With a little over a week to go before the season starts, the Tigers made a bunch of moves this morning. The biggest news is that Bobby Seay has been placed on the disabled list with a torn rotator cuff. He is opting against surgery and will try to rehab it instead. I suspect he's out for the season though. Seay was expected to be their left-handed set-up man, so this a is a significant loss. Phil Coke and Fu-Te Ni are now the top two southpaws in the bullpen.
The Tigers also placed Zach Miner on the disabled list with elbow tendinitis. They then optioned pitcher Dan Schlereth and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez to Toledo and reassigned pitchers Phil Dumatrait and Enrique Gonzalez and catcher Max St. Pierre to minor league camp. The moves leave the Tigers with 32 players remaining in major league camp, so they have seven more cuts to go before opening day.
One of the moves will be a catcher, either Alex Avila or Robinson Diaz. I believe they will not only keep Avila, but he will get significant playing time as Gerald Laird's backup. Laird seems to wear down if he plays too much so they would benefit from having a backup that can catch two games per week. By the end of the season, we may see Avila playing as much as or more than Laird.
The rest of the bench will consist of Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn, and one other player. Jim Leyland said recently that the battle for the final spot is between Donald Kelly, Clete Thomas and Jeff Larish. I am betting on the versatile Kelly winning that role. Infielder Brent Dlugach will almost sure be cut.
They also have to trim three pitchers from the roster before opening day. The news that the Tigers are trying to trade Nate Robertson suggests that Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis will be the numbers four and five starters to open the season. It's very questionable whether any team will take Robertson off the Tigers hands, so if he doesn't make the team, they'll probably need to release him. It's possible that he could be retained as a long reliever, but that's a role against which he protested in the past.
The bullpen will consist of Jose Velarde, Ryan Perry, Coke, Ni, and three others. One of them will probably be Eddie Bonine, who would replace Miner as the team's long reliever and spot starter. One would think that Joel Zumaya would make the team, but with all the talk of his command issues, there is a chance they will send him to Toledo for a few weeks to get more work. Other pitchers on the bubble include Brad Thomas, Josh Rainwater, and Robbie Weinhardt.