July 21st, 2010

Leyland sets mix at third base

Sorry so late on this. Scott Sizemore arrived at Comerica Park just before batting practice, but Don Kelly is getting the start nonetheless. Sizemore will start Thursday at third base against Blue Jays left-hander Brett Cecil, then again Saturday agaisnt Ricky Romero before settling into more regular time at third base as soon as next week.

What happens from there might well depend on the trade market and whether the Tigers find a deal for a third baseman or utility infielder at a reasonable cost. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweeted Wednesday that Detroit inquired about Blue Jays slugger and AL home run leader Jose Bautista, who can play third and the outfield.

There’s potentially an interesting dynamic at play with the fact that Brandon Inge is not only out for the next few weeks, but he’s a free agent at season’s end at a position where Detroit has no obvious successors. If Sizemore holds his own there and hits, does third base become a potential home for him in 2011? If the Tigers swing a deal, do they look beyond this season with it?

One more thing on the third-base situation: There’s a misconception that Carlos Guillen didn’t want to move to third base and forced the Sizemore shift. Guillen was willing to move to third if the Tigers asked, but it never got to that point. The Tigers made the decision themselves and left Guillen out of it.