Moya ready for 2nd chance with Tigers

Top prospect gets redemption after miscue in season debut

Moya ready for 2nd chance with Tigers

DETROIT -- Steven Moya didn't start looking at baseball as a potential career until he was well into his teenage years.

"When I was 15 years old, I thought I was going to be an architect, not a baseball player," he said.

He still has interest in architecture and mechanical engineering, though he hasn't had time to do much studying. He still has a baseball career to think about. In that sense, this has been a building year for Moya, who made his return to the Tigers on Wednesday night as a late-inning replacement in an 8-0 loss to the Rays.

He's more comfortable coming up to the big leagues this year than he was at the same time last season, mainly for the experience. He just doesn't come up with the same resume, having gone from Eastern League MVP at Double-A Erie to growing pains at Triple-A Toledo. He made his case with a strong home stretch, batting .265 (39-for-147) from Aug. 1 on with 12 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs.

"This just feels like a second shot," said Moya, ranked as the Tigers' top prospect by MLBPipeline.com. "I'm here. They put me in left field now, and that might be the spot. I just have to show that wherever they put me, I can get the job done."

He shifted from right field with about a week left in the season for the Mud Hens, enough time to get used to tracking fly balls for the spot where he'll likely get the bulk of his playing time in the Majors, including a handful of starts this month, according to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

Moya had an adventurous eighth inning -- as the right fielder -- missing a fly ball for a Brandon Guyer ground-rule double but then doubling him off at second base on an ensuing popup.

Guyer's ground-rule double

Moya characterized the miss as a miscommunication.

"We got moved toward the line before that play," Moya said. "So when I went to get the ball, I was more on the line. I thought [center fielder Anthony Gose] called the ball, but he was saying, 'Back, back,' so I started looking at him.

"I got it back."

Moya did some pregame work at first base in Toledo, he said, but nothing in games, and he doesn't expect to carry it on in Detroit over the final few weeks. He'll likely pick it up again during winter ball in the Dominican League for Toros del Este.

"It feels good, because I really like catching ground balls," Moya said. "There's more movement. You have to be more alert, not just back there waiting for a fly ball."

At 6-foot-7 with a lanky frame and long arms, he certainly has the range for it. At his age, having just turned 24 a month ago, he also has time. Realistically, though, his big league chance is going to come down to the work at the plate. If he hits, the Tigers will find a spot for him.

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