The Detroit Tigers have been on quite a tear lately, and they’ve done so without a key member of their infield.
Omar Infante hasn’t played in a Tigers’ uniform since July 3 when Colby Rasmus nailed him with an aggressive take-out slide at second base. Infante has made a couple of attempts to get back on the field, but setbacks have caused him to slow his return.
Hernan Perez has been solid defensively while Infante has been gone, but he can’t provide the same amount of pop Infante can at the plate. Perez is hitting .245 with two walks and 11 strikeouts. While he may not have impressive numbers, it is important to remember Perez is only 22 years old and has shown plenty of promise for the future.
Infante was having one of his best offensive seasons before the injury. He has a .309 batting average and has been one of the best No. 9 hitters in baseball this season. He has a .340 on-base percentage and was on pace to score over 80 runs, which is impressive for someone who has been at the bottom of the batting order all season.
Infante is a true “second-leadoff” hitter at the bottom of the Tigers’ lineup. He gives them speed with three consecutive hitters before Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder get to the plate.
With the way the Tigers have been playing lately, they haven’t needed Infante to help generate offense, but his return will make their lineup even more ominous than it already is. He’s scheduled to join the team Monday as the Tigers take on the Chicago White Sox.