Youngsters Rushed to the Bigs

Tony's wearing the ol' English 'D' for real now

Chris Shelton for Carlos Pena, a bit of a surprise, but not completely unwarranted with Shelton hitting and Pena struggling. But the real shocker came Wednesday, when the Tigers designated utility infielder Jason Smith for assignment and called up Tony Giarratano.

Chris Shelton showed his bat was ready - though it was never much of a surprise. Shelton had hit well at every level, and was simply destroying the ball at Toledo with a .331-8-39 line.

That start by Shelton coupled with the depressing start by Carlos Pena meant action needed to be taken, and calling up Shelton and sending down Pena was an easy call, as Pena still had an option remaining and Shelton's bat was ready.

Of course, ideally Shelton would get an opportunity to learn to play first base more extensively, but while his defense may need work, his bat is ready.

The second move though turned a number of heads, as the Tigers called up Tony Giarratano from AA Erie, designating Jason Smith for assignment. The move comes as a surprise as Giarratano was in just his second full professional season.

Besides his inexperience, Giarratano had displayed signs that he likely still needed more seasoning in the minors, as he was hitting just .253 in 170 at bats. Of course, a terribly slow start put him in a hole that he's been digging himself out of ever since.

Nonetheless, Giarratano isn't showing quite the same patience he did last year with West Michigan, with an OBP of .330. His strikeouts are high as well, with 43 (and just 21 walks).

But, manager Alan Trammell wanted an everyday shortstop, and after impressing Trammell throughout spring training, Giarratano became the guy, at least as long as Carlos Guillen can't play everyday.

Whether or not Tony is ready remains to be seen., but, his time is now as he gets his first shot.

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