Newest Tiger Krauss gets into swing of things

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Seattle — It was probably a relief for Marc Krauss to finally grab a bat and take some swings here Tuesday afternoon.

It had been a stressful few days for the Tigers new first baseman.

"I got some sleep on the plane, so I'm all good," he said, with a chuckle. "They have a Starbucks around here someplace, don't they?"

To review: Krauss was traded by the Angels June 25. He was picked up by the Rays and, five days later, on July 4, DFA'd again. The Tigers claimed him on Monday.

So, in the span of 72 hours he went from Tampa to his home in Deshler, Ohio, where his wife is about to give birth to their second daughter. Then he drove Detroit's Metro Airport Tuesday, took the four-plus hour flight to Seattle, arrived at Safeco Field around 2:30 p.m., took some swings and was in the starting lineup for the Tigers Tuesday night and slammed a home run in the second inning.

"I am just thrilled to put on the 'D' and play for a team so close to home, especially with my family situation and having our daughter on the way soon," said Krauss, whose family home is about 45 minutes south of Toledo.

The Tigers are hoping Krauss, a career .192 hitter in spot playing time in 134 major league games, can help take up some of the slack for the injured Miguel Cabrera. The tentative plan is for the left-handed hitting Krauss to play first against right-handed pitchers and Jefry Marte to play against right-handers.

The Tigers claimed him partly on the recommendation of coach Dave Clark, who was with Krauss in Houston in 2013. Clark, who recommended J.D. Martinez to the Tigers after he was DFA'd by the Astros, believes Krauss can hit and hit with power at the big league level.

"He's one of those kids you always want to see what he could do with consistent at-bats," Clark said on Monday.

Krauss, 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, has hit for power with consistent playing time in the minor leagues (25 homers in High A, 20 between Double A and Triple A). He has 11 home runs at the big league level.

"I've had stretches where I've had success up here, but I've never been able to maintain it through the course of a couple of months," he said. "I hope to change that. I hope I can find something that clicks. You hear players say that all the time, something clicked.

"You learn something from somebody or you hear something and it changes the way you think things and you take off. That's what I am hoping for. Maybe some consistent playing time would help."

He knows, though, that consistent playing time, consistent at-bats, are earned, not given. But he is encouraged by how Martinez was able to find his game in Detroit.

"There are a lot of good hitters in this clubhouse," Krauss said. "I'm just going to rub elbows and mix in and see what I can learn. I hope I can learn a lot and maybe turn my year around like J.D. did."

Veteran utility infielder Josh Wilson was designated for assignment to make room for Krauss. Wilson hit .381 in 11 games with the Tigers.

Twitter @cmccosky