Tigers reinstate Niko Goodrum, but they are keeping Willi Castro at shortstop for now
Detroit — It was expected that Niko Goodrum would return off the injured list Tuesday. But starting at second base?
Didn’t see that coming.
“I told him he was playing second base and he said, whatever, he just wants to play,” manager Ron Gardenhire said before the game.
The move is in response to the other part of the middle-infield transaction equation — second baseman Jonathan Schoop was put on the injured list, retroactive to Sept. 13, with a right wrist sprain. The Tigers could have moved Willi Castro over to second base and reinserted Goodrum back at shortstop, where he started 29 games before suffering an oblique strain.
Apparently, the organizational decision was to give Castro a longer look at shortstop.
“That’s it,” Gardenhire said. “They want to take a good look at Willi. He’s swinging good. We know Niko can play multiple positions, so he will go to second base. He’s fine with it. He just wants to play.”
It remains to be seen what happens going forward. Goodrum has played well defensively, worth two defensive runs saved. He also took charge of the shift alignments and he and Schoop had developed solid chemistry on the field.
Castro, meanwhile, has been inconsistent defensively, as his minus-6 defensive runs saved would indicate. But he is slashing .337/.370/.512 and perhaps the Tigers don’t want to mess with one of the few hot hitters in the lineup right now.
“It was tough to put (Schoop) on the injured list,” Gardenhire said. “I’m activating one middle infielder and I’m sitting another down. If he couldn’t play, it would have been really hard. He was going to miss three or four days regardless, now he’s going to miss seven.
“We have to let him get well. He was having a hard time swinging the bat at all.”
Schoop was hit by a pitch in the wrist last Tuesday and he was hit there back on Sept. 1, too. But Gardenhire said he aggravated the wrist swinging.
“It’s been bothering him for a while,” Gardenhire said.