By: Will Burchfield
The Tigers have made a slight change of plans.
Instead of activating James McCann for Tuesday night’s game against the Angels, they are sending him to Triple-A Toledo on a rehab assignment.
The catcher had been on the 10-day disabled list with a lacerated left hand.
Manager Brad Ausmus said over the weekend that he expected McCann to rejoin the Tigers on Tuesday. Why or when the team changed course is unclear.
McCann has missed the last nine games and the Tigers may want him to take some at-bats in Triple-A before plugging him back into the lineup. He was hitting .204 with a .716 OPS at the time of his injury.
There’s also the fact that Alex Avila and John Hicks have been solid in McCann’s absence. With both catchers swinging the bat well, there’s little reason to rush McCann back to the majors.
McCann has had particular trouble against right-handed pitchers this season: .175 average, .561 OPS. The lefty-swinging Avila, on the other hand, is hitting righties to the tune of a .340 average and a 1.137 OPS.
McCann’s numbers are much more favorable against left-handers, and it’s likely he’ll displace Hicks when the Tigers feel he’s ready. But Ausmus has been wary of establishing a straight-up platoon between McCann and Avila, given the heath concerns that exist with the latter.
Ian Kinsler, who has also been on the 10-day D.L. (strained hamstring), is set to be activated for Tuesday night’s game. It’s likely that JaCoby Jones will be sent down to Toledo.