When the Tigers signed veteran infielder and former Tiger Omar Infante to a minor league deal back in December, the widely-believed thought was that he would be competing for a backup infield position on the club and give the incumbents a run for their money.
But I guess his invite to spring training means fighting for any position, including center field.
Omar Infante hoping for a chance to play centerfield: https://t.co/c5BfNujCgc
— Anthony Fenech (@anthonyfenech) February 19, 2017
Infante recently expressed his interest to compete for the center field position on the 25-man roster. Center field is undoubtedly the least secure and most wide open competition in spring training this year, making it all that more interesting for Infante to give it a try.
“I’d like to play center field because my legs feel good, my arm feels good, and everything feels good to try to compete,” Infante told Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. “I know there’s a lot of guys in here but I have to compete with them and see what happens.”
“I’m going to try to do that because I want to play,” Infante said. “When you play infield, you handle a lot of situations. In the outfield, you just read the ball, that’s it.”
The 15-year big league veteran Infante has played over 1,500 games in his major league career, over 1,000 of which have been at second base. He is however not completely foreign to center field. He has played in over 100 games in the outfield, 32 of which came while patrolling center field. Infante though has not found his way out there in center since 2009 when he was a member of the Braves.
Infante has spent each of the last three seasons with Detroit’s division rival Kansas City. He held the full-time second base job in 2014 and ’15, but only played in 39 games (149 at-bats) before being designated for assignment midway through the season. He enters Tigers camp, now with the openness to play anywhere, competing with the likes of Tyler Collins, Anthony Gose, JaCoby Jones and newly-acquired Mikie Mahtook for the center field gig.
**Player stats and information courtesy of Sports-Reference