Tigers open to bringing in veteran backup catcher

Tigers open to bringing in veteran backup catcher

Tigers open to bringing in veteran backup catcher
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila has recently started his offseason workouts after a trying 2012 season that saw him miss time with various injuries, including aches and pains in his knees. Whether those aches and pains affect the way the Tigers address their catching depth remains to be seen.

The Tigers feel Bryan Holaday is ready to handle a backup job in the big leagues, but that doesn't mean he'll get that shot this coming season.

"We think he is ready to do that job," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday, "but we're also in a spot where we're open-minded, too."

Avila spent November recuperating after the long season, which included brief bouts with tendinitis. One way the Tigers eased the wear and tear on him over the season's second half was to play veteran Gerald Laird slightly more often than a traditional backup. If they want to keep with that plan, they'll have to decide whether Holaday is a fit for that type of role.

Dombrowski hasn't eliminated the possibility of bringing in a veteran to provide some insurance as the backup catcher. Moreover, the Tigers have left a catching spot open at Triple-A Toledo alongside Brad Davis to stash an insurance catcher.

It might be someone more in the mold of past Tigers catchers like Omir Santos or Dane Sardinha. It most likely will not be a major signing.

It also will not be former All-Star catcher Victor Martinez, who is working his way back after missing all of last season recovering from knee surgery. The only field position Martinez might play, Dombrowski said, is first base on the rare day Prince Fielder isn't there. Team officials don't even plan on having Martinez put on catching gear early in Spring Training to catch side sessions.