Tigers send Kobernus back to Nationals
The Tigers’ search for a right-handed hitting fourth outfielder just whittled down to the point that Matt Tuiasosopo’s best competition probably isn’t in this camp.
On the same day manager Jim Leyland all but ruled out Avisail Garcia winning a spot on the Opening Day roster, the Tigers returned Rule 5 pick Jeff Kobernus to the Nationals, opting not to keep him on the 25-man roster.
Amanda Comak of the Washington Times first reported that Kobernus will be back in Nationals camp on Sunday. The Tigers confirmed it after the game.
For those who have forgotten the rules of the Rule 5 draft, teams must either keep their selections on the 25-man roster for the entire season (save for some leeway for DL time), work out a trade to keep him, or offer him back to his old club for $25,000, or half what they paid to select the player back in December.
Kobernus looked like he had a great chance to make the team two weeks ago, getting off to a torrid start at the plate. Since then, his batting average has plummeted, and his playing time in turn. His camp ends up at 11-for-50 (.220) with two triples, no homers, three RBIs, five walks and seven strikeouts.
As for Garcia, he remains out with a bruised left heel, and is not listed on the travel roster for the team’s upcoming two-day trip to Port St. Lucie and Jupiter.
“I think it would be fair to say the timing of [Garcia’s] injury probably put a little bit of a damper on him,” Leyland said Saturday morning.
That would leave Tuiasosopo as the only extra outfielder in camp who bats right-handed. The Tigers still have a week left in camp to scan the trade market and waiver wire for options from other teams, a move that might not come until the last minute.