When it came time to hit against left-handed pitching, the 2012 Tigers too often looked more like pussycats.
They addressed that, in part, with the signing of Torii Hunter, who absolutely creamed lefties a season ago, to the tune of a .340 batting average.
But the Tigers are faced with the very real possibility they'll have no right-handed hitting option to platoon with left-handed-hitting Andy Dirks.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, speaking Tuesday afternoon to the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, reiterated — in fact, he used stronger language than at other points this offseason — that prospects Avisail Garcia and Nick Castellanos aren't being viewed as part-time options.
The team, instead, would prefer they play every day in the minors over a part-time gig in the majors. They're both still so young — Garcia is 21, Castellanos 20 — and Castellanos remains a work-in-progress in the outfield, where he moved last year from third base.
"With Garcia and Castellanos, and I'll put them both in the same boat — Garcia the better outfielder, Castellanos is going to be a quality hitter," Dombrowski said. "They're not going to come up and only play 30 or 40 games for us at this time.
"If that's the role for that right-handed hitter out there in left field, they'll go down to Triple A to start off."
In other words, Garcia — who played, and played well, for the Tigers down the stretch in 2012 — or Castellanos has to win the starting job to head north when spring camp convenes late next month.
And that's not a likely scenario, considering the season Dirks had — at least, when he was dealing with a leg injury — in 2012.
Dirks, at .336, had the fifth-best batting average against right-handed pitchers in the American League, behind names like Cano, Trout, Beltre and Mauer. Ever heard of them?
Dombrowski, though, points out Dirks was no slouch against lefties, either. He batted .274 with a .354 on-base percentage against them.
Still, the Tigers continue to debate internally whether Dirks is a full-time player, someone Jim Leyland can pencil into the lineup 140 or 150 times a season. Last year when he shined, batting .322 on a whole, he played in only 88 games.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130205/SPORTS0104/302050429#ixzz2K87vqLj3
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