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Detroit Tigers hope slugger Renato Nunez can fill a void at first base

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Lakeland, Florida – The mismatch of one team could be the missing part of another.

The Tigers were in camp without a full-time first baseman two weeks before the start of spring training. That could have changed on Wednesday.

The club announced that they have signed former Baltimore Orioles bat Renato Nunez for a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Entering his 27-year season, Nunez has been a fixture on the Orioles lineup for the past two seasons – a prolific fixture. He hit 31 home runs and knocked out 151 games in 90 games in 2019. In the 2020 season shortened by the pandemic, 12 homers and 31 RBIs followed in 52 games.

Given his productivity, it came as a surprise that the Orioles decided to designate him for the duty to clear the roster seat prior to drafting Rule 5 last November.

“He’s a good player, a good batsman and a great threat to power,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias told the Baltimore Sun. “Our list isn’t ideal for him in terms of fit. We have several players who play the defensive points he plays and who fill this profile for us. “

Ryan Mountcastle, Trey Mancini and Chris Davis are among the players to take on the batsman role that Nunez has occupied for the past two years.

Surely Nunez will have the opportunity to win her first basic job in Detroit. The Tigers would prefer to play Jeimer Candelario on third base, where he added 5 defensive runs over the last two seasons before moving to first base early last year.

Manager AJ Hinch has said he is ready to use Miguel Cabrera on the first base – depending on his health, of course. Utility players Harold Castro and Niko Goodrum can play first base, as can the journeyman minor league Aderlin Rodriguez, whom the Tigers invited to the Big League camp.

But there is a certain way for Nunez to get the daily job, and not just for a year. He is under team control until 2024.

The Tigers also officially announced the signing of a minor league contract by veteran infielder Greg Garcia on Wednesday. The 31-year-old former cardinal and father will also be in the big league camp.

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Twitter: @cmccosky

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Dusty Kennedy