Sizemore coming to Detroit
When Will Rhymes was named the Tigers’ Opening Day second baseman, manager Jim Leyland said he was getting the first shot at the job. Scott Sizemore is now getting the next shot.
With the Tigers’ offense sputtering and Rhymes’ playing time diminishing, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski pulled the switch Monday night, recalling the hot-hitting Sizemore from Triple-A Toledo and optioning Rhymes back to the Mud Hens.
The move is the Tigers’ first step in their attempt to fix an offense that batted .249 in April and has played a major role in Detroit’s seven-game losing streak, the latest a 3-2 loss to the Yankees Monday night at Comerica Park. Rhymes certainly didn’t bear the brunt of responsibility, but his struggles to escape his early slump looked bad while Sizemore kept hitting up a storm in a Mud Hens uniform.
Sizemore was a late scratch for the Mud Hens Monday at Pawtucket once the Tigers made the decision. He made the move up with a .408 average (31-for-76), seven doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs for the Hens. He hit .452 (14-for-31) in his past 10 games with seven walks, four doubles, a home run and nine RBIs.
His return to Detroit comes almost a year after he lost the starting job at second base last season, having struggled early while working his way back from ankle surgery the previous offseason. His improved health was obvious in Spring Training by the way he moved around the infield defensively. It was not as evident in his hitting.
With Carlos Guillen opening the season on the disabled list, Rhymes won the starting job in Spring Training based in part on his success last year, and the fact that he hadn’t done anything to lose the job. A .221 average (15-for-68) in 19 games with only one extra-base hit and two RBIs hurt his chances, despite 10 walks.
The Tigers’ other offensive struggles didn’t help Rhymes, either. Part of his strength is the ability to move runners in the second spot, and Austin Jackson’s struggles atop the batting order didn’t give him many opportunities. Likewise, Magglio Ordonez’s slow start behind him impacted the way opponents pitched Rhymes.