The reasoning on Byrdak
Yes, Jim Leyland said today, he did say last night that Byrdak was on the team at that point. It was after saying that to reporters that GM Dave Dombrowski came in for a discussion on Byrdak’s issues and whether they wanted to move forward. Essentially, they had to make a decision today whether to stick with him or release him to have a chance to fill the spot. They agreed to sleep on it, and Leyland still felt like he could take Byrdak. But in the end, he really couldn’t, not the way Byrdak was struggling.
So with Byrdak out, the Tigers could break camp with the pitchers they have, keeping both Yorman Bazardo and Aquilino Lopez and going with one left-hander. However, Leyland would rather go with two lefties if they could. The Tigers are going to try to make a move to pick up one, either through trade or the waiver wire. They’re unlikely to pick up a big contract like what is owed to Cincinnati’s Mike Stanton or San Francisco’s Steve Kline, but they’ll undoubtedly check out some of the other lefties that teams try to pass through waivers.
At this point, they’re unlikely to go in-house for a lefty. Clay Rapada is only throwing off of flat ground at this point after he felt more shoulder stiffness in his return to game action last week. They haven’t really given serious thought to Macay McBride, who they spent all spring preparing to work as a starter at Triple-A Toledo and breaking some of those relief habits. But then, it was a similar need that made McBride a lefty reliever in Atlanta a few years ago, too.
As for the final position guy, that seems to be boiling down to extra outfielder or extra catcher. Clete Thomas is again with the big club, starting in RF, and Sardinha is starting at catcher with Pudge spending the day back in Lakeland.
So basically, this appears to be a roster that won’t be set until sometime this weekend in Houston. They don’t have to physically set their 25-man roster until Sunday afternoon.