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Baker deal likely completes Tigers' roster shuffling

The SportsXchange

"Dealin'" Dave Dombrowski looks to be done with the midseason remake of the Detroit Tigers.

Sunday's acquisition of Jeff Baker from the Chicago Cubs, for two players to be named by the end of October, seems likely to complete the roster adjustment a contender would hope to make as it readies for the final two months of the regular season.

An injury appears to be the only thing that might make Detroit scramble for more help as it tries to catch up with the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

"If you look at our everyday lineup," Dombrowski said after the acquisition of Baker, "it's pretty well set. Our starters are set, our bullpen's set. "We do have some guys coming off the (disabled list) that may force us to make some moves, but we'll tackle those.

"Our bench is set with Baker and Ramon (Santiago) and Gerald Laird and the guys we have in the outfield, so we're pretty well set."

The return of Andy Dirks from the disabled list gives Detroit a full complement of outfielders, most of them productive, and gives manager Jim Leyland alternatives as he looks to match his daily lineup against the opposing starter.

Dirks, Brennan Boesch and Quintin Berry are left-handed hitters, and two of them will be in the lineup on any given day.

With Boesch looking effective as the No. 5 hitter, that means Berry and Dirks will be matched against particular starters.

The right-handed-hitting outfielders are Austin Jackson, the everyday center fielder, and designated hitter Delmon Young, who could find himself sitting against some right-handed starters.

The only thing the bench lacks is a third catcher. Leyland had to be holding his breath Sunday when he and Gerald Laird were ejected in the second inning. That meant if Alex Avila got injured, it would have been time for acting manager Lloyd McClendon to get a coin out or call for volunteers.

The roster subtractions of Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn during the weekend deleted the emergency catchers Detroit has had the last couple of seasons.

Avila went the distance behind the plate Monday, and he finished 2-for-4 in the Tigers' 7-2 win over the New York Yankees.
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