Kody Clemens, Zack Short, Ryan Kreidler among latest Tigers cut
Lakeland, Fla. — No cuts are easy for a manager, but this wasn’t the especially hard one for Tigers manager AJ Hinch. A tougher one is coming in a few days.
“When you add major-league pieces via trade and free agency, it starts shrinking the holes you have on the roster and opportunities you have for guys to make the team,” Hinch said Saturday morning. “There are everyday players from last year who are fighting to make the team.
“But it means that we are better because we have less holes to fill.”
Six players were reassigned Saturday and two others were informed they will not be breaking camp with the team.
Left-handed reliever Miguel Del Pozo and infielders Kody Clemens and Zack Short were moved to Triple-A Toledo; non-roster invitees right-hander Drew Carlton, infielder Josh Lester and outfielder Jacob Robson were sent to minor-league camp.
Infielders Ryan Kreidler and Jack Lopez will be sticking around for another week, but they didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Both eventually will be on the roster at Toledo.
“They’ve got to map out their lives and know where they stand,” Hinch said. “As it gets thinner in there (clubhouse), the hopes of making the team get greater. So if you don’t effectively communicate, it’s unfair to the young player who truthfully isn’t in our plans right now for the start of the season, but will be soon.”
Kreidler, who has made a strong impression the last two springs, and Lopez will continue to play in spring games up until the Mud Hens break camp April 1.
“I understand the business of the game and not being on the 40-man (roster) is a disadvantage,” Kreidler said. “But I completely understand where the front office is coming from. They want to win, and I respect that. Whenever the time is right and they need me, I will be ready to go.”
Hinch said Kreidler and Lopez, as well as Short and Clemens, will need to continue to move around the diamond and make themselves options for the Tigers at multiple positions. Lopez and Clemens are likely to get some outfield work with Toledo, just to help thin the glut of infielders already there.
“I don’t know when spots are going to open up via injury, hopefully never,” Hinch said, talking about Kreidler specifically. “But the reality is, he could be a callup at any given point at second, third and shortstop. So we need to move him around the field enough in Triple-A for him to be comfortable.
“And he needs to understand that even though he is off the roster, he is every bit the option when an opportunity comes up.”
There are 46 players left in big-league camp, including pitchers Michael Pineda, Wily Peralta and Ramon Rosso, who haven't been able to participate because of visa issues and won't be ready to start the season.
Reliever Kyle Funkhouser (lat), starter Spencer Turnbull (elbow) and catcher Jake Rogers (elbow) are also shut down.
Position battles remain fierce in the outfield, where Victor Reyes, Derek Hill and Daz Cameron might be fighting for one spot, and in the bullpen where two or three spots are open.