Tigers Playoff Run Creates AFL Shuffle





DETROIT—Prompted by their playoff run, the Tigers made several last-second switches to their Arizona Fall League assignments.

The original group they had planned to send included infielders Will Rhymes and Danny Worth, catcher Rob Brantly, lefthanders Casey Crosby and Matt Hoffman, and righthander Tyler Stohr.

Instead of going to Arizona, though, Rhymes and Worth were sent to the Tigers complex in Florida to stay ready as potential replacements as the team moved through the playoffs.

Their places were taken by a pair of young Venezuelan infielders in Dixon Machado and Hernan Perez.

Machado, a 19-year-old shortstop, hit .235/.314/.247 at low Class A West Michigan this season, with just one double and two triples among his 101 hits—although he did steal 25 bases. Machado's calling card is his defense: Midwest League managers voted him the best defensive shortstop in the league and the best infield arm.

Perez, 20, repeated West Michigan this season, moving to second base after playing shortstop a year ago. Perez batted .258/.314/.364 and added 23 steals as well as eight home runs. Perez is strong defensively and has a  strong arm, but also is raw both defensively and at the plate.

A third change came when Crosby was replaced by fellow lefty Andy Oliver, who had an up-and-down season spent primarily with Triple-A Toledo.

Oliver, who began the season as the Tigers' third-ranked prospect, had a 3.31 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 20 walks in 52 innings before earning a late May promotion to Detroit. He stumbled with the Tigers, allowing 11 hits and eight walks that resulted in seven runs in just 10 innings, and he never regained his balance when he returned to Toledo. In his last 17 starts with the Mud Hens, the 23-year-old had 94 strikeouts, 60 walks and 12 wild pitches in compiling a 5.48 ERA in 95 innings.

TIGER TALES

• Former Tiger Mike Maroth was named pitching coach at high Class A Lakeland, replacing another former Tiger, Joe Coleman. It will be the first professional coaching assignment for Maroth, who pitched for Detroit from 2002-06 and is best known for losing 21 games in 2003.

• Outfielder Timo Perez, who hit .304 in 122 games with Toledo and now is a free agent, was suspended 50 games by MLB. Perez tested positive for ritalinic acid and methylphenidate, two substances generally used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.