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Tigers acquire SS Gonzalez for Lombardozzi

The SportsXchange

One week before the start of the regular season, the Detroit Tigers are still shopping for their shortstop, acquiring veteran Alex Gonzalez from the Baltimore Orioles for utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi.

It was the second deal in less than a week geared at filling a vacancy created last week when shortstop Jose Iglesias learned he would miss at least four months with stress fractures to both shins.

Gonzalez, 37, has played only 27 games at shortstop the past two seasons and hit .177 in 41 games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013, primarily as a first baseman.

"I just know they lost Iglesias and are looking for somebody else," Gonzalez said Monday morning.

Three days earlier, the Tigers shipped spot starting lefty Jose Alvarez to the Los Angeles Angels for Romine with the expectation the infielder will be part of a shortstop platoon.

"We talked about having a shortstop that can catch the ball and run a little bit," general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "He fits the description.

"We look for him to be on our big-league club and part of the (shortstop) mix. How else we'll go, I'm not sure at this point."

Romine was acquired in part because he is a switch-hitter, which means he would be a left-handed batting alternative to either Danny Worth or Hernan Perez, but that was before Gonzalez was added.

"You're always open to anything," Dombrowski said. "We'll continue to see what other options are out there. If we can get better, we will."

Iglesias will miss 4-6 months, during which he'll be limited to swimming and light bicycle riding for conditioning. He will be re-examined in four months to determine whether he can resume baseball work, after which it would be about another month (deep into August) before he can return to the Tigers.

"That late into the year, my thought process is that it would be more unlikely than likely (that Iglesias will play again this season)," Dombrowski said. "My understanding, though, is that he will be fine for next season."

Howls immediately went out that Detroit should sign free agent Stephen Drew or trade for a high-profile shortstop.

But the Tigers are not inclined to send a first-round draft choice to league rival Boston, the cost for signing Drew, for a relatively short-term replacement. No. 1 draft choices are prized too highly, and missing three No. 1s in a row (prior to last June) has left the farm system thin of prospects other teams might accept for a one-season replacement.

Lombardozzi, 25, played the past three seasons with the Washington Nationals and could fill in at third base with Manny Machado on the disabled list to start the season.
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