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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Feb 15, 2011 10:45 pm

After knee surgery, Thomas 'raring to go'
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 02/15/11 6:04 PM EST

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Carlos Guillen wasn't the only Tiger who had microfracture surgery on a knee last year. But since Clete Thomas' surgery came last June, rather than in the fall, he faces far fewer questions about whether he'll ready for the season.

"I'm raring to go," Thomas said Tuesday morning after reporting to Spring Training.

The bigger question facing Thomas this spring is where, not if, he'll start the season. He at least appears to be healthy enough to give it his best shot.

Thomas nearly made last year's team out of Spring Training before losing out to the more versatile Don Kelly. A nagging shoulder injury last spring didn't help Thomas' cause. He recovered, went to Triple-A Toledo and struggled mightily to a .183 average with 32 strikeouts in just 86 plate appearances.

Something wasn't right -- in Thomas' case, it was his knee -- and team doctors eventually found the worst-case scenario. Microfracture surgery is rather rare among baseball players, but it's a recent development.

To have two players on the same team in the same year have it is obviously unusual, but so is having two baseball players in the same day. Thomas had his surgery on June 4, the same day as Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore. Both procedures were conducted by specialist Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo.

The results were encouraging. Thomas was able to hit and throw by mid-December, and he's able to run now. He should be able to play in games.

Assuming that, he should get a good look from the Tigers, who continue to mention him among the outfield candidates. He's a left-handed hitter with Major League experience on a team with a projected starting outfield made up entirely of right-handed batters. He batted .240 with 77 strikeouts over 275 at-bats in his last Major League stint in 2009, but he did so with seven home runs, 13 doubles and three triples. He also carries the ability to play all three outfield positions.

He's also out of Minor League options, though his 2010 season would seemingly give him a better chance of going unclaimed should Detroit decide to try to outright him to Toledo at the end of camp.

Thomas is hoping at this point that everything goes well, because he's due a little good health. Beyond his knee and shoulder injuries, he also had Tommy John surgery in September 2008.

"It's kind of been a rough couple years," Thomas said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Mar 03, 2011 2:09 am

Thomas' arm a plus for Tigers
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 03/02/11 8:00 PM EST

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers picked up their first loss of Spring Training on Wednesday, losing to the Astros, 6-3, but it was an encouraging day for outfielder Clete Thomas. He doubled in a run at the plate and took away another with his throw home from right field.

It was good news for somebody who was the final cut out of camp last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in mid-April that required microfracture surgery.

Thomas' throw reminded some of his strong-armed reputation while he was coming up through the system. His low line drive skipped off the infield grass and took a perfect hop to catcher Alex Avila, who had just enough time to turn and tag Hunter Pence trying to score on the Brian Dopirak fly ball.

So far, manager Jim Leyland likes what he has seen.

"I don't think there's any restrictions at all," Leyland said. "He looks fine. He put a charge on that ball his last time up there. He's got a lot of talent."


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Mar 22, 2011 12:37 pm

Sizemore, Weinhardt cut as Tigers trim roster
Second baseman, righty among five players sent to Minors
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 03/22/11 9:43 AM ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Scott Sizemore, viewed for a good stretch as seemingly the favorite to win the Tigers' second-base position, is headed back to Triple-A Toledo. So is Robbie Weinhardt, whose bid for one of Detroit's last bullpen openings appeared the strongest of anyone in camp.

Those were the two main surprises out of the Tigers' Spring Training cuts Tuesday morning. Outfielder Clete Thomas joined Sizemore and Weinhardt in being optioned to Toledo, while lefty reliever Fu-Te Ni and catcher Max St. Pierre were assigned to Minor League camp. The moves put the Tigers' roster at 28 players -- not counting injured Joel Zumaya and Carlos Guillen -- with one more round of cuts to go next week before the club breaks camp in a week.

Sizemore opened last season at second base for the Tigers before his hitting struggles and limitations with a surgically repaired left ankle prompted a move back to Toledo in May. This spring, however, he looked much improved physically with another year of health and a full offseason to condition himself. A strong start to camp had him in a strong position to take the logjam at second base.

Sizemore has alternated starts with Will Rhymes for much of camp, but had started just two of Detroit's last seven Spring Training games. More recently, he had only one plate appearance over the Tigers' last three contests, a single on Sunday that marked his first hit in six days.

Meanwhile, fellow infield prospect Danny Worth has made a strong bid for the spot. Both Sizemore and Worth bat right-handed. While Worth and Rhymes remain in competition at second, Sizemore will be a Mud Hen for a third straight year.

Weinhardt, meanwhile, had re-established himself in camp as a ground-ball specialist, mixing his sinker with an improved slider to get some key ground balls. He inherited a bases-loaded jam last Wednesday against the Blue Jays and retired all five batters he faced. Before that, though, he had three outings in which he allowed a run on two hits in an inning of work.

While Weinhardt returns to Toledo, Brayan Villarreal's bid for a spot remains very much alive. He and Enrique Gonzalez are the two right-handers left in camp without a spot assured. The left-handed relief competition, meanwhile, has been whittled down as well to Daniel Schlereth and rookie Adam Wilk, with Brad Thomas seemingly having a job sealed.

Ni made a good early impression in camp, looking physically stronger with better command. He allowed a run on four hits in 10 innings, but he also walked five, including two in one inning last Friday against the Red Sox.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeTue Apr 03, 2012 7:29 pm

Tigers place Inge on 15-day DL with groin strain
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 04/03/12 1:25 PM ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After all the speculation this spring about Brandon Inge's future in Detroit, the longest-tenured Tiger will open the season on the disabled list. The Tigers placed Inge on the 15-day DL with a left groin strain on Tuesday.

The move, coupled with the fact that Drew Smyly will start the season at Triple-A Toledo for a spot start, essentially completes the Tigers' 25-man Opening Day roster. Infielder Danny Worth and outfielders Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas all make the team, though Detroit will have to make another roster move to make room for Smyly in time for his scheduled Major League debut on April 12.

The one formality left is for the Tigers to place reliever Al Alburquerque on the disabled list. Alburquerque is recovering from offseason elbow surgery, and though he should be cleared to begin a throwing program in the coming days, he isn't expected to be ready to pitch until the All-Star break.

As for Inge, the move is retroactive to Friday. He'll be eligible to be activated on April 14 for the second game of their first road series against the White Sox. Inge fully expects to be ready by that point, and the Tigers plan to activate and use him as part of a three-man mix at second base.

Manager Jim Leyland said before Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays that once Inge is ready, he'll be activated from the DL and play most days at second base against left-handed starting pitchers.

"I think he can be very effective against left-handed pitching," Leyland said.

Ryan Raburn, who will garner most of the playing time at second base against right-handed pitchers, will likely play another position against lefties, either designated hitter or left field, in order to get in Inge or Ramon Santiago for an extra right-handed bat.

For his part, Inge expected to be ready for Opening Day in two days, but he couldn't guarantee it. So the two sides came to an agreement to make the move.

"I don't have a doubt that in two days, this [strain] is going to be out of here," Inge said. "But they wanted to see me play in [Tuesday's] game."

Inge understood why. To make that choice, he said, "They would have to go by chance [that he would ready], and I understand where they're coming from. I could probably be ready, and that's the key word: Probably."

Said Leyland: "We wanted to make sure we did everything to give everybody the proper respect, but at the same time, we made the right decision. It's not going to be a matter of much time, if the [injury] responds. If he's healthy, Inge will be activated not too long from now."

Thus ends, for now, what had been a bubbling topic of speculation and prognostication surrounding Inge's status.

Inge came to camp six weeks ago and was given the chance to compete for the starting job at second base, trying to fit his way into the mix of Raburn and Santiago while Miguel Cabrera took over at third.

Defensively, Inge handled the move better than the Tigers could've expected, but the long-running question of whether Inge could hit lingered. He struggled at the plate with a .180 batting average (9-for-50), three doubles, a home run and two RBIs.

Asked Tuesday how he would evaluate his spring, Inge sounded some signs for encouragement.

"A lot of good things," he said. "I can't aim it after I hit it. I hit it hard. I played second well. That's what they wanted to see. I'm fine with it. Nothing I can do about anything else. All decisions are out of my hands."

Tigers officials echoed the belief that Inge made better contact than the stats would suggest. The strikeout rate was down, albeit in a very small sample size compared with regular-season stats from the previous few years.

The combination of Inge's offensive struggles and encouraging springs from Raburn as well as utility infielder Worth led to speculation about Inge's status for the past two weeks. He's in the last year of his contract, with a $5.5 million salary and a $500,000 buyout of his option year for 2013, but the Tigers had shown a willingness to absorb that when they designated him for assignment last July before he agreed to take a stint at Triple-A Toledo.

Any trade speculation died quickly when the Phillies decided to go in another direction to fill their second-base void in the wake of All-Star Chase Utley's injury.

In the end, however, Leyland sees a role for Inge on this club. The question surrounding Inge over the final stages of camp was more how he would be used rather than whether he would make the team.

"I don't really think Danny Worth was in competition with Brandon Inge," Leyland said.

Worth will serve as a utility infielder to open the season, but he will not fill Inge's role as a platoon second baseman. Santiago will start at second on Opening Day against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.

Inge said he has handled the situation "same as normal. Just playing the game. I'm just doing what I always do. But it's part of it. I'm just going to make the most of whatever [role I have]."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Apr 11, 2012 8:28 pm

Tigers set to designate Thomas for assignment
By Jason Beck and Anthony Odoardi / MLB.com | 04/11/12 5:30 PM ET

DETROIT -- After winning the Tigers' open rotation spot in Spring Training, there was no question left-hander Drew Smyly would make his Major League debut Thursday. The only question was who would be moved to make room on the 25-man roster.

President/general manager Dave Dombrowski announced Wednesday it would be outfielder Clete Thomas who will be designated for assignment Thursday. At that time, the Tigers will officially purchase Smyly's contract.

The Tigers have 10 days to decide whether to waive, release or trade Thomas. If a team claims him on waivers, it would have to place Thomas on its 25-man roster. Thomas has no Minor League options left, so he would have to clear waivers before the Tigers could send him to Triple-A Toledo.

Thomas has been in the organization since the Tigers drafted him out of Auburn in 2005. The 28-year-old played 102 games for Detroit in '09, racking up 310 plate appearances as a part-time outfielder and pinch-hitter, but a knee surgery the next spring cost him the bulk of the season. He made a comeback from microfracture surgery, but spent all of last year at Toledo.

Thomas made the Opening Day roster when the Tigers had the flexibility to carry one more position player than usual until they needed their fifth starter. Now that they needed Smyly, Thomas was the odd man out.

"We felt that we had enough outfielders at this time," Dombrowski said.

Along with Delmon Young, Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, the Tigers feel they have strong backups in Andy Dirks, Don Kelly and -- if needed -- Ryan Raburn.

Dombrowski also said to expect two additional roster moves, the first coming Saturday when Adam Wilk will be recalled to start against the White Sox and the second when Brandon Inge finishes his rehab assignment.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Clete Thomas NEWS   Clete Thomas NEWS - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Apr 14, 2012 3:57 pm

Twins claim Clete Thomas off waivers
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on April 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Clete Thomas is leaving the Tigers organization, but Detroit might still see him quite a bit if things work out for him. He’s headed to the Twins, who claimed him off waivers from the Tigers on Saturday.

Detroit designated Thomas’ contract for assignment on Wednesday to make room for Drew Smyly on the 25-man roster. There was some hope he would sneak through waivers unclaimed with teams having set their rosters just over a week ago, but enough teams have a need for outfield help and left-handed hitters, the Twins among them.

“I’m happy for him,” Jim Leyland told a pool reporter. “I’m not surprised it’s the Twins, because Gardy’s always loved him.”


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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