August 31st, 2010

St. Pierre finally gets call to big leagues

Max St. Pierre is finally coming to the big leagues. He won’t be the most glamorous September call-up, but he might well be the happiest.

After 978 games over 14 minor league seasons, the longtime Tigers farmhand will join the big club as an extra catcher when rosters expand on Wednesday. The club hadn’t announced the move as of game time Tuesday night, but St. Pierre confirmed to the Toledo Blade after the Mud Hens’ game earlier in the evening that he’ll be joining the club in Minnesota.

For the Tigers, the move gives them a third catcher, something they could’ve used in recent days with Gerald Laird out with a back strain. Laird said Tuesday evening he hoped to be back for Wednesday, but that didn’t diminish the need for insurance.

For St. Pierre, the move is a dream finally fulfilled not only after years of trying, but years of questioning whether it would ever happen. The French Canadian began his pro career as a 17-year-old in 1997, and with the exception of one year in the Brewers organization and a brief stint as a pitcher, has been in the Tigers system ever since. He has made no secret that he kept going for a chance to get to the Majors.

He has been a regular with the Tigers in Spring Training, but has never spent a day on the Major League roster. That is set to change. He’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster in order to be eligible, but the Tigers have an opening there.

St. Pierre batted .274 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo, where he has bounced back and forth for the last three seasons. He has been with the Mud Hens for parts of five years.

Tuesday: Tigers at Twins

Good to be back on the beat in Minnesota, where the air is sticky tonight and the clouds are threatening but the worst weather so far is staying to the south and east. Should be able to get in tonight’s game on time.

Tigers still don’t have Gerald Laird available, but he’s feeling pretty good and hopes to be back tomorrow for lefty Francisco Liriano. Alex Avila gets his fourth straight start behind the plate.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Raburn, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Peralta, SS
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Damon, DH
  8. Wells, RF
  9. Avila, C

P: Armando Galarraga

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Jason Kubel, RF
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Delmon Young, DH
  7. Danny Valencia, 3B
  8. Jason Repko, LF
  9. J.J. Hardy, SS

P: Brian Duensing

Tigers to recall Weinhardt Wednesday

The original plan for the Tigers’ September callups was that nobody was probably coming up until Triple-A Toledo’s season ended on Labor Day. There just isn’t much depth left in the farm system. However, Jeremy Bonderman’s rib cage muscle issues might have put a little more urgency in the works. The team announced Tuesday that right-handed reliever Robbie Weinhardt will be recalled Wednesday, the first day rosters can be expanded.

The Tigers sent down Weinhardt a couple weeks ago to work on his slider to go with his sinker. In general, manager Jim Leyland said at the time, his stuff was “up, up, up, up, up.” He has six innings with the Mud Hens since then, allowing an unearned runs on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Detroit had to go short in the bullpen when Alfredo Figaro made a spot start for Bonderman over the weekend. The Tigers haven’t announced their rotation for next weekend at Kansas City, so we don’t know yet whether Figaro will have to start for Bonderman again on Friday.

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