February 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Tom Gage

'Dirtball' Steve Lombardozzi should be solid addition for Tigers

Steve Lombardozzi will fill a utility role with the Tigers but doesn't have as much experience at shortstop as Ramon Santiago. (Greg Fiume / Getty Images)

Gage’s 140 (words, not characters):

He’s fallen through the cracks so far – as far as media attention is concerned.

But it sounds as if Steve Lombardozzi will be a definite addition to the Tigers – in terms of attitude and strong fundamental baseball.

He’s going to be a utilityman, Ramon Santiago’s replacement, but without Santiago’s credentials as a backup shortstop.

In the last two years with Washington, Lombardozzi started 81 games at 2B, but only one at SS.

There seems to be a common theme when describing him, though.

One commenting fan said, when the Nats traded him, that he would miss Lombardozzi not because of the positions he plays, but because he’s “a ballplayer.”

Another put it this way: “Not a gifted athlete, but a superior ballplayer.”

Hmm ...

Jim Leyland calls those guys “dirtballs.”

It’s always been, and still is meant to be, a compliment.

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