Results tagged ‘ Clete Thomas ’

Clete Thomas designated for assignment

All along, the roster question surrounding Drew Smyly’s eventual call-up for his big-league debut seemed to be whether Clete Thomas or Andy Dirks would go to make room. It was Thomas, whom the Tigers announced will have his contract designated for assignment on Thursday morning.

Thomas has been a part of the organization ever since the Tigers drafted him in 2005. He played in 102 games for Detroit in 2009, which is more than Marcus Thames or Ramon Santiago played that year. But once he lost his 2010 season to microfracture knee surgery, and Brennan Boesch and Andy Dirks emerged over the last two years, Thomas was in a tough spot.

It’s possible a team will claim him on waivers and add him to their 40-man roster to provide a left-handed bat in the outfield. If this move had happened near the end of Spring Training, it would have seemed very possible. It seems like a tougher fit now that teams have set their rosters.

If he goes unclaimed, he’ll be outrighted to Toledo, and the Tigers will still have his bat available if they want or need to make changes or injury fill-ins later on.

Clete Thomas has MRI on left knee

While Brennan Boesch tears it up in Detroit and Casper Wells gets a taste of the big leagues, Clete Thomas is battling a knee injury at Triple-A Toledo. He flew to Colorado on Tuesday for an MRI exam on his left knee and a visit with a doctor, according to the Toledo Blade. Thomas has been out for about a week.

Thomas missed much of the final couple weeks of Spring Training with a shoulder injury that hampered his chances of making the club. He hit .389 (14-for-36) this spring with a home run, three RBIs and 10 runs scored.

The Mud Hens haven’t filled Thomas’ roster spot just yet, presumably because Ryan Strieby is very close to a return from his wrist injury.

Tigers option Thomas, set 25-man roster

The Tigers set their 25-man roster Wednesday by optioning outfielder Clete Thomas to Triple-A Toledo, thus making utilityman Don Kelly their final position player.

The move came after an MRI exam on Thomas’ injured right shoulder showed no serious damage. He’s expected to be ready in time for the start of the Mud Hens season opener. He hasn’t played since taking a pitch off his shoulder last week, causing a deep bone bruise on his shoulder blade.

Essentially, the choice had come down to Kelly or Thomas for at least the final week of camp. In the end, Kelly’s ability to play infield and outfield offered more to the Tigers, who have third baseman Brandon Inge and second baseman Scott Sizemore back from offseason surgeries.

With Kelly and Ryan Raburn, the Tigers have two superutility players who can play most positions on the field except for shortstop, catcher and pitcher. Kelly bats left-handed, while Raburn is a right-handed hitter. Both played all over the field in Spring Training.

“His versatility was a factor,” manager Jim Leyland said of Kelly.

Thomas can play all three outfield spots well, but does not play the infield.

Thomas has MRI on shoulder

The final spot on the Tigers roster is still undetermined, and possibly, so is the nature of Clete Thomas’ shoulder injury. It’s still classified as a deep bone bruise on the right shoulder blade, but he underwent an MRI exam this morning just to make sure.

Basically, he said, nothing has changed. He can hit fine, and has been taking batting practice the last few days, but he can’t throw. He said he’s probably going to try throwing during batting practice this morning, but so far I only see him doing underhand tosses when he gets to balls in the outfield.

The fact that the Tigers are holding off on finalizing their roster sure seems to suggest they want to wait and see if Thomas is ready for the start of the season, wherever that may be.

For what it’s worth, he’s taking the news pretty calm.

“It’s either going to be good or it’s going to be bad,” Thomas said. “Nothing I can do really.”

Roster decisions imminent

By this time Wednesday, the Tigers’ 25-man roster should be known. Manager Jim Leyland said Monday afternoon that roster moves Tuesday to whittle the roster down to about 26, including a decision on the final position player and the backup catcher.

“By this time tomorrow, we’ll be down to probably one guy [over the limit],” Leyland said. “I think the picture will be almost totally clear for everybody by tomorrow.”

The one decision that will be left will be in the rotation. That, Leyland said, should be decided Wednesday, or Thursday at the latest. Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman both start Tuesday — Willis against the Orioles in Sarasota, Bonderman in a minor league game. Nate Robertson is scheduled to start Thursday against the Braves. You can read into that, I suppose, what that means for Robertson’s chances.

Leyland said Sunday he has in his mind what his roster would be, but that it wouldn’t necessarily be the final roster. Dave Dombrowski has the final say on that. So what follows now is a discussion with Dombrowski, Leyland, the coaching staff and other members of the front office on the baseball side.

The final roster spot is essentially down to Don Kelly or Clete Thomas. The backup catching decision essentially comes down to whether the Tigers want Alex Avila catching a couple times a week in Detroit or every day in Toledo for development’s sake, which would most likely put Robinzon Diaz on the team. The fact that roster decisions are coming Tuesday seemingly indicates the Tigers don’t expect to grab another backup catcher on the waiver wire or in a trade.

About that last roster spot …

The Tigers roster isn’t set yet, but manager Jim Leyland has a very good idea how it would play out if it was solely his choice.

“If I was to write down the team today, I could write it down,” Leyland said Sunday. “That doesn’t mean it would be the team. I don’t have the final say.”

He isn’t telling what it is, but he’s giving an idea that versatility is
important. Jeff Larish, he said, would have a better chance if he could play center field.

What went unsaid, of course, is that Don Kelly and Clete Thomas can. They’ve been the other candidates under consideration for the final bench spot. Thomas can play all three outfield positions, while Kelly plays all three outfield spots, third, second and first base. How Leyland feels about Brandon Inge and Scott Sizemore, and how often he’ll want to rest them early in the season, could have an impact. But then, something similar could be said of Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez for different reasons.

X-rays negative on Clete Thomas

Tests on Clete Thomas’ injured right shoulder blade came back negative, according to manager Jim Leyland, confirming the diagnosis of a bruise. He’s considered day-to-day. He was originally on the travel roster for today’s game against the Braves at Disney World, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen. 

Friday: Tigers at Braves

No Clete Thomas today, as expected. He was in street clothes when I saw him in the clubhouse this morning. Don Kelly is on the trip, though. In fact, he’s batting leadoff today with Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore off.


  1. Don Kelly, 2B
  2. Johnny Damon, CF
  3. Carlos Guillen, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Brandon Inge, 3B
  6. Gerald Laird, C
  7. Ryan Raburn, RF
  8. Ramon Santiago, SS
  9. Justin Verlander, P (guessing he’s under orders to not swing)


  1. Melky Cabrera, LF
  2. Martin Prado, 2B
  3. Chipper Jones, 3B
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Troy Glaus, 3B
  6. Jason Heyward, RF (reportedly he has made the team)
  7. Nate McLouth, CF
  8. Omar Infante, SS
  9. Derek Lowe, P

Monday: Tigers vs. Twins

Magglio Ordonez was in the lineup for the rainout last night, but he isn’t in there today. With the doubleheader, Leyland was not going to start Magglio both games, instead giving Clete Thomas a shot in the opener after his nice game over the weekend.

More interesting might be the fact that Gerald Laird will probably catch both games. He’s in the lineup for the opener to work with Rick Porcello, which has been a good combination, and Laird has been working with Justin Verlander for all but one start this year.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thomas, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Huff, DH
  6. Guillen, LF
  7. Laird, C
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Rick Porcello


  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Jason Kubel, RF
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Jose Morales, DH
  8. Matt Tolbert, 3B
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Nick Blackburn

Wednesday: Thomas starts over Magglio

If Jim Leyland was going to give Magglio Ordonez a day off against a right-hander down the stretch, he figured Wednesday was a good day to it. Justin Masterson has a sinker that presents a tough matchup, and his lefty-righty splits are especially vast, giving Leyland a reason to give Clete Thomas a start. He thought about giving Alex Avila a start to get another lefty bat in there, but wanted Gerald Laird catching Porcello again, as he has throughout this recent roll.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thomas, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Huff, DH
  6. Guillen, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Rick Porcello