Tigers Trim Roster; One Pitcher Away From Set

On Wednesday morning, manager Jim Leyland held a meeting with President/CEO/General Manager Dave Dombrowski and the rest of the coaching staff to cut down the roster. At the end of the meeting, six players were sent to minor league camp, and the Tigers made additional moves later in the day, leaving them with just one extra pitcher still to be determined where he's headed.

Three players were optioned to Toledo, while three more who were non-roster invitees were sent to minor league camp.

Outfielder Nook Logan, infielder Don Kelly and reliever Mark Woodyard, all members of the 40-man roster, were all optioned to AAA Toledo. The surprise of the group was Logan, who was originally expected to compete for the starting centerfielder job, but instead played himself completely off the 25-man roster.

Among the others with minor league contracts, outfielder Alexis Gomez, infielder Mike Hessman, and reliever Hector Mercado were all sent to minor league camp (they'll all likely start the year with Toledo as well). Again, the notable is Gomez, who in recent weeks had emerged as the odds-on favorite to win the final spot in the outfield.

With Logan and Gomez gone, outfielder Marcus Thames appears to have won the final spot among the Tigers' position players.

Competition for the final relief job is still open, and likely won't be settled for another day or two. The Tigers could also be exploring trade options, including possibly trying to acquire a second left-handed reliever, or trading inconsistent right-hander Franklyn German.

ADDITION: Later in the day, the Tigers announced Roman Colon was going to be optioned to AAA Toledo, eliminating him from the bullpen competition. Colon pitched well in the spring, but apparently not well enough. The Tigers now have three bullpen spots remaining for four pitchers; Chris Spurling, Bobby Seay, Jason Grilli, and Franklyn German. It's likely the Tigers will try and move one of the group before the final roster is set (probably either Grilli or German, as either would have to clear waivers to be sent to Toledo).

NOTES: After it seemed as if an 11th-hour deal may happen, the Tigers have broken off negotiations with TV20 about a "free" TV deal that would broadcast additional games on top of the 112 games that Fox Sports Detroit will show. The latest development is yet another mystery as it appears as if the Tigers are determined to keep the team off TV, having previously declined an offer from Fox Sports Detroit to broadcast 140 games, as opposed to the 112 they will show. The Tigers have not shut the door on other TV options for 2006, but as of now, it seems unlikely they'll reach an agreement with another network. That means the Tigers' Opening Day game on Monday against Kansas City will not be televised.


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