09/11/2002 1:40 pm ET
MLBeat: Tigers error-prone
Simon, Jackson, Inge get first starts of the series
By Todd Lorenz / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- After making two errors Tuesday in an 11-4 loss to Minnesota at the Metrodome, the Tigers took over the Major League lead in errors.
Entering Wednesday's game, the Tigers now have made 125 errors and are in a last-place tie with the New York Mets with a .971 fielding percentage.
Right fielder Robert Fick, who is spending his first season as an everyday outfielder, leads all AL outfielders with 10 miscues but also leads the AL in outfield assists with 17.
The normally reliable Bobby Higginson is having a tough season in the outfield as well, he has seven errors and currently owns a career-low .971 fielding percentage.
Shane Halter got his shot in the Majors as a defensive specialist, but has made 15 errors in 80 games at shortstop this season while Chris Truby and Craig Paquette have a combined .950 fielding percentage at third base, making 18 miscues in 360 total chances.
"The numbers show that our defense is not good," Tigers manager Luis Pujols said. "I'm not saying I'm lying. The numbers speak for themselves. I don't have to explain anything -- the numbers are there. That's it. We're last. And we still got 17 games left."
Fresh faces: With a day game following a night game, Pujols decided to juggle his lineup for Wednesday's finale with the Twins.
Randall Simon, Damian Jackson and Brandon Inge made their first appearances of the series while Paquette got his first start since Sept. 4.
"A bunch of guys are going to get a rest," said Pujols after Tuesday's game. "I know the last time we played Radke here Paquette hit a home run, so Craig is going to play."
Omar makes an impact: Rookie shortstop Omar Infante has been tearing it up from the bottom of the order in his first four big league games and Pujols rewarded him by moving him up to the second slot Wednesday.
Infante is hitting .429 since being called up and pulled his first Major League homer over the left-field wall in Tuesday's loss after hitting just four longballs all season for Triple-A Toledo.
"Sometimes he has power, but most of the time it's the other way," Pujols said.
Competition at catcher: Pujols has told catchers Mike Rivera and Inge not to consider the remaining weeks as a competition for next season's starting job. Pujols plans to have the two split time down the stretch in an attempt to get them some more Major League experience.
"I don't think they can see their playing time now as a competition." Pujols said. "I think the playing time that I'm giving those guys now is so they can see what the big leagues are all about. The competition is really going to be in Spring Training so everybody is going to have to come in in shape and be ready to compete for a job.
"I'm not going to make a decision about next year based on what happens in the next few weeks. We still got a long way. I want those guys to feel comfortable and play. And get the best out of those guys."
Fantasy Edge: Higginson entered Wednesday's game with a three-game hitting streak. He has gone 4-for-11 during the short run.
Todd Lorenz is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.