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Tigers designate Christin Stewart for assignment, finalize Opening Day roster

Stewart was designated to make room for Derek Holland on the 40-man roster.

Cleveland Indians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers designated outfielder Christin Stewart for assignment on Thursday, making room for lefthander Derek Holland, who was added to the 40-man roster prior to Detroit’s Opening Day matchup with the Cleveland Indians.

The Tigers selected Stewart with the 34th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, and he rose quickly through the minors, hitting for power at all levels. He made his MLB debut in September 2018, and showed flashes of his potential at the plate with a patient eye and some pop to the deepest reaches of Comerica Park. That optimism continued when Stewart hit a game-winning home run on Opening Day 2019.

Unfortunately, things have unraveled since then. Stewart has hit just .225/.300/.376 with 15 home runs in just under 600 plate appearances with the Tigers. His 2020 season was worst of all, with a .524 OPS in 99 plate appearances. Stewart’s defense hasn’t helped either, and though he graded out slightly better in the outfield last year, he has still been worth -1.7 fWAR in his Tigers tenure.

If Stewart clears waivers — a decent chance, given the hoops other teams are jumping through with their own rosters right now — he will be outrighted to the minor leagues. The Tigers’ outfield situation is a bit crowded in Toledo, but they should be able to make it work to get him regular at-bats.

Holland, a former stalwart in the Texas Rangers rotation, threw 9 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts and just one walk this spring to earn his spot on the Opening Day roster. He has struggled in recent years with a 5.20 ERA and 5.33 FIP in four years since leaving Texas, but is showing promise in his new role with the Tigers.

Righthander Rony Garcia was also placed on the 10-day injured list with an abdominal strain.

Here’s the Tigers’ Opening Day roster:

Starting Rotation: LHP Matthew Boyd, RHP Julio Teheran, RHP Jose Ureña, LHP Tarik Skubal, RHP Casey Mize, RHP Spencer Turnbull (IL)

Bullpen: LHP Daniel Norris, RHP Buck Farmer, LHP Derek Holland, RHP Jose Cisnero, RHP Michael Fulmer, LHP Tyler Alexander, LHP Gregory Soto, RHP Bryan Garcia

Outfield: LF Robbie Grossman, CF JaCoby Jones, RF Nomar Mazara, CF Victor Reyes, CF Akil Baddoo

Infield: 1B/DH Miguel Cabrera, 2B Jonathan Schoop, 3B Jeimer Candelario, SS Willi Castro, UT Niko Goodrum, UT Harold Castro

Catcher: Wilson Ramos, Grayson Greiner