A few hours after Scott Sizemore went from a strong candidate at second baseman to Triple-A Toledo, manager Jim Leyland finished up the second base competition.
“Will Rhymes will get the first shot,” Leyland said.
That includes, most likely, Opening Day against the Yankees and CC Sabathia.
In the end, Leyland cited Rhymes’ performance last year — a .304 average, 12 doubles, three triples, 19 RBIs and a home run off Zack Greinke — as a separating factor in the second-base scrum.
“I know he hit .304 in the big leagues last year, and he hasn’t done anything to show me he can’t play,” Leyland said. “He’s played his tail off this spring. He gets base hits and fights his tail off at the plate. He’s a little energy piece for us.
“But I want to make it perfectly clear that I was really, totally impressed with Scott Sizemore, totally different guy. I think it’s 100 percent that Scott Sizemore is a big leaguer now, and I’m not sure I could’ve said that before. I’m speaking for me personally. And Danny Worth is a big league player as well. There’s no doubt in my mind.”