As expected going into the final week of Spring Training, the Detroit Tigers made their last trims from the roster, forming the final 25-man squad that will take the field at Comerica Park next Monday.
Here are the men Jim Leyland is bringing with him to Detroit:
C: Ivan Rodriguez
1B: Sean Casey
2B: Placido Polanco
3B: Brandon Inge
SS: Carlos Guillen
LF: Craig Monroe
CF: Curtis Granderson
RF: Magglio Ordonez
DH: Gary Sheffield
Bench: Marcus Thames, Neifi Perez, Omar Infante, Vance Wilson
(Excuse the lineup cards. I was tweaking my fantasy rosters just before writing this post. It's how I see everything baseball-related at the moment.)
Among the notable names who got a red card in their locker this morning (I don't know if that's how teams do it anymore, but I always liked that scene in Major League when Charlie Sheen thinks he's gotten cut) are Chris Shelton, Ramon Santiago, Zach Miner, and Bobby Seay.
I'll stick with the general consensus; there aren't really any surprises here. I'm a little bit surprised that Seay didn't make the final roster because of which hand he throws the ball with, but Durbin apparently impressed the coaches in Lakeland.
There are some disappointments, however. And I'm not just talking about Neifi making the team, either. We knew Leyland wanted a left-handed bat off the bench. I just feel bad for Shelton. Ultimately, it's better for him to play every day in Toledo. (And unless Marcus Thames really picks up this first base thing well, Shelton will likely make the drive up to Detroit at some point this season.) I realize that. Plus, like Jason Beck said today, if you were a player with an option, the Tigers were going to take it.
To me, this is one of the most fascinating stories we've ever seen in Detroit sports. Shelton's fall from glory - from quite possibly the biggest story in baseball back down to the minors, to now losing out on a numbers game - is almost mythological, like Icarus flying too close to the sun (except for that whole hubris thing). If a book is ever written on this team, he most certainly deserves his own chapter.