Tiger Roster Set . . . For Now

On Thursday, the Tigers made their final cuts, establishing the 25 players the Tigers will start the season with. However, the roster at the moment probably will not hold true for long, as a trio of players have been left off, but won't be left off for long.

To complete the cuts, the Tigers sent IF Danny Klassen to minor league camp, and offered Mike DiFelice the option of starting the season in AAA Toledo or simply taking his unconditional release. On the pitching side, the Tigers sent LHP Mike Bumatay back to the Colorado Rockies, while placing RHP Fernando Rodney and RHP Lino Urdaneta on the 15-day Disabled List. The Tigers also resigned Esteban Yan after he decided being a reliever in the majors was better than being on the free agent market again – where he'd likely end up back in the minors.

However, Yan may not be around for long. Neither Rodney nor closer Ugueth Urbina will start the season on the 25 man roster, but will be with the big league club once they are ready to go – which should happen within the first two weeks.

With the final cuts, the Tigers have given the backup Infielder job to Omar Infante, who settled down as spring training went on and was able to capture the job. It also means that new super-utility player Brandon Inge will still handle the role of backup Catcher. The moves have also established that the Tigers will carry both Greg Norton and Chris Shelton – despite the fact it was originally thought the team would only carry one since both are considered mainly pinch hitters.

So, unofficially the competition has ended. However, with the Tigers still needing to add a pair of bullpen arms (and by all estimations, their best bullpen arms), a number of players can't guarantee their stay for long. Yan, Steve Colyer and the loser of the fifth spot in the rotation between RHP Gary Knotts and LHP Nate Robertson could all potentially be sacrificed when Urbina and Rodney are ready to go. But, at least for the time being, we know the 2004 Detroit Tigers. Hopefully this group will turn out a little better than the last edition.


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