“Cruceta has pitched very well this winter in the Dominican Republic,” Dombrowski said. “He is a quality prospect and we expect him to compete for a spot in our bullpen in 2008.”
He did do well with the Gigantes del Cibao in the Liga de Beisbol Dominicano where he played with fellow Tigers Jose Capellan, Aquilino Lopez and Jordan Tata. Francisco fared better than the other Tigers earning a 1.02 ERA in just over 17 innings of work:
|Liga de Beisbol Dominicano||17.2||1.02||11||2||26||8||3.25|
|PCL (AAA 2007)||65.2||3.02||38||22||70||40||1.75|
While he had good looking numbers, the walk rate is what really worries me. His K/BB ratio was significantly better in the Dominican League than any of his years in the minor leagues where he walked more batters than hits he gave up last year. His big league appearances have been pretty bad but he’s seen very little time there and the Tigers obviously saw something they liked.
Cruceta will get an opportunity to pitch in the bullpen this year.
On another, smaller note, Chris Shelton and Timo Perez were DFA’d making room on the Kenny Rogers and Cruceta. I had thought Perez might remain on the 40-man and compete to be in the outfield. Chris Shelton was no surprise and this move was to be expected and we can likely expect not to see Chris in a Tiger uniform again barring some catastrophe. One memory I will always have of Chris Shelton was during the 2006 season. It was on-field coaching session day they had for the kids. Chris was asked if he had ever used steroids to which he responded, while looking at his stomach, “If I have, It isn’t working.”