First round of Tigers cuts: Marte released; Crosby, Mercedes to Toledo, others to minor league camp

Luis Marte had made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster two years ago. He was on the team. And then he pulled his left hamstring pitching in the final game of Spring Training. It has been a downhill slide for him ever since, culminating in the abrupt end of his Tigers tenure Wednesday.

Detroit outright released Marte on Wednesday morning as part of their first round of camp cuts.

“He wasn’t going to make the big-league club, and it was a situation where there really wasn’t a spot in Triple-A for him,” Brad Ausmus told reporters this morning, including’s Adam Berry. “You never want to tell someone that you’re releasing them, but the truth is it’s better now than later when you have an opportunity to catch on with somebody else.

“He’s a great kid, a classy kid. Worked hard. It just wasn’t going to work here. Hopefully he can catch on in another organization.”

Marte was coming back from shoulder surgery which cost him most of last season. The Yankees roughed him up for four runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings Feb. 28 and he never really rebounded.

The fact that there wasn’t a spot in the Mud Hens bullpen for Marte was a bit of a surprise. Among was the Tigers’ other moves Wednesday was Melvin Mercedes being optioned to Toledo, where he has a good chance to win the closer’s job. The expectation had been that Mercedes would return to Double-A Erie, where he spent the second half of last season.

By promoting Mercedes to the Mud Hens, the Tigers open up the closer’s job at Erie for high-rising Corey Knebel — if not at season’s start, then soon after. That gives Knebel a chance to position himself for a shot at the big leagues during the season if he pitches well.

The one other surprise was that Casey Crosby was among the first round of moves. Two days after he made his first outing of the spring, the lefty is headed back to Triple-A Toledo. This time, however, he’s expected to pitch in relief. That takes a promising contestant out of the lefty relief and long relief contests, at least for Opening Day. I’d be shocked now if a move comes on Phil Coke, who pitched better Tuesday against the Blue Jays. No reason to whittle down the competition now if Coke isn’t going to be around to the end.

Also headed to Toledo is Robbie Ray, whose breakout season last year in the Nationals system was split between high A-ball and Double-A Harrisburg. Ray had a non-roster invite, so he was assigned to minor-league camp, as were Drew VerHagen, Duane Below and catcher James McCann. Right-handed reliever Jose Valdez was optioned to Erie, as was catcher/DH Ramon Cabrera.

The moves leave 46 players in Major League camp with 16 days to go.


Unimpressed with Krohl today

Travis and Perez were to blame more than him

From what I saw on TV, I would agree. The one ball that was hit hard was the last, and it was a right-handed hitter who pulled it.

I’ll give you the one on Travis could of been an error. (Id have to see the Perez play but that might if been a stretch)…but after that he still gave up a single a walk and a double. Not impressed….sorry.

The BP concerns me, too. Maybe they’ll sharpen up in the next few weeks.

Well hi, everyone. Our trip is going so well that I haven’t had much time to write anything here. Other than last Friday, the weather has been great (sorry). We also had ten inches of snow two days before we left last week.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bob from Canada who posts here often. Real nice fellow.
Jason, planned to have a short chat with you before Tuesday’s game but you and Iott looked pretty comfortable at the lunch table. 🙂 Maybe catch you in the next few days.
We attended the American Idol audition contest at Disney Hollywood Studios for the first time on Monday. There was a lady from Wyoming who is a geologist, and she sang up some blues like you wouldn’t believe. Where was she back when I was doing this stuff? I’ll be waiting to see her appear on the national Idol show. Seriously, she was that good.
Here’s something really cool. I’ve been trying to see “Ernie” at the Fox in Detroit for years, but my trips up there never timed out right. Now the show is in Lakeland and I have tickets for tomorrow night. A ballgame and then Ernie.
Verlander looked like…….well, Verlander. Started out with 92 mph fastballs in the zone and then went to the curve while upping the velocity to 94. He appears to be fine. Got to see Robbie Ray throw to one hitter, whom he retired with several fastballs all at 91 mph. I won’t see him again as he’s in minor league camp now. Rondon looks very good, so it’s just a matter of staying healthy. Al Al on Tuesday was spotting the fastball so I hope he keeps doing that. Joba got everything up in his appearance and paid for it. Velocity is there but he’s got to get the ball down, obviously.
I’ve seen two games so far and the Tigers have scored a total of four runs. I am seeing some of that aggressive baserunning so that’s been interesting. We’ll be at four games in the next five days.
Sorry for the long post, but I’m catching up. Having a very good time.

Rich, it was a pleasure (although brief) meeting you and your wife on Tuesday. We kept looking over at your section to see if people left and some seats opened up but that didn’t really happen until the 9th or 10th.
I agree with Rich’s assessment of what we saw on Tuesday. JV was good for his first time and he went longer that I had expected. We saw a few nice DPs and Crowe made a nice running catch n foul ground right in front of us.
I was really surprised to see how many people were at the game. It was packed and the berm was jammed. I don’t remember it busy as busy when I went as a kid. My only disappointment was missing NC, but DK did supply the only runs.
We head home Friday. I hope the great weather continues for you Rich and you enjoy the rest of your time down here. Hopefully, we can meet again in our future and have a little more time to talk baseball.
— Bob

Yeah, that big crowd on a Tuesday for the Jays was unusual. It was also a very very elderly group of people, more so than normal. We had to take our third alternate route out of town to avoid that massive traffic jam. Very rare.

Thanks for the updates Bob and Rich – cool you could meet in person. Envious of the nice weather you are getting and can’t wait for one day to go there myself for spring training. If this weather continues the start of the season could be very interesting.

Glad you are having a good time and thanks for the info!

Knebel should do well in Erie this season. He was lights out for the Whitecaps last year. I hope Crosby can take that next step and have success coming out of the ‘pen, too.

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