July 30th, 2013

Dombrowski: We’re not looking for a bat

Not even a shortstop, it appears.

As reports pick up about potential suspensions Major League Baseball has planned for players involved in the Biogenesis investigation, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is avoiding comment, saying Tuesday that it’s a Major League Baseball matter. Even a question about whether the team has made contingency plans in the event of a suspension was a question Dombrowski didn’t want to touch.

When asked about what depth the Tigers might have in the middle infield if they needed a shortstop in a pinch, Dombrowski listed his internal options.

“We have depth in the infield,” Dombrowski said. “Argenis Diaz is an outstanding defensive shortstop. He can really pick the ball at short. [Danny] Worth is playing second base; we know he can play shortstop. [Ramon] Santiago can go over there and play.

“You’re not going to get the offense from any of them that you would get [from Peralta] on a regular basis. So we have some depth in that regard.”

Both Diaz and Worth have spent the season at Triple-A Toledo. Worth has spent several stints in Detroit as a reserve, while Diaz has been in Toledo since 2011.

The option not listed there was Hernan Perez, the rookie who has filled in at second base the last couple weeks with Omar Infante on the disabled list. Perez has played nearly as many minor-league games at shortstop as he has at second base, including 27 at Erie this season before fellow prospect Eugenio Suarez was promoted.

“Can Perez go over there? That’s a good question that I don’t really know the answer,” Dombrowski said. “He’s played primarily second base this year. He’s played shortstop in the past. We switched him over to second. I think he’s going to be an outstanding defensive second baseman, all-around second baseman.

“Is he a shortstop for the future? I don’t really know that answer. Could he be? Maybe.”

At this point, internal options are the only options the Tigers have. As Wednesday afternoon’s nonwaiver Trade Deadline approaches, Dombrowski all but ruled out a trade for a fill-in. The Tigers are not pursuing a deal for a position player of any kind, it appears.

“We’re not looking for a bat,” Dombrowski said. “Again, if somebody drops something on your lap that you’re not anticipating being there, which happens sometimes in the last 24 hours … you never can tell what happens. But we’re not aggressively seeking that.”

They’re not looking for a bat. They already have a glove.

What’s next for Tigers after Veras

Though Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that Jose Veras would likely be his team’s lone move before the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, that doesn’t mean Dombrowski isn’t going to try for something else. The next goal appears to be another left-handed reliever to slot with Drew Smyly.

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reported late Monday night that the Tigers are among the many teams in the mix for Giants lefty Javier Lopez. The Giants have been scouting pitchers at Double-A Erie, including right-handed starter Drew VerHagen, according to a source.

There’s also buzz among other clubs that the Tigers could make a run at one more right-handed reliever for depth. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reported Detroit is in the mix for Cubs closer Kevin Gregg. However, there’s a recent history of misguided rumors regarding Tigers interest in Cubs players (Carlos Marmol, Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano among them) which, along with Gregg’s recent struggles and his 4.27 career ERA and 1.44 career WHIP in the American League (well above his NL numbers) bring the level of interest into question.

The Tigers might be able to fill a right-handed relief spot internally. Octavio Dotel has resumed throwing side sessions in Lakeland in his attempt to come back from elbow inflammation. Meanwhile, Jeremy Bonderman threw two perfect innings of relief at Triple-A Toledo on Monday, stretching his streak to seven scoreless innings on one hit in the Mud Hens bullpen.

Though other teams continue to wait for the Tigers to try to add a shortstop in anticipation of a possible Jhonny Peralta suspension, they’ve no shown sign of heavy pursuit, even with the reported availability of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar and rumors the Giants might listen to interest on veteran middle infielder Marco Scutaro. Two thoughts could be in play: First, if Peralta were to appeal any suspension, it could well push back any discipline until next year. Second, if Peralta received a suspension that would allow him to return in time for the postseason, the Tigers would have to debate just how much production they need out of shortstop to win the AL Central.

Other than those two areas, the Tigers are pretty well set.

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