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Viera, Fla. – The only thing Tigers No. 3 catcher Bryan Holaday could do for himself this spring was produce.

If he did, two things could happen – he’d pique the interest of other clubs who may have catcher deficiencies, and he’d make the Tigers’ decision to cut or move him, already tough, darn-near impossible.

How about this for production: Holaday hit a pair of two-run home runs in the Tigers’ 8-4 spring loss to the Nationals Saturday. Both were to left field. The first was off Stephen Strasburg, who had struck out five of the first seven batters he faced.

So far this spring Holaday is 6-for-8 with three homers, two doubles -- an ungodly 2.125 slugging percentage -- eight RBI and 17 total bases.

“The guy has been working hard,” Victor Martinez said. “He is one of the few guys I see when I come early in the morning (5:30 a.m.). He works his butt off. I always say, when you work there is always room to keep developing.

“He’s come a long way.”

BOX SCORE: Nationals 8, Tigers 4

Holaday is out of minor league options, so his future in the Tigers’ organization is cloudy.

The Tigers signed veteran left-handed hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to back up starter James McCann and provide some balance to a heavily right-handed hitting roster.

Holaday would have to clear waivers and accept a move to Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers may look to trade him, but there needs to be a team that’d be committed to keeping him on the big league roster.

“Doc is one of the most-liked guys in a Tigers’ uniform right now,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “(That he’s out of options) makes an enormous difference. We will see how it plays out. It’s not because Doc is right-handed, it’s because we are right-handed.

“And he’s not a victim at this point. He’s doing everything in his power.”

Holaday, though, doesn’t think he’s showing the Tigers anything new.

“This staff knows what I can do, I don’t think I am showing them anything,” he said. “I go out and do my job. It’s going well right now but they know, no matter what happens, I am going to go out and do the same thing.”

He didn’t come to camp with any more sense of urgency than he has since the Tigers drafted him out of TCU.

“I play with the same motivation I’ve always played with,” he said. “This is my job. I go out and do my job. … I can’t control what happens”

Hitting a home run off Strasburg wasn’t new for him, either. The two battled in college, when Strasburg was throwing for San Diego State.

“It helps when I’ve been facing Strasburg since college,” said Holaday. “I’ve seen him quite a bit. I got one off him in college, too.”

Bottom line, a lot can happen in a month. This situation is a long ways from being resolved.

“Honestly, I can’t answer that,” Ausmus said when asked what had to happen for Holaday to win a spot. “But you never have to worry about how much Doc cares. He always has his heart in the right place and his head in the right place.”

Twitter @cmccosky

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