Brad Eldred returned to the Mud Hens Saturday after spending a week with the Tigers. Eldred was called up following a white-hot start with Toledo, where he led all of minor-league baseball in a number of statistical categories.
I talked with Eldred before Saturday's game about his time with Detroit, his demotion, and his attitude.
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU GOT THE WORD ABOUT YOUR PROMOTION? "It was obviously very exciting to get called up, but it was more than that. It was good to be rewarded for swinging the bat well at the time, and hopefully I gave them a little bit of a spark that first game. A lot of times that happens: You have a hot start, or a good year, and you don't get that call.
"It was nice that the Tigers were paying attention to what we were doing down here. It's a lesson for anybody who is down here: If you take care of your business, even as a free agent, they are watching and noticing. And if a situation comes up, they're going to give you a chance."
DID YOU FEEL YOU GOT A CHANCE WITH THE TIGERS? "You want to be up there [in Detroit] rather than in Triple-A. But I got to meet those guys, and now it's easier to root for those guys now that you've met them. I hope for the best for them."
WHAT WERE YOUR EMOTIONS WHEN YOU GOT THE WORD ABOUT YOUR DEMOTION? "Initially it was disappointing at first to be sent down -- who's going to be happy with that? But I also was grateful for that opportunity. There are guys who play their whole career without getting called up to the big leagues. So I'm grateful for that week, and hopefully there's more to come."
HOW IS YOUR ATTITUDE RIGHT NOW? "I don't think anything changes in terms of how I approach the game of baseball. I can't do anything differently. I want to do the same routines, the same early work, and get myself ready for the game. Then when the game starts, I just want to keep it simple and have fun. It's see the ball, hit the ball, see what happens."
WERE YOU SURPRISED TO BE BACK IN THE LINEUP RIGHT AWAY? "I expected it. When I'm here, I want to play. I prefer to play. I'm not the person who wants to sit on the bench and see what's going on. I prefer to be on the field contributing. And every night is an opportunity to do something great, so you want to go out there and see what happens."
MANAGER PHIL NEVIN, ON PUTTING ELDRED IN SATURDAY'S LINEUP: "He's had his rest. He's had two days off. (Laughing)"
"Seriously, it was bad news for me [when he was sent down]. I want good things to happen to my guys. These guys all want to play in the big leagues, and when we send them up there, it's with the hope [that they stay] and I never see them again. Does it change the dynamic of our team? Of course. But I don't expect Brad to come back and do what he was doing. No one can keep up that pace: It's baseball history."
MORE INFO: Click here to read the details about Eldred's demotion. Click here to read a feature I wrote about Eldred just before he was promoted to Detroit. Click here to read some of the "silly" stats he amassed in his first 20 games with the Mud Hens.