St. Pierre Gives Hope To Minor League Vets Everywhere





DETROIT — At the start of September, all of those minor league players who toil in obscurity, waiting for that one chance to play in the major leagues, were given a reason to keep believing.

When the Tigers called up catcher Max St. Pierre from Triple-A Toledo, it marked the first time the 14-year pro had played in the majors after 978 minor league games.

"I felt great—but this hasn't really registered yet," St. Pierre said on the day he got word of his promotion. "I have chill bumps all over. My whole career I've been working hard to get to the major leagues, and now I'm going there. I'm speechless."

St. Pierre was drafted by the Tigers in the 26th round of the 1997 draft and has spent all but one season in the organization. In 2007 he signed with Kansas City as a free agent but was traded to Milwaukee in the spring; he played briefly at Double-A Huntsville before the Brewers tried to make him a pitcher.

St. Pierre returned to catching and re-signed with Detroit the following offseason, splitting time between Double-A Erie and the Mud Hens in each of the past three seasons.

He overcame a broken hand earlier this year that sidelined him in June and early July and hit .300/.356/.469 in 39 games with the Hens.

"He's a guy who has stood the test of time," said Toledo manager Larry Parrish. "He has banged around for a long time, bounced back and forth from Double-A to Triple-A."

St. Pierre's perseverance—and his long-time ties to Tigers—made the promotion a popular one with his teammates as well.

"I'm so happy for him. I'm as proud of the organization as I am of St. Pierre," said Brandon Inge. "The organization is showing appreciation for a guy who has more than paid his dues in the minors. That's classy of the organization to reward St. Pierre for all the hard work he's done over the years."

TIGER TALES

• For the third year in a row, outfielder Ryan Strieby had surgery on his left wrist. The injury limited him to just 76 games with the Mud Hens, where he hit .245/.323/.400. For the second straight year Strieby will miss playing in the Arizona Fall League.

• Taking Strieby's place in the AFL is outfielder Andy Dirks, who batted .375/.398/.648 in 22 late-season games with Toledo. Dirks spent most of this season with Erie, hitting .278/.342/.425 with 11 home runs in 98 games.