Whether starter or reserve, Aybar can help Tigers

Whether starter or reserve, Aybar can help Tigers

DETROIT -- The Tigers acquired Erick Aybar from the Braves on Tuesday in search of depth, a little jolt of energy and a veteran presence amid a postseason push. Aybar arrived in Detroit before Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Royals eager to get a little jolt of his own from his new surroundings and teammates.

"Coming into a clubhouse with Victor [Martinez] and Miguel [Cabrera], it's a blessing," Aybar said.

Aybar, in his 11th Major League season, spent the first part of the season with an Atlanta team that has been more than 10 games under .500 since April, and he thinks coming to a team in postseason contention could give him a spark.

"Atlanta was a different mindset because of the phase that they're in, but coming here, it's a completely different mindset," Aybar said. "You're trying to win. You're trying to help the rest of the team win ballgames, so it's kind of a completely different thing."

Aybar has ramped up his production at the plate since the All-Star break. His batting average was just a touch above .200 heading into the break, but he has hit .313 since then.

Aybar came to the Tigers having hit safely in 18 of his previous 19 games, posting a .360 average in that span. He was relegated to the disabled list in late May because of a right foot injury, but he has put that, as well as his early season struggles, in the past.

"In baseball; it's not how you start, it's how you finish," Aybar said. "So yeah, I'm feeling a lot better and just trying to finish the year off strong."

Aybar was traded for Minor Leaguer Kade Scivicque and utility man Mike Aviles, who was designated for assignment by the Braves on Wednesday.

Aybar will fill in at shortstop for the injured Jose Iglesias, who is on the DL with a left hamstring strain. Youngster Dixon Machado was called up to fill that void for the time being, and it was initially thought he might head back to Triple-A Toledo with the arrival of Aybar. Machado, however, is sticking with the Tigers for now, while lefty reliever Blaine Hardy was optioned to Toledo.

Outfielders Cameron Maybin (wrist), Tyler Collins (knee) and third baseman Nick Castellanos (hand) are also sidelined, as are pitchers Jordan Zimmermann (lat) and Mike Pelfrey (back).

Manager Brad Ausmus said Aybar will give the team more versatility, especially once the rest of the roster returns to full strength. Aybar's bat, as well as his reliable glove, will provide a boost off the bench.

"He's very experienced, especially at the shortstop position, and he's been a part of some good teams," Ausmus said. "He gives you some flexibility offensively, as opposed to just slugging."

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.