Team Report - DETROIT TIGERS

The SportsXchange

INSIDE PITCH

DETROIT -- Infielder Danny Worth walked into the Detroit clubhouse at mid-morning on Sunday and roughly 30 minutes later, veteran Alex Gonzalez was told he was walking out.

Shortstop figures to be a position in transition for the Tigers until some point between now and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, if not longer.

Purchasing Worth's contract and releasing Gonzalez was the latest move Detroit has made attempting to cope with the possible season-long loss of shortstop Jose Iglesias to stress fractures in both shins discovered in spring training.

General manager Dave Dombrowski is in a tough spot. He can't acquire a talented young shortstop like he did a year ago when Detroit was part of a three-corner deal that brought Iglesias to the Tigers. The hope is that Iglesias can return.

Detroit likely won't, at this point, overpay for a decent shortstop to finish out the season, and as time goes by, other GMs will try to extract an exorbitant price for a spare shortstop.

Andrew Romine becomes the primary shortstop for the time being because he has better range and hits left-handed.

"I feel good about Romine from a defensive perspective," Dombrowski said in announcing the move. "And for his hitting from the left side."

"I'm not going to back myself into a strict platoon," said manager Brad Ausmus, whose team beat the Angels 2-1 Sunday. Worth will see some action with Detroit having a run of games against left-handed pitching, although Romine started Sunday against a southpaw.

Trading utility man Steve Lombardozzi for Gonzalez in spring training raised some eyebrows because the veteran had barely played short for two years.

Worth brings his own questions. He had appeared in just two games at short for Triple-A Toledo.

"That was more about Hernan (Perez) playing short," Ausmus said. "I told Danny in spring training that he would probably come up to the big-league level sooner or later. It just happened to be sooner."

Detroit may at some point be forced to pick between its minor league shortstops, the light-hitting Perez or the club's Double-A shortstop, Eugenio Suarez, who has problems controlling the strike zone by swinging at pitches off the plate.

"Our two young guys are just not ready to move up," Dombrowski said. "If we were to bring them up now, we would want them to play pretty much every day. Romine is going to be our shortstop most of the time."

NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 9-6

STREAK: Won two

NEXT: White Sox (LHP John Danks, 1-0, 3.32 ERA) at Tigers (RHP Anibal Sanchez, 0-1, 3.21, ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--INF Danny Worth had his contract purchased by Detroit on Sunday from its Triple-A Toledo farm club. Worth had a good spring for the Tigers but was on a minor league contract and was squeezed off the roster when Detroit traded for veteran SS Alex Gonzalez, who was released. Worth had only played two games at short for the Mud Hens but was hitting .308 in 14 games. He will start mostly against left-handed pitching initially. "He runs well, plays a lot of position and gives us a lot of options," manager Brad Ausmus said. Worth did not play Sunday.

--RHP Rick Porcello allowed a first-inning run Sunday but was solid thereafter in turning in a seven-inning start for Detroit. Porcello gave up three straight two-out singles in the first but only two more the next six innings. It was a nice rebound after the Los Angeles Angels had tagged him for 16 runs over his two starts against him last year. "My focus was not on worrying about what happened in the past," Porcello said. He noted it's been on-the-job training since he was brought to the majors after one season in the minors. "Learning the game up here has helped," Porcello said. "I've acquired knowledge I wouldn't have acquired in the minors."

--1B Miguel Cabrera has been in a slump for most of this April, traditionally one of his better months over the years. Cabrera dropped to .220 after Sunday's game, in which he took two 3-2 fastballs for strikeouts, grounded into a double play and walked. "I'm not worried about Miguel Cabrera," manager Brad Ausmus said.

--2B Ian Kinsler is doing well as a catalyst in the Detroit offense. Kinsler showed again Sunday how he can generate runs when he took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to 3B Miguel Cabrera and wound up scoring when the Los Angeles Angels made three errors on the same play. "Just putting the thought (of stealing bases) in other people's heads," Kinsler said, "that can change the course of a game."

--SS Andrew Romine, just handed the job of being Detroit's regular shortstop Sunday, had two stolen bases for the first time in one game in his career. Romine walked and singled twice. A switch-hitter who bats better from the left side, Romine will play short most of the time, getting spelled by INF Danny Worth against some lefties. His alternate at the position, veteran Alex Gonzalez, was released Sunday by Detroit.

--SS Alex Gonzalez was given his outright release Sunday by Detroit to clear a roster spot for INF Danny Worth, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo. "Alex Gonzalez was one of the elite shortstops in baseball in his prime," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Time takes its toll on everybody." Gonzalez hit a triple and a walk-off single for Detroit on Opening Day but in nine games was hitting just .167. "We need a little more range at that position," GM Dave Dombrowski said, "and we just didn't see it there. We thought it was worth the gamble (when we made the deal). We just didn't see it getting better."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Three errors on one play, a run and we didn't have any hits. I've never seen that." -- C Alex Avila, after Detroit scored on a fiasco of a three-errors-on-one-play situation in the sixth inning of Sunday's 2-1 win over the Angels.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RHP Bruce Rondon (Tommy John surgery on right elbow) underwent surgery March 29. He is out for the season.

--LF Andy Dirks (lower back surgery in March 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list March 29. He is expected to be out until late June or early July. Dirks said he has had problems with his lower back since high school, but it locked up on him early in spring training.

--SS Jose Iglesias (stress fractures in both shins) went on the 60-day disabled list March 29. He is expected to be out most if not all of the season.

ROTATION:

RHP Justin Verlander

RHP Max Scherzer

RHP Anibal Sanchez

RHP Rick Porcello

LHP Drew Smyly

BULLPEN:

RHP Joe Nathan (closer)

RHP Al Alburquerque

RHP Joba Chamberlain

LHP Ian Krol

LHP Phil Coke

RHP Luke Putkonen

RHP Evan Reed

RHP Justin Miller

CATCHERS:

Alex Avila

Bryan Holaday

INFIELDERS:

1B Miguel Cabrera

2B Ian Kinsler

SS Andrew Romine

3B Nick Castellanos

SS Danny Worth

UT Don Kelly

UT Andrew Romine

UT Victor Martinez

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Rajai Davis

CF Austin Jackson

RF Torii Hunter

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