Any sportswriter will tell you that some times it's better to be lucky than good. I have some news regarding the Tigers and Mud Hens -- and the only reason I have it is because I got lucky.
First the news: The Tigers are calling up C Bryan Holaday from Toledo. Holaday is expected to be in uniform for Detroit Wednesday when they take on Cleveland. I don't know this as a fact, but I assume from reports out of Detroit tonight that Holaday will take the place of Alex Avila on the Tigers' roster.
OK, why did I say I was lucky? Here's how I found this out ...
I was leaving Fifth Third Field about 11:30 and walking back to the parking lot where the players and coaches park. As I'm walking, I see a familiar figure: Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin. Soon I realize he is talking with a player, and I realize it's Holaday.
Holaday walks quickly to his car and as I walk up to Nevin, he tells me, "Bryan Holaday just got called up to the big leagues."
If I'm five minutes earlier or later, I never find this out. If I never see them together, I may not piece it together. In short, blind luck.
OK, your reward for listening to my story is a scouting report on Holaday. Here we go ...
The 24-year-old Holaday was a sixth-round pick of the Tigers in 2010, and this is his first Triple-A season. In 36 games with the Hens he has hit .248 with no home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored.
Holaday pinch-hit and struck out to end Tuesday's game, and that also ended a five-game hit streak that saw him bat 8-for-20 (.400) in his last six contests. He has six doubles and one triple among his 30 hits on the year.
Defensively, Holaday is solid behind the plate, but he also is still learning the position. He has six errors and has allowed three passed balls. He shines when it comes to throwing out would-be basestealers -- he has thrown out 15 of 39 potential basestealers this season. Those 15 caught stealing is fifth-most among International League catchers, as is the 38.5 percent success rate.
Who will the Mud Hens get to replace Holaday? I have no idea.
I know who the Mud Hens would LIKE to get: Rob Brantly. The 22-year-old Brantly, who was taken in the third round of the 2010 draft, is playing for Double-A Erie and ranks eighth in the Eastern League with a .311 batting average.
Brantly has three home runs and 24 RBIs in 46 games. He also has struck out just 17 times in 180 at-bats, and that ratio of one strikeout every 11.47 at-bats is far and away the best in the Eastern League.
UPDATE: I have heard unofficial word from several sources that Rob Brantly indeed is heading to Toledo from Double-A Erie, and that James McCann is being promoted from Hi-A Lakeland to replace Brantly in Erie.
The 21-year-old McCann was a second-round pick of the Tigers in 2011 -- Detroit's top pick in that draft. He has played in 45 games for the Flying Tigers, batting .288 with no home runs and 20 RBIs.
FINAL THOUGHT: Several people have correctly mentioned that Holaday is not on the Tigers' 40-man roster, so a move will need to be made there to make room for Holaday on the 40-man.
Officially, I have no word on what the Tigers will do to get Holaday on the 40-man.
Here are a few thoughts ... First, for those of you thinking it will be someone such as Omir Santos or Don Kelly or whatever player is today's punching bag, I would doubt it. The Tigers don't have many healthy bodies these days, so it doesn't make sense to give one up.
Moving a player from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list (players on the 60-day DL don't count against a team's limit of 40 players) really doesn't seem to be an option, either. There are three players on the 15-day DL -- Doug Fister, Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson -- and the word is all three should be ready to play soon.
In short, I would guess that it will be a minor leaguer who is on the 40-man. That could be very harmful to the Mud Hens, since the choices include Wednesday's scheduled starter, Thad Weber; Friday's scheduled starter, Adam Wilk; or a reliever such as Matt Hoffman, Jose Ortega or Luke Putkonen.
If this the option, and one of the players I've just names is mentioned, that person will be taken off the Toledo roster until that player passes through waivers. If you are the Tigers, you're hoping it is someone who would pass through waivers unclaimed ... and we will find out tomorrow who it is.