. He went to winter ball but struggled. His struggles probably weren’t a large factor in the decision to get Diaz. But the Tigers expect for Diaz to compete for the back-up role regardless.

Some feel he can compete for a job as backup catcher in spring training
Dombrowski on Diaz

As for Diaz’s game, he has a decent defensive reputation and offensively he seems Randall Simon-esque in his refusal to not put the ball in play. He won’t be a game changer but he is another option.

Image credit Pshanks on flickr

Treanor hits the DL

Matt Treanor has been placed on the disabled list with a right hip strain. Dane Sardhina’s contract has been purchased from Toledo.

UPDATE: The News reports that he is expected to be out 2 months. This article doesn’t specify that Sardhina has been called up, but that is in fact the case per today’s game notes.

Tigers make roster moves

Following the game tonight Eddie Bonine was optioned to Erie and Dane Sardhina was optioned to Toledo designated for assignment. Taking their places are Jeff Larish and Brandon Inge.

Inge of course is returning from the disabled list.

In the case of Bonine, he struggled his last 2 outings and his command was particularly good. With the All Star break coming up the Tigers won’t need a 5th starter for over a week so they are giving themselves an extra bat.

As for who will fill that 5th starter role, I’d guess it will be Zach Miner after the break. He was great in a 4 inning start for Toledo and will get at least one more start to further stretch his arm out prior to being needed.

Brandon Inge to theDL

The oblique problem isn’t going away for Brandon Inge and he is now on the DL. Dane Sardhina’s contract was purchased from Toledo and he’ll back-up Pudge Rodriguez. I’d guess that Sardhina wouldn’t be put into the rotating catcher situation that Inge was in.

This will certainly limit some of Jim Leyland’s flexibility when it comes to late inning defensive replacements.

Sardhina is a career 222/263/337 hitter in the minors so this isn’t the ideal situation by any means. In retrospect putting Inge on the DL a week or so ago when the team had 2 off days would have been a better move. The Tigers don’t have an off day now until July 7th and there are 5 of those day-game-after-a-night-game situations between now and then. So Sardhina will get a handful of starts.

On a side note, my buddy Russ wondered that since Inge strained the oblique on a check swing, if it was a repetitive stress injury – kinda like carpal tunnel syndrome.