This week it was reported that Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks hit a snag on his rehab assignment in Lakeland, Fla. It was hoped that Dirks, who has been sidelined since undergoing back surgery in March, could return and give the Tigers a quality left-handed bat, which is something that they have sorely been lacking as of late.
The Tigers only have four left-handed hitters on their 25-man roster: switch-hitting Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Don Kelly and the light-hitting, switch-hitting Andrew Romine. Martinez is obviously having a great season, but Avila has been rather inconsistent and Kelly and Romine are essentially AAAA players. Therefore, it is easy to see how Dirks, especially if he could have hit like he did in 2012, would have really looked nice in the right-handed dominant Tigers lineup.
Dirks’ return date is now unknown, but it may be time for the Tigers to start considering plan B, which could be calling up Ezequiel Carrera from Triple-A Toledo. Carrera, like Dirks, is a left-handed hitter, and there is a chance that he might be able to give the Tigers the same type of production that they hoped to get out of Dirks.
Carrera has been on a tear all season long, currently hitting .319/.407/.441 with six home runs, 13 doubles, 34 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. He was also named to the International League All-Star team this season, and he went 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases, helping the International League defeat the Pacific Coast League by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday night.
Carrera, who is now 27 years old, has seen time in the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies, but he has never quite performed like he has this season. Carrera has more than earned an opportunity with the Tigers, but calling him up would have to result in another roster move; and there would be no easy answer as to whose place he would take.
It is interesting to note, though, that the Tigers have already seemingly struck gold with J.D. Martinez, who is almost exactly the same age as Carrera and similarly struggled during his first go-round in MLB. Could the Tigers have the same type of luck with Carrera that they did with Martinez? We will never know unless they give him the chance that he deserves.