Omar Infante rejoins Tigers on minor-league deal

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Omar Infante

Detroit – Welcome back, Omar Infante.

The 15-year veteran infielder was among 14 minor league free agents signed by the Tigers and announced Friday. It will be his third stint with the club. He started his career in Detroit from 2002-2007 and returned for the 2012 and 2013 seasons before signing with the Royals.

Infante, who will turn 35 on Dec. 26, only played in 39 games last season. He has been invited to training camp but presumably, he was signed to fill some gaping roster holes at Triple-A Toledo.

He may have also been signed as insurance in case the Tigers traded second baseman Ian Kinsler.

Infante, who has a .271 career average in 1,507 games, endured a hard-luck couple of seasons in Kansas City. He was the starting second baseman on the team that lost the World Series in seven games to the Giants in 2014, then was released by the Royals before they made their championship run in 2015.

Besides Infante, the Tigers invited five other free agent signees to spring training:

Right-handed pitcher Ruben Alaniz: The 25-year-old posted a 4-4 record with four saves, a 2.69 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 73.2 innings splitting time between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Right-handed pitcher William Cuevas: He made his big-league debut with the Red Sox last season (0-1, 3.60 ERA in three games). The 26-year-old started 18 games at Triple-A Pawtucket (6-8, 4.19).

Right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing: He made the Tigers’ 25-man roster out of spring training last year but spent the majority of the year at Toledo where he went 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA in 52 games. He allowed one run in 4.2 innings with the Tigers.

Right-handed pitcher Dustin Molleken: At age 32, after 12 minor league seasons, he made his big-league debut with the Tigers last season (allowing four runs in 8.1 innings). He was 2-4 with a 3.58 ERA at Toledo.

Catcher Miguel Gonzalez: He was in big league camp with the Tigers last year, as well. He hit .243 at Toledo last season.

The Tigers have also reached an agreement with right-handed pitcher A.J. Achter, but the contract is pending a physical. Achter, the Michigan State product, posted a 3.11 ERA in 27 games with the Angels last season.

Also signed to minor league contracts were right-handed pitchers Johan Belisario, Endrys Briceño, Jeff Ferrell, Santiago Garrido, Arcenio Leon, and Cory Riordan, plus infielders Argenis Diaz and Gustavo Nuñez.

All of those players played in the Tigers’ organization last season except for Leon, who pitched in the Mexican League in 2016. He posted 36 saves for Acereros del Norte.