First big-league hit bittersweet for Tigers infielder Zack Short

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — It was not how he dreamt it. Not on a day he struck out three times, not in a 6-2 loss in the midst of a team-wide offensive struggle, not on a day he dropped an easy throw and botched a double-play chance. 

But maybe a year or two from now, when he tells the story to his kids and grandkids, Zack Short will leave out all the ugly stuff and just say, I got my first big-league hit at Comerica Park against Mike Minor, a line-drive single. 

Zack Short

"You want to enjoy it," Short said after Friday's game. "I'm glad my family saw it and everything. But it's tough to really enjoy it, having a few tough at-bats and the guys in the dugout are grinding on every at-bat. Things just aren't going our way right now.

"It's awesome it happened, but at the end of the day, we didn't get the job done. It's tough to enjoy one with the other." 

In the same ninth inning that he dropped the throw, he also made a sterling defensive play, getting speedy Nicky Lopez with a glove flip. And, on the pitch before his single in the sixth, it looked like his first big-league hit might've been a home run.

He hit a hooking line drive down the line in left.

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"I've hit a few of those like that in my career and they usually stay fair," Short said. "The wind wasn't in my favor all night for trying to do something like that. I got halfway to first and I realized it was foul.

"I just flushed it on my way back to the plate and tried to come up with a another plan on what he was going to throw me."

Alas, Short was optioned back to the alternate site in Toledo after Saturday's game to make room for Miguel Cabrera, activated off the injured list. 

Baddoo at two

Give manager AJ Hinch credit, he's not just running the same lineup out there night after night hoping things change. He's continually looking for a spark. He put Short in the two-hole Friday against a lefty. 

On Saturday, he moved rookie Akil Baddoo, a left-handed hitter, up to the two-hole against right-hander Brady Singer.

"I've tried to keep him comfortable and keep him in down in the seventh, eighth or ninth hole and I may return him to that," Hinch said. "But right now I'm looking for any kind of energy and any kind of production — just something different than what we've been doing over and over."

Baddoo went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Saturday.

The Tigers have averaged two runs over the last nine games. They also have the lowest team OPS and have scored the fewest runs of any team in the American League.

It's about development

HInch started Baddoo Friday against the lefty Minor — a move that was as much about Baddoo's development as it was about putting the best team on the field that night. 

"For Akil, it's about giving him a little taste for what being an everyday player is like; that is very important," Hinch said. "The thing about left-handed hitters, especially young ones that I've been around, they play against lefties their entire career coming up through the minor leagues and in amateur ball.

"And then somebody in the big leagues tells him they can't hit them before they even give them at-bats."

Baddoo is 0-for-8 against lefties with six strikeouts, but he will get more looks against them soon, perhaps in Chicago against the White Sox who have two lefty starters and two lefty bullpen arms.

Twitter: @cmccosky