July 24th, 2012
Omar Infante makes his return as the ninth hitter in the lineup, starting at second base. Quintin Berry stays in the second spot, as you would expect against a right-handed starter.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Quintin Berry, LF
- Miguel Cabrera, 3B (9-for-23 off Ubaldo Jimenez)
- Prince Fielder, 1B
- Delmon Young, DH (9-for-20 off Ubaldo)
- Brennan Boesch, RF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Alex Avila, C
- Omar Infante, 2B
P: Doug Fister
Danny Worth is a right-handed hitting middle infielder whose playing time lately consisted of part-time starts at second base, with an occasional pinch-running appearance. The Tigers traded for Omar Infante to be a right-handed bat in the order while taking over full-time at second base.
Look at it that way, and you could forecast what the Tigers’ move would be to make room for Infante on their 25-man roster. It became official Tuesday, when the Tigers optioned Worth to Triple-A Toledo.
With Infante taking over at second, Ramon Santiago — Infante’s old double-play partner on the 2002-03 Tigers — becomes a utility infielder again. Ryan Raburn, who wasn’t starting much at second anymore anyway, remains on the roster as Detroit’s lone right-handed hitting outfielder off the bench (unless you count DH Delmon Young, which nobody wants to do). Raburn hadn’t started at second since July 13 in Baltimore.
That lefty-righty status could make for an interesting decision when Andy Dirks to ready to come off the disabled list. Clearly, Raburn has had his struggles, and so far there’s no sign that usual midsummer tear from Raburn is coming. Yet if Dirks and Berry are on the same roster, both left-handed hitting outfielders, it arguably makes Don Kelly’s role redundant. However, Kelly has barely started this summer, entering more as a late-inning sub for Brennan Boesch. That role wouldn’t necessarily change. But that’s an argument that won’t be answered for a while, with Dirks likely on for a decent rehab assignment.