In another set of moves typical of spring training, the Tigers sent pitchers Wil Ledezma, Kevin Hodge, Lee Gardner, and Chad Durbin to minor league camp. Along with them, the organization cut outielders Ryan Ludwick and Reggie Taylor, first baseman Josh Phelps, and catchers Max St. Pierre and Brian Peterson.
After joining the Tigers as a Rule 5 selection in 2003, Wil Ledezma has followed a long, strange path throughout the organization. Despite showing a few flashes of brilliance with Detroit in 2003, Ledezma was sent to AA-Erie to refine his command and approach on the mound. After dominating AA hitters, Ledezma was brought back to Detroit where he pitched quite well late in the 2004 season. He entered 2005 as Detroit's 5th starter, but was quickly demoted to Toledo after several ineffective starts. Ledezma had a solid chance at the Detroit roster this spring, in multiple capacities, but couldn't capitalize and was optioned back to Toledo where he will likely help anchor the rotation.
The remaining eight players cut today were all designated to minor league camp where they will continue to battle for roster assignments. Josh Phelps made a strong case for the Opening Day roster, but with the presence of Dmitri Young, Carlos Pena, and Chris Shelton in front of him, his chances were slim from the outset. It is likely that Phelps will man first and DH for the Mudhens this season, while waiting for his shot in Detroit.
Outfielders Ryan Ludwick and Reggie Taylor will almost certainly be headed to Toledo to start the season, along with pitchers Lee Gardner, Chad Durbin, and Kevin Hodge.
The minor leagues were the expected destination for many of these players after signing minor league contracts in the offseason, so none of today's moves should be shocking. However, don't be surprised if names like Ledezma, Ludwick, and Phelps crop up in Detroit box scores later this summer.