Results tagged ‘ Brayan Villarreal ’

Tigers agree to terms with six players

With the Tigers pretty well done in free agency and clear of arbitration, they began the process of signing their younger players by reaching agreement with six members of their 40-man roster on Tuesday.

Lefty starting candidates Duane Below and Casey Crosby reached agreement on one-year contracts, as did prospects Avisail Garcia, Jose Ortega, Tyler Stohr and Brayan Villarreal. The deals raise the total of signed Tigers to 24 players on the 40-man roster.

The deals are essentially a foregone conclusion. Players on the 40-man roster without enough time in the Majors to qualify for arbitration can either negotiate a contract with the team or have the club renew their contract at the last possible date – this year, it’s March 11. Most players will reach an agreement before then.

None of the players who agreed to terms Tuesday have a full season in the big leagues yet. In fact, Below is the only one with more than a month in the Majors. He turned a couple of midsummer spot starts into a bullpen role down the stretch in a pennant race, and could be poised to win a rotation spot out of camp this year.

The 26-year-old Michigan native went 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 14 games, allowing 28 hits over 29 innings with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts.

Crosby came out of the same 2007 draft that brought Rick Porcello to the Tigers. The left-hander passed up on a football scholarship to Illinois to sign with Detroit for a bonus just under $750,000 before injuries slowed his development. A healthy 2011 season put him back on the prospect watch with a 9-7 record and 4.10 ERA at Double-A Erie. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski mentioned him last week as part of the rotation competition for the lone open spot.

Villarreal was the surprise of last year’s camp, making the Tigers’ Opening Day roster as a reliever. The 24-year-old right-hander gave up 12 earned runs on 21 hits over 16 innings before spending the rest of the season at Triple-A Toledo.

Your guide to Tigers reliever nicknames

And you thought the Tigers bullpen lost its character when Phil Coke became a starter.

Daniel Schlereth is out there, and as it turns out, he’s a character. So is Brad Thomas, and so, apparently, is Brayan Villarreal.

Schlereth announced today that he wants to be known by his nickname, the Alaskan Assassin. He was born in Anchorage, so that makes sense. He also has been nicknamed the Baby Black Bear.

I told him that could be quite a tandem, the Alaskan Assassin and Agent P, otherwise known as Ryan Perry, or the Platypus. But Perry has earned a new nickname in the Tigers bullpen. After his DL stint with an eye infection, he’s now known as Cyclops.

On down the line it went. Brayan Villarreal? He’s known as Zorro, Schlereth said, because of the hair.

Al Alburquerque? Schlereth didn’t have one for him, but Villarreal said he’s known as Avatar, after the characters from the movie.

Jose Valverde? They don’t really need a nickname, or at least they don’t dare put one of him. But when Big Potato was mentioned, Valverde nodded in approval.

Brad Thomas? Nothing. They just make fun of the Aussie accent.

Joaquin Benoit? Nothing yet.

Offbeat? You bet. But look at it this way: It sure beats those mohawk haircuts Tigers relievers had last year around this time.

Saturday: Tigers vs. Royals

It’s the second home game of the season, the day when the Tigers start to really settle into a routine at Comerica Park. For Casper Wells, however, it’s Opening Day. The last Tigers position player to get a start is in the lineup today, getting the start against lefty Bruce Chen.

Look for some more creativity if the Tigers take a lead into the seventh inning. Leyland is looking for six innings or so out of Phil Coke, and both Brayan Villarreal and Daniel Schlereth are off today since they pitched teh last couple days. Could be a spot for Robbie Weinhardt to get his first appearance, or it could be a day for Leyland to mix and match Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez again. We’ll see.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Brandon Inge, 3B
  9. Casper Wells, RF

P: Phil Coke

ROYALS

  1. Chris Getz, 2B
  2. Melky Cabrera, CF
  3. Alex Gordon, LF
  4. Billy Butler, DH
  5. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
  6. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  7. Wilson Betemit, 3B
  8. Brayan Pena, C
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS

P: Bruce Chen

Sizemore, Weinhardt among Tigers cuts

The latest round of Tigers cuts came this morning, and it included two pretty big surprises. Scott Sizemore and Robbie Weinhardt are headed to Triple-A Toledo, along with Clete Thomas. Fu-Te Ni and Max St. Pierre were assigned to minor league camp. The moves whittle Detroit’s roster to 28 players, with three more moves needing to be made by the time the Tigers break camp next Tuesday.

Until this past weekend, Sizemore seemed to be in a very good position to open the season at second base, though his batting average had dropped in recent days in .237 (9-for-37). Not only had he not started in the past three days, he had only one plate appearance in that stretch.
His return to Toledo for a third year as a Mud Hen came as Will Rhymes won the leaves Danny Worth and Will Rhymes as the two main contestants left in the battle for second base. Danny Worth remains in contention for an infield spot if the Tigers decide to keep another utilityman alongside Don Kelly and Ramon Santiago, rather than another extra outfielder.
Weinhardt, meanwhile, seemingly stood on solid ground to take one of the two or three openings in the bullpen as a right-handed ground ball specialist, having pitched in nine games this spring. But he also had three outings in which he gave up a run on two hits in an inning. His return to Toledo, and Brayan Villarreal’s standing in camp, makes Villarreal’s bid for a long relief look even better.
Villarreal and Enrique Gonzalez are the two right-handed pitchers left in camp without a roster spot assured. Lefty relief, meanwhile, appears to be down to Daniel Schlereth and Adam Wilk, with Brad Thomas looking all but set to break camp with the big club along with Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit and Ryan Perry. The Tigers could take both Schlereth and Wilk along with Villarreal and give themselves three lefties and another long man in their bullpen.
Ni made a good early impression in camp, looking physically stronger with better command. He allowed a run on four hits in 10 innings, but he also walked five, including two in one inning last Friday against the Red Sox.
Thomas’ camp was a victory of health, having shown no problems in his return from microfracture knee sugery. But he faced an uphill battle to try to win one of the two outfield spots left to be decided. Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks and Casper Wells remain in contention for those jobs, with Wells’ position looking more secure as a right-handed hitter.
Both Boesch and Dirks bat left-handed, which put the left-handed hitting Thomas in a logjam of sorts. Thomas went 12-for-42 (.286) at the plate, but just two of his hits went for extra bases. 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 24,685 other followers