Tigers Take Good, Bad From Strieby's 2011 Season





LAKELAND, Fla.—It's hard to tell if 2011 was a good year or a bad year for first baseman Ryan Strieby.

The good news was that Strieby was able to stay healthy last year, after wrist problems limited his playing time the previous two seasons.

The wrist problems, which first surfaced late in 2008, limited him to 86 games in 2009 and 76 in 2010.

Strieby hit .255/.341/.429 for Triple-A Toledo and hammered 19 home runs last year, leading the Mud Hens in RBIs (76) and runs (66).

"He comes into this season with a full season of being healthy under his belt after two injury-plagued seasons the years before," Toledo manager Phil Nevin said. "Knowing that he is healthy, and knowing that he can let it go, should help him this season."

Strieby had more than his share of his bad news, though. He led the International League with 171 strikeouts last season, after fanning 85 times in 76 games the year before.

Even though he was on the Tigers' 40-man roster, he didn't receive a September callup to Detroit.

Then he was removed from the 40-man roster just before the Rule 5 draft and wasn't chosen by another team.

To add insult to injury, Detroit signed Prince Fielder as a free agent. With Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have two of the best-hitting first basemen in baseball—and significant road blocks to the big leagues in front of Strieby.

"I know he was taken off the 40-man roster," Nevin said. "But sometimes that lights a fire under somebody, showing them that they need to make adjustments. Hopefully we see that out of Ryan this spring."

TIGER TALES

• The Tigers signed outfielder Ignacio Valdez, a 16-year-old native of the Dominican Republic who played in the Dominican Prospect League all-star game. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Valdez has the tools for right field with his size, arm strength and raw power.

• The Tigers named Jim Rough as their scout of the year following the team's annual preseason meeting with its amateur scouting staff. Rough, an area scout whose territory includes northern Florida and Georgia, has signed catcher Alex Avila, lefthander Charlie Furbush and utilityman Justin Henry in recent years.