Bryan Holaday’s hot spring start has put him in contention for a spot on the Detroit Tigers‘ 25-man roster.
After news broke that Jarrod Saltalamacchia was signed by the Detroit Tigers in early December, manager Brad Ausmus made a phone call. On the other end of the phone was backup catcher Bryan Holaday.
Ausmus, according to George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press, went out of his way to ensure Holaday was doing okay after hearing of the Tigers recent signing.
"“The great thing about Doc is he always has the right attitude, and I just wanted to make sure that he wasn’t sweating this and he comes into spring training with the same attitude that we enjoy. That’s one of the great appeals of Holaday is his attitude. He’s a great teammate. Just want him to keep his nose to the grindstone and not change.”"
Holaday is quickly enjoying a nice spring through the first week of exhibition games. He’s put on a rare power display that has gotten the attention of many.
In the 10 games the Tigers have so far played, Holaday is hitting an impressive .636 (7-11) and has already hit three home runs, including a grand slam against the New York Yankees. Last season with the Tigers, Holaday only launched two home runs.
With James McCann already assumed to be the everyday starter and Saltalamacchia his backup, room for Holaday on the 25-man roster did not looking promising heading into camp.
Three catchers one on big league roster is not ideal. McCann hits from the right side, and Salty is a switch hitter who is stronger from the left side. The Tigers seem to have what they want with the guys they currently have.
If Holaday continues to excel, Ausmus may be left with no choice other than to hang on to him when the Tigers head to Miami, Florida for the April 5 season opener.
Holaday has been working out at third base, and finally saw game action there during the March 4 exhibition against the Yankees.
Primarily a catcher, Saltalamacchia has some big league experience at first base as well. 44 of his 713 field appearances have come at first base.
Ausmus could keep all three catchers at the big league level, and use them all in different ways. Salty could back up McCann when a day off is needed, and Holaday could pinch-hit or even get some work in the field at third base.
In order for Holaday to remain with the Tigers, he will have to make the team out of spring training or be placed on waivers, where another team could claim him. If no club adds him, the Tigers will have to assign him to the minors, trade him, or release him.
It’s safe to say the acquisition of Jarrod Saltalamacchia has gotten the attention of Bryan Holaday, as Holaday has started to play with a chip on his shoulder. His torrid spring start has allowed himself to be a serious contender for a roster spot with the Detroit Tigers.