Sanchez, Infante join Tigers
Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante walked into the Detroit Tigers clubhouse for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
The atmosphere was festive as they exchanged handshakes and hugs with their new teammates about three hours before Detroit's game against the Indians.
Sanchez and Infante were acquired from Miami on Monday in a trade that will further strengthen a team that appears to be on the verge of taking control of the AL Central. Sanchez, a right-hander, will add depth to the rotation while Infante could be the solution to Detroit's season-long problems at second base.
The Tigers, who have won five straight and 13 of 15, lead Chicago by one game and third-place Cleveland by four games in the Central.
Detroit sent 21-year-old righty Jacob Turner, considered its top pitching prospect, and two minor leaguers to the Marlins. Tigers manager Jim Leyland realizes there are no guarantees when it comes to a trade, but he credited general manager Dave Dombrowski for pulling off the deal.
''He's not afraid to make a trade,'' Leyland said. ''That's the one thing I respect about him. We're obviously trying to win now. This is a smart general manager doing his job.''
Leyland said Dombrowski told him a couple of days ago about the possibility of the trade. Leyland is familiar with Infante, who played with the Tigers from 2002-07. The manager added he didn't expect to acquire a pitcher and doesn't know much about Sanchez other than from scouting reports.
The Tigers traded for right-hander Doug Fister before last season's trade deadline, a move that helped them pull away and win the division by 15 games. Sanchez, 28, was 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA in 19 starts for Miami.
''This is Dave at his best,'' Leyland said. ''I felt it was important to add another starting pitcher. You don't know how it's going to work out. Last year it worked out great. I think another starting pitcher with some whiskers is good.''
''This team is in first place,'' Sanchez said. ''They have a couple of superstars. It's a good opportunity to be in the playoffs.''
Infante hit .287 with 10 stolen bases and will be an upgrade over Ryan Raburn (.172 average), Ramon Santiago (.216) and Danny Worth (.215).
''He's our second baseman as of today,'' Leyland said. ''That's why we got him.''
''This is a great family here,'' said Infante, who batted ninth Tuesday. ''I'm very happy.''
Worth was optioned to Triple-A Toledo after the trade. The Tigers also dealt catcher Rob Brantley and left-hander Brian Flynn to the Marlins.