Detroit — What’s the old Who lyric? Don’t get fooled again.
A spate of early injuries quickly depleted the Tigers veteran pitching depth last season and general manager Al Avila is doing his darnedest not to let that happen again.
To the end, he signed 32-year-old former White Sox lefty Hector Santiago to a minor-league contract Wednesday, with an invitation to spring training next month.
Santiago, entering his 10th season, started 2019 with the Mets and finished with the White Sox — his third stint on the south side of Chicago. He made only 19 appearances all-told, three against the Tigers, all but two in relief. He ended up posting a 6.68 ERA and 1.9 WHIP.
It’s likely he will compete for a spot as a long-innings reliever who can make an occasional spot start.
The Tigers presumably rounded out their starting rotation last week signing veteran Ivan Nova. He joins Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris in what likely will be the working rotation at the start of camp.
But the bullpen is thin on left-handers. Besides Santiago, rookie Tyler Alexander (who will fight for a rotation spot), Gregory Soto and Nick Ramirez (non-roster invitee) are the only non-prospect lefties on the camp roster at this point.
Santiago, an All-Star in 2015 with the Angels, is 47-50 with a 4.14 ERA in his nine seasons. Pitching with the Twins and White Sox, he’s faced the Tigers 28 times and is 5-7 and a 3.44 ERA, holding Tigers hitters to a .231 batting average.