Tigers activate Young, designate Eldred
Delmon Young’s suspension from Major League Baseball is officially over. So is the Tigers’ experiment with Triple-A slugging sensation Brad Eldred.
As the Tigers say they would, the team activated Young on Friday from MLB’s restricted list, where he had been placed last Saturday following his arrest and arraignment on aggravated harassment charges. He is not expected to start tonight against the White Sox, but he will be available as a right-handed hitter off the bench.
As it turns out, he’ll be the only right-handed power bat available off the bench now that the Tigers have ended their look at Eldred after a week. Detroit designated his contract for assignment to make room for Young on the roster.
Eldred’s red-hot start at Triple-A Toledo earned the 31-year-old another shot at the big leagues. He joined the Tigers last Friday in New York, where manager Jim Leyland said he was going to give him a shot.
“Basically, we had one of the hottest hitters, maybe ever, in the minor leagues. Take a shot,” Leyland said last Saturday. “Bring him up here and run him out there. I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but I think you run him out there until you think that he can or can’t do it.”
The timetable didn’t last long. Eldred had a triple down the line, an infield single and an RBI Friday night, then went 0-for-8 in the final two games, leaving him 2-for-13 with five strikeouts for the series. After a pinch-runner appearance Tuesday, he went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk Wednesday against Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
The final line for Eldred’s first Tigers stint: 3-for-16 with an RBI, a walk and six strikeouts. After Wednesday’s game, he noted the challenge of not trying to do too much in trying to make an immediate impression.
“It’s probably a little bit of a battle, because you obviously want to impress,” Eldred said. “You want to do something, but you obviously can’t get caught up in that. You really try to stick to the same things you’ve been doing, but at the same time, it’s like you’re starting from a clean slate. You want to get a couple hits, just so that you can catch up with everybody else in average, home runs, all that staff. It’s just something where you can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”
The Eldred move erases what was looming as a potential position crunch once Young returned. If Eldred was going to be the regular DH as forecast, Leyland would have to choose between Young and Andy Dirks in left field. This move might set up Young for more time at DH, something the Tigers avoided the first few weeks this season because he wasn’t comfortable doing it.