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Dave Littlefield named Tigers VP of player development, other assistants staying

New Tigers general manager Al Avila will be keeping nearly all of the assistants from his predecessor, Dave Dombrowski. The second round of Tigers administrative moves, announced Tuesday, saw Avila change titles with some veteran advisors while promoting former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield to vice president of player development.

Scott Reid, the longtime pro scouting head under Dombrowski, will stay on as a senior advisor to Avila. Dick Egan, a special assistant under Dombrowski, will stay on in the same role for Avila.

Also staying on are amateur scouting director Scott Pleis, minor league operations director Dan Lunetta, international operations director Tom Moore, Latin American scouting director Miguel Garcia and player development director Dave Owen. In Owen’s case, he’ll report to Littlefield, who will take charge of the Tigers farm system.

“We’ve identified the key personnel that we believe gives us the best complement of experience,” Avila said in a statement. “These gentlemen have a high level of expertise that is invaluable in today’s game of evaluating players.”

The Tigers hired Littlefield last fall as a Major League scout after he spent seven seasons scouting with the Cubs. He was a former assistant for Dombrowski with the Florida Marlins, working alongside Avila, before heading to Pittsburgh. Avila briefly joined him there before joining Dombrowski in Detroit in 2002.

Reid came to Detroit with Dombrowski after working for him with the Marlins. He served as vice president of player personnel for over a decade, running the pro scouting department, before Scott Bream shouldered most of the day-to-day administrative duties. Bream was named vice president of player personnel last week.

Egan, too, has a long history with Dombrowski and followed him to Detroit, having spent a decade with the Marlins scouting department. A veteran of 55 seasons in pro ball, he served the Tigers as a pro scout before taking on the special assistant title in 2007.

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Royals

  
Looks like a night off for Jose Iglesias, who had played every inning of the Tigers’ last 18 games. He went 1-for-13 over the weekend against the Red Sox. Andrew Romine gets the start against Johnny Cueto, who has been particularly tough on lefties (.177 average, 70 strikeouts in 266 at-bats). That said, Tyler Collins had three decent at-bats against Cueto, and he’s back in the lineup in left. Alex Avila starts behind the plate.

TIGERS (numbers off Cueto)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (2-for-7, triple, K)
  2. Tyler Collins, LF (1-for-3, double)
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (2-for-6, double, triple, walk)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-9, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-7, walk)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-4, walk, K)
  7. Jefry Marte, 1B (0-for-1, walk)
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: Matt Boyd

ROYALS

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS
  2. Ben Zobrist, LF
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  7. Salvador Perez, C
  8. Alex Rios, RF
  9. Omar Infante, 2B

P: Johnny Cueto

Kyle Ryan called up, Ian Krol optioned

Ian Krol’s four-run, four-hit eighth inning Sunday led to a change in the Tigers bullpen. Kyle Ryan has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo, presumably to fill a relief sport, and Krol has been optioned back to the Mud Hens.

It’s the third time Krol has been optioned out this season after making the Opening Day roster. He seemingly had found his footing in July, but had struggled lately to finish off hitters, from a July 31 outing at Baltimore to yesterday. Tom Gorzelanny’s return Sunday wasn’t a good sign for Krol’s role.

Ryan made two starts since rejoining Toledo, most recently eight shutout innings on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts last Thursday. He, too, has been bouncing back and forth this season, now up for the third time.

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

The righty-heavy lineup (save for Anthony Gose) gets the call against big Red Sox lefty Henry Owens in his second Major League start.

On the Red Sox side, Pablo Sandoval gets the day off, denying him a final chance at Justin Verlander this season. He went 0-for-3 against Verlander in Boston last month in their first meeting since his memorable game in the 2012 World Series.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigers1927logoTIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, LF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

P: Justin Verlander

oldredsoxlogoRED SOX (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Brock Holt, 3B (1-for-4)
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (1-for-3, K)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (10-for-29, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 4 walks, 8 K’s)
  5. Travis Shaw, 1B
  6. Alejandro De Aza, LF (9-for-37, double, triple, 2 HR, 2 walks, 10 K’s)
  7. Blake Swihart, C
  8. Josh Rutledge, 2B (1-for-3, double)
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Henry Owens

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

Rajai Davis and Jefry Marte return to the lineup against Red Sox lefty Wade Miley, who’s allowing a .269 average and .785 OPS against right-handed batters (compared with .235 and .639 versus lefties). And yes, all of the players involved in last night’s dugout run-in are in the lineup.

Unless something drastically changes, Alfredo Simon is expected to make the start tonight, even if he’s at less than 100 percent strength with the groin injury. It’s worth following because Buck Farmer’s 2 2/3 innings of work Friday night leave the Tigers missing their designated long reliever. If Simon has a quick exit, the probable answer would be Blaine Hardy. New closer Alex Wilson’s availability as a long reliever is likely out for now.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Miley)

  1. Rajai Davis, LF (1-for-2, HR, K)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (0-for-3)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-2, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

P: Alfredo Simon

redsoxlogoRED SOX (career numbers against Simon)

  1. Brock Holt, 2B (1-for-4, double)
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  4. David Ortiz, DH (2-for-8, double, 4 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, LF (3-for-6)
  6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (1-for-6, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  7. Travis Shaw, 1B
  8. Blake Swihart, C (1-for-2, triple)
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Wade Miley

David Chadd, John Westhoff named assistant GMs under Avila

When Al Avila succeeded Dave Dombrowski as Tigers general manager, he said he believed that the assistants he wanted to stick around would stay. On Friday, he made his moves to do so, promoting David Chadd to assistant GM among a handful of front-office promotions.

John Westhoff, previously vice president and baseball legal counsel, added assistant GM to his titles along with general counsel. Scott Bream was promoted from director of pro scouting to vice president of player personnel. Sam Menzin is the new baseball operations director.

Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Jim Leyland and Trammell are all being retained as special assistants.

“It’s in the best interest of the baseball operations department that we maintain continuity,” Avila said in a statement. “This is a talented and committed group to our organization, and we believe these changes in responsibilities will further enhance our efforts moving forward.”

Chadd, hired by Dombrowski a decade ago as amateur scouting director, has taken on more responsibility over the years from drafting to scouting to player evaluation and development. He spent the past few years as vice president of amateur scouting as well as a special assistant.

Westhoff’s Tiger tenure dates back to Dombrowski’s arrival in 2002. He has served as the team’s legal authority and chief negotiator on contract negotiations and arbitration filings, as well as administrative matters. In so doing, he has worked closely with Avila.

Westhoff also worked closely with Mike Smith, who had served as Tigers director of baseball operations until he left last week to work in community development in Detroit. Menzin, who joined the Tigers four years ago on an internship and bolstered the organization’s statistical analysis, takes the baseball operations post.

Bream became a valued member of Dombrowski’s staff over nine seasons as a Major League scout, then returned as pro scouting director three years ago following two seasons in the San Diego Padres front office.

Scott Reid has been serving as vice president of player personnel, working alongside Bream. Reid’s situation wasn’t announced, but Avila said in an email that he’s still working on the rest of the front-office posts.

The moves quiet speculation on which assistants could follow Dombrowski to his next position, wherever that may be. Dombrowski, for his part, told MLB.com on Wednesday that he expected most if not all of his assistants and advisors to stay with Avila, and that he could hire from elsewhere to build a group of assistants if the opportunity arises.

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Red Sox

Not many matchup numbers on either side. The Tigers go with Tyler Collins in left field and Alex Avila at first base, keeping James McCann behind the plate for Norris again.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Joe Kelly)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-2, K)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Tyler Collins, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Alex Avila, 1B
  9. James McCann, C

P: Daniel Norris

bostonlogoRED SOX (career numbers against Norris)

  1. Brock Holt, 2B
  2. Rusney Castillo, RF
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  4. David Ortiz, DH (0-for-1, K)
  5. Hanley Ramirez, LF
  6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (late change; Napoli scratched)
  7. Travis Shaw, 1B
  8. Ryan Hanigan, C
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

P: Joe Kelly

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

Alex Avila gets his first start behind the plate since July 27 (two starts ago for Anibal Sanchez) as the Tigers put together a lefty-balanced lineup for Yordano Ventura. Andrew Romine shifts over to first base, while Tyler Collins gets the start in left.

Gameday | TV: MLB Network, FSD, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS (career numbers against Ventura)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-2, walk, K)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-6, double)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (2-for-5, walk, K)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (2-for-5, double, walk, K)
  6. Tyler Collins, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-7, K)
  8. Alex Avila, C (0-for-3, walk, 2 K’s)
  9. Andrew Romine, 1B (1-for-3, K)

P: Anibal Sanchez

royalsbigrlogoROYALS (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS (8-for-25, HR, 4 K’s)
  2. Ben Zobrist, LF (3-for-19, 3 walks, K)
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF (4-for-20)
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B (8-for-29, 3 doubles, 2 K’s)
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH (3-for-12, 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B (3-for-18, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  7. Alex Rios, RF (2-for-11, double, walk, 4 K’s)
  8. Omar Infante, 2B (6-for-30, walk, 3 K’s)
  9. Drew Butera, C (0-for-2)

P: Yordano Ventura

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Royals

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Johnny Cueto)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-3)
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-2)
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3, double, walk)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-6, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (0-for-4, walk)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-2)
  7. Tyler Collins, LF
  8. Jefry Marte, 1B
  9. James McCann, C (0-for-1, walk, K)

P: Matt Boyd

royalslogonotextROYALS

  1. Alcides Escobar, SS
  2. Ben Zobrist, LF
  3. Lorenzo Cain, CF
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Mike Moustakas, 3B
  7. Salvador Perez, C
  8. Alex Rios, RF
  9. Omar Infante, 2B

P: Johnny Cueto

Dombrowski: No contract disagreement, just an ownership decision

Just got off the phone with Dave Dombrowski, who’s apparently doing interviews individually after yesterday’s move by the Tigers to part ways with him. He shed some light on how things unfolded, what led up to the move and what’s next.

For starters, he said, there wasn’t a dispute over contract terms, nor was there ultimatum on his part to clear up his status. He said there weren’t any talk about a new contract or his status until he got a call from owner Mike Ilitch on Tuesday to let him go.

“It’s pretty simple,” Dombrowski said. “Mike Ilitch let me know yesterday they were going with a different leadership direction.”

The longer his situation went unresolved, he said, the more he suspected that would be the case. Still, he said, when he made last week’s trades of David Price, Joakim Soria and Yoenis Cespedes for prospects, he did so without any idea whether he would be around to see the results.

“I didn’t make [the deals] with any expectations other than I felt it was the best thing for the organization,” he said. “My feeling in my heart was that we were not going to win a championship.”

If he knew then that this was coming, he said, he would not change a thing.

“I will always hold my head high,” he said, “that every day I did what I felt was best for the organization.”

Thus ended what turned out to be his final chance to win a World Series title for Ilitch, which will end up his biggest regret of his tenure. At the same time, he said, he leaves with plenty of memories from an organizational turnaround that saw the Tigers rise from doormat to perennial contender.

“Fourteen years is a long time,” he said, “and when you look back, there’s a lot of great memories. We started out with tough times … but we were very successful. I enjoyed my time here.”

As for the fact that his longtime top assistant, Al Avila, replaced him, Dombrowski said he’s happy that he’s getting his shot.

“I’m very happy for Al,” Dombrowski said. “He’s been very loyal. If it’s not going to be me, I’m happy it’s him.”

Dombrowski downplayed speculation that he could take assistants with him to his next stop, noting that the group of assistants he has kept together over the years has worked well together and should continue to do so under Avila. He knows a lot of people in the game, and can build a new front-office group.

On that note, he said, he does not have anything lined up, but he wants to stay involved in the game, preferably at the club level. He’s willing to take time off if the right opportunity doesn’t come up, but sounded like he’d prefer to get back to work sooner rather than later.

“I’m sure I’ll be back somewhere,” he said. “I’m not sure when that’ll be.”

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