The Detroit Tigers made another big batch of cuts from their spring training roster this morning, sending eight players to the minor leagues. The two most notable demotions were catcher Bryan Holaday and outfielder Tyler Collins, both whom were involved in positional battles to make the Opening Day roster. Both Holaday and Collins were optioned to Triple-A Toledo.
The decision to send Holaday and Collins to the minor leagues solves half of the Tigers' roster equation, as the 13 position players on their Opening Day roster appear to be set. As expected, catcher James McCann has made the team and will serve as Alex Avila's backup, although manager Brad Ausmus wouldn't classify McCann as a backup, saying that he would play against both left- and right-handed pitchers.
Infielders Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez are the other two reserves. Both Romine and Perez have played all over the diamond this spring in order to improve their versatility, something that the Tigers were looking for in the wake of Don Kelly's departure.
Outfielder Xavier Avery and Jason Krizan, infielders Aaron Westlake, Jordan Lennerton, and Jefry Marte, and catcher Manny Pina were the other players sent to the minor leagues this morning. Lennerton and Westlake saw plenty of game action while Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez rehabilitated their respective injuries, but were never in the running for a major league job. Marte, Avery, and Krizan all served as solid depth for the roster this spring, and will continue to do so this season in the minor leagues.
While the position players appear to be set for Opening Day, the bullpen still remains somewhat in flux. There are as many as three open spots in the 'pen, with lefties Tom Gorzelanny, Kyle Ryan, Ian Krol, and Blaine Hardy competing for at least two of those spots. Righthander Bruce Rondon, once expected to be a lock for the Opening Day roster, may begin the year in Triple-A Toledo. Righthander Angel Nesbitt is also still in camp and is a dark horse to make the team.
Infielder Josh Wilson is the only non-roster invitee remaining in camp, but he has been filling the shoes of Cabrera or Martinez when needed as of late. He is not expected to make the team. Despite how well Collins hit this spring, his opportunities during the season as a pinch hitter/late game replacement would have been severely limited. Combined with injury concerns in the past and limited defense, Collins was a long shot to make the team as spring began to wind down.
The Tigers' spring training roster is now down to 29 players. They have until Sunday to cut four more players for a 25-man Opening Day roster.