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Tigers sign Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor league deal

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The Detroit Tigers and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia have agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.

Saltalamacchia returns to the Tigers where he played in 92 games in 2016. Last year he only played ten games in the bigs, all with the Blue Jays. Over the course of his career he is a .233/.307/.409 hitter with 110 homers over 11 seasons.

Signing Saltalamacchia is a a depth move and some injury insurance. He showed last year that he’d accept a minor league assignment and played over the winter in Mexico too, so he’s one of the rare veterans who may stick around and report to Triple-A if there is no room for him on the big league roster. Which, given the presence of James McCann and John Hicks, there does not seem to be.

Attempting to complete cycle, Robinson Chirinos thrown out to end game

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With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.

Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.

The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.

Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.