Reunited: Holaday catches Jaye's MLB debut

Traded for each other last year, Tigers' duo became teammates in Toledo and formed strong battery Saturday

Reunited: Holaday catches Jaye's MLB debut

DETROIT -- Bryan Holaday and Myles Jaye were traded for each other 18 months ago. They became a pitching battery this summer at Triple-A Toledo. On Saturday afternoon, they had lockers next to each other at Comerica Park.

"Definitely unusual," Holaday said before the game, "especially a guy I didn't like."

He was kidding, which was good once Jaye took the mound for his Major League debut later that evening. With 3 1/3 scoreless innings, they made quite a duo despite a 5-2 loss to the Indians.

"It's pretty special, I guess, to be traded for someone and then catch them in their debut," Holaday said.

Holaday, a 2010 Draft pick of Detroit, played parts of four seasons with the Tigers to start his career. With Miguel Cabrera serving a suspension, he's the only position player on the roster who played on the 2012 team that went to the World Series.

Holaday was in Spring Training in 2016 -- he even hung out with famous Tigers fan and musician Jack White -- but was out of Minor League options, so when the Tigers kept Jarrod Saltalamacchia to back up James McCann, they expected to lose Holaday on waivers if they tried to get him to Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers traded Holaday to Texas for veteran backstop Bobby Wilson and a young pitching prospect in Jaye. Wilson lasted just a month, playing five games in Detroit, before being traded back to the Rangers for another Minor League pitcher named Chad Bell. He's the Tigers' starting pitcher for Sunday.

Jaye stayed in the Tigers' system and bounced between Toledo and Double-A Erie. When the Tigers needed extra pitching for September, they called him up.

Holaday lasted a half-season with the Rangers, playing 29 games in Texas, before being claimed on waivers by the Red Sox. After the Phillies released him at the end of this Spring Training, he decided to come back, signing on as an insurance catcher and reporting to Toledo.

Holaday's RBI single

His .774 OPS with the Mud Hens was his best of any full Minor League season, but it was his catching ability that earned him regard. When the Tigers needed a third catcher to call up for September, they added him to the 40-man roster.

Jaye arrived a day later. And while Holaday's uncanny success against Corey Kluber earned him his first Major League start since last year, his work with Jaye helped once the big right-hander replaced starter Jordan Zimmermann for the sixth inning.

"We've got three great catchers here, so any of them could have got the job done," Jaye said. "But I think Doc, having caught me quite a bit in Toledo, helped ease the nerves a little bit."

Jaye attacked Indians hitters with a sneaky fastball that plays tougher than its low-90s velocity. Though he induced no strikeouts and just three swing-and-misses over 47 pitches, he coaxed eight ground-ball outs from the Tribe lineup. His two hits allowed were both infield singles.

"I thought that his composure out there on the mound was excellent," Holaday said. "He attacked hitters, used his sinker and got a lot of ground balls."

He would have finished out the game if not for back-to-back hit batters with one out in the ninth. He still did plenty to keep Detroit's deficit relatively small, giving them a chance to try a comeback.

Holaday began the attempt, thanks to his success off Kluber. His third-inning double just out of the reach of Bradley Zimmer in center gave the Tigers a leadoff runner in scoring position, but they couldn't capitalize. When he came up with a runner on third in the seventh inning, he kept his approach simple, lining a first-pitch fastball into right-center for an RBI.

Zimmer's all-out attempt

With that, he improved to 7-for-14 off Kluber for his career.

"I'm just trying to get a good pitch to hit and then put it in play," Holaday said. "It's just one of those things, I guess."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.