First Pitch: Iglesias has chaotic first day in Detroit

BY foxsports • August 2, 2013

By DAVE HOGGFOXSPORTSDETROIT.COM
DETROIT -- Detroit's shortstop of the future spent a couple hours being the second baseman of the present. Now, though, he's a third baseman.
He's also caught in a furor that he knew nothing about, through no fault of his own.
It has certainly been a strange welcome to the Tigers for Jose Iglesias. The Tigers traded for him late Tuesday night as a replacement for Jhonny Peralta, but the latest delays in the Biogenesis case mean that Peralta's still here, and still in the lineup. Instead, Iglesias was going to  make his Tigers debut Friday night at second base, a position he had already started at in his professional career. 
"Shortstop is my natural position, but I just want to play and help my new team win," Iglesias said in his first meeting with the Detroit media. "I don't care where they put me."
Iglesias is 23, but looks younger. Much younger, in Jim Leyland's eyes.
"I met him today and he looks like he's 16," Leyland said. "I've been in this game a long time, but meeting him was the first time I had ever felt really old."
Leyland had mentioned at his 3:35 press conference that, since Iglesias had played a lot of third base for Boston, he could play him there if Miguel Cabrera suffered another setback in his ongoing injury struggles. Sure enough, 90 minutes later, the Tigers announced that Cabrera had been scratched and Iglesias is indeed making his debut at third base.
After all of that, he still wasn't entirely sure what number he will be wearing. Iglesias had been wearing No. 10 for the Red Sox, but when he was traded to Detroit, that number already belonged to Leyland. Iglesias then asked if anyone was wearing his favorite jersey, No. 1. He was told that it was available, so he understandably took it. 
That has angered a lot of long-time Tiger fans, who believe No. 1 should have been retired for Lou Whitaker, but Iglesias had no way of knowing that. He was five when Whitaker retired, and didn't defect from Cuba to Canada until 2008. 
"I was told that the No. 1 jersey is very special in this organization," Iglesias said. "It belonged to a great player, and even though I never saw him play, I know that it is very important that I represent it well."
Leyland didn't know that Iglesias had been given the No. 1, and came up with a quick solution.
"He wore No. 10 in Boston? I'll offer it to him today," he said. "If he takes it, I'll wear whatever they've got available. The only number I won't wear is No. 14. I hate that number. My older brother wore it as a high-school football star, and I always hated it. I didn't hate my brother, of course. Just the number."
Austin Jackson, Detroit's current No. 14, was probably relieved to hear that.
The issue is that, with one exception, the Tigers have never retired the number of a player who hasn't been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The sole exception is Willie Horton, who was honored as much for his services to the franchise and the city -- a native Detroiter, he went into the 1967 riots in full uniform to try to calm down the crowds.
Whitaker and Alan Trammell have both fallen short of election to Cooperstown, and their numbers have remained in circulation. Gary Sheffield wore Trammell's #3 during his brief Tigers career, and now Iglesias has taken #1. Only Jack Morris' #47 has stayed on the shelf, as he has come very close to Cooperstown in recent votes.
GOODBYE, MR. PEREZ ... MAYBE: To make room on the 40-man roster for Iglesias, Hernan Perez was optioned back to Double-A Erie. Perez, though, was still at his locker in the Tigers clubhouse and didn't seem to be in any hurry to pack. The reason is an obscure rule that will probably come into play in the next few days.
Normally, when a player is optioned to the minors, he has to stay there for 10 days before he can be recalled. That rule doesn't apply if a player on the major-league roster goes on the disabled list, the concussion list, the bereavement list or the suspended/ineligible list. The last one is the important one here, because Perez will immediately be eligible to replace Peralta when his seemingly inevitable suspension finally comes down.
There is a different rule that complicates things, though. Perez only has 72 hours to report to Erie, so if Peralta hasn't been suspended by Monday, he might have to make a token appearance with the SeaWolves before returning to Detroit. The rules of baseball really aren't set up to deal with a player who knows he's going to be suspended, but doesn't know when.
DANCING WITH THE ALL-STARS: Leyland didn't get up and dance or sing at Thursday's charity event, but he had a great time and was especially proud of the moves shown by members of the Tigers family, including FOX Sports Detroit's Shannon Hogan.
"Torii was the assistant MC, and he did a great job, Dirks looked good dancing, Santi looked good, Anibal's wife was great and Max's girlfriend was really good," he said.
"Shannon was really great, though," he added, teasing her in front of her fellow media members. "You should have seen her."
Leyland said that he wasn't worried about any of his players getting hurt.
"Dirks wasn't jumping around, and Santi didn't really dance. He just sort of walked around to the music."
Moments later, Leyland was informed that Santiago had won the competition, edging out Erica May (Scherzer's girlfriend) and Kelly Hall (Matt Stafford's girlfriend). 
"He did?" Leyland said, the disbelief obvious in his voice. "I thought one of the girlfriends had won. They were great."
Several other Tigers took part, as audience members bid for the chance to play catch with Cabrera, Jackson, and in a strange moment, Hunter paid $10,000 for the chance to play catch with Matt Tuiasosopo.


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