Tigers Cut Bait with Sanchez

<b>LAKELAND,FL</b> -- A day after dropping a very routine fly ball in centerfield, and a day after being reunited with his family, Alex Sanchez' career in Detroit came to an end. Tiger's manager, Alan Trammell, finally had enough of Sanchez' defensive shortcomings, ultimately leading to today's release. Who will now take over in center in his place? Plus, the Tigers made a number of other minor moves on the day.

Alex ends his tenure in Detroit's outfield with a .304 batting average, 63 stolen bases, and 84 runs scored in 180 games over two seasons. Despite these reasonably impressive numbers, Sanchez was continually plagued by poor judgment on the bases and in the field, as well as a reputation for being rather uncoachable.

The release leaves the Tigers with a wide-open race for the starting spot in centerfield, and also adds fuel to the speculation that a trade involving the Tigers is still in the works. Nook Logan and Dewayne Wise are the only two remaining outfielders in camp with extensive centerfield experience. It is possible that Craig Monroe could still see some time in center this spring.

"[Monroe] may not be the prototypical center fielder that people would describe," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "There may be a ball or two that falls in that people with more speed might get.

"But it also is a situation where all of the sudden we may have an outfield of Ordonez, Monroe and White and we feel there's a lot of pop there."

In other moves today, the Tigers sent centerfield hopeful and top prospect Curtis Granderson to Toledo of the International League. Less than 24-hours after his first homerun of the spring, and a game winner at that, Granderson's dreams of starting the season in Detroit were dashed. In addition to Granderson, the Tigers also sent Kenny Baugh, Mark Woodyard, Ryan Raburn, Chris Shelton, and Byron Gettis to Toledo, Preston Larrison to Erie of the Eastern League, and 2004 first-round pick Justin Verlander to High-A Lakeland.

As with many teams around the league, Detroit also assigned multiple players to their minor league camp in Lakeland, including Mike Bynum, Nelson Cruz, Andrew Good, Matt Roney, Brandon Harper, Maxim St. Pierre, and Jack Hannahan.

None of the aforementioned minor league moves are surprising, as most players were not expected to come north with the big club. Despite starting the year in the minor leagues, many players, including Granderson, Baugh, Shelton, and Roney could all see time in Detroit later this year.

Detroit's final move of the day came as they placed second baseman Fernando Vina on the 60-day disabled list. Vina did not report to camp this spring, as continued knee problems have likely ended his career. The move to the DL was merely a formality, allowing the Tigers to recoup a portion of Vina's salary through an insurance policy.

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