Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski shed light on his team's plans to shuffle the infield Wednesday -- a plan which will open the door for Nick Castellanos to take over at third base.
Dombrowski, speaking to the media during Joe Nathan's introductory news conference, announced officially that the team would be moving back-to-back American League MVP Miguel Cabrera from third base to first, clearing the way for Castellanos to take over at the hot corner.
Detroit's top prospect was drafted 44th overall in 2010 as a third baseman, but switched to the outfield in 2012. He spent last season patrolling the grassy corners for Triple-A Toledo, and joined the Tigers for 11 games.
Detroit's November trade last month sent first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas in exchange for second baseman Ian Kinsler and opened the door for Cabrera's move to first, where Dombrowski said he hopes to keep him healthier at a less rigorous defensive position.
Dombrowski said Wednesday that new Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has already spoken to Castellanos about moving back to the infield.
"As he told Brad, almost since the day the trade was announced, he's been taking ground balls at third, so he's eager to go back there," the general manager said.
In 134 Triple-A contests last season, Castellanos batted .276 with a .793 OPS, 18 home runs and 76 RBIs in 533 at-bats. He was a September callup to the Major Leagues, where he hit .278 with a a.556 OPS in 18 at-bats. MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo projected prior to 2013 that Castellanos would develop into an exceptional hitter with good discipline and plus power.
"We think he's ready to step in and play for us at the big league level," Dombrowski said. "Don't look for him to be a guy right off the bat that is one of your middle-of-the-lineup key guys.
"That addresses third base. [Steve] Lombardozzi can go there and help him out a little bit. [Don] Kelly can help him out over there too, if we need to rest him."