By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Danny Worth is out of luck again.
Over four seasons and counting, Worth has played in 135 games for the Detroit Tigers, and he has repeatedly bounced back and forth between the minors and the majors. He got another chance in Detroit this season after the Tigers released 37-year-old shortstop Alex Gonzalez in April, but now the Tigers are bringing up Eugenio Suarez, and Worth is once again the odd man out.
“Danny’s done everything we asked,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Wednesday afternoon. “I felt awful having to tell him. He’s done everything we asked to an extreme, really. No one wants to hear bad news. He was very professional about it, but being told you’re being sent off a major league roster is not something you want to hear. It’s not something I want to tell.”
General manager Dave Dombrowski was also complimentary of Worth, though he said Worth ultimately did not do enough.
“Danny’s been with the organization for a long time,” Dombrowski said. “He does what we ask for him. He’s been in a situation where he’s helped us in many regards. He’s helped us defensively, he helps us out in the field, he even helped us pitch … but really we’re looking for a little more somebody to come in and try to play quite a bit on an everyday basis. Of course how much [Suarez] plays, that’ll still be up to Brad and how often he writes his name in the lineup.
“From an offensive situation, unfortunately Danny scuffled when he had the opportunity,” Dombrowski concluded, “and we just figure that Suarez will be an upgrade for us in that regard.”
Another Tigers shortstop, Andrew Romine, has been similarly underwhelming at the plate. Romine is hitting .200. Worth was hitting .167. Dombrowski had a simple reason for why the Tigers stuck with Romine, for whom the Tigers traded in March, rather than Worth.
“In Andrew’s situation, he hits from the left-hand side, and so we figured that being a switch-hitter, that we were going to stick in that direction,” Dombrowski said.
This season Suarez hit .284 in 42 games with Double-A Erie and is hitting .302 in 12 games with Triple-A Toledo.
“He was talented, and we talked a lot about him in spring training, actually, at that time, so we said, ‘Let him go out and play every day for a couple months and let’s see how he continues to develop,'” Dombrowski said. “He has swung the bat extremely well. I think his strike zone discipline’s been a little better – in fact it’s been a lot better. Now will it continue to be that way at the big-league level? Only time will tell because the pitching is dialed up a big notch at that point at the big-league level. He really has just continued to grow and to be the player that we had hoped he would be.
“He’s a very confident young individual,” Dombrowski continued. “He handles himself well on the field. He understands the game. He’s talented, so we figured it’s the right time to give him the opportunity and see how he performs.”
Ausmus seemed reluctant to expect too much from Suarez, whose ascent through the Tigers organization has been rapid.
“He’s got some good hands, he’s swung the bat well in the minors,” Ausmus said. “It’s a change we hope helps the bottom part of the lineup in terms of offensive production, but I’d be very careful as to heap too much pressure on this young kid. He’s still inexperienced, certainly inexperienced at the major league level. I think he has the ability to play here, but there’s going to be a learning curve.”
The whole shortstop carousel began with the spring training announcement that Jose Iglesias would be out for much of the season because of stress fractures to both shins. The Tigers said they found out that Iglesias, as they had suspected, is almost certainly out for the entire season.
“The doctor’s happy with the progress he’s made, but at this point he basically has been ruled out for the season,” Dombrowski said. “We had always thought that, but we had maintained maybe a little bit of hope there but really not counting on it, but that has been clearly decided.”