Short eager for chance to play with Detroit

September 1st, 2020

spent most of his summer at home in New York state watching Major League games on television, eyes fixed on the pitcher. It was the closest the Cubs' prospect seemed like he would get to baseball this season.

“It's funny, I found myself watching games on TV trying to get the pitcher's timing down with a bat in my hand,” Short said Monday night, after his trade to the Tigers at the Deadline.

He watched videos of big league hitters and their approach, trying to learn tips and tricks to get more impact out of his style at the plate. He took batting practice at a local facility to stay fresh and tried to imagine game situations. But as he admitted, nothing compares to the feeling of a 100 mph fastball coming at you in the box.

Like many prospects, Short didn’t imagine his summer going like this. But he is the unique case of a player who was on his club’s 40-man roster and in Spring Training -- he went 4-for-21 with a home run, three RBIs, seven walks and nine strikeouts in big league camp -- but was not part of the 60-man player pool. Thus, while other Cubs prospects have been at the alternate training site, Short has been at home.

“They told me it was a numbers thing,” said Short, who is ranked as Detroit's No. 27 prospect by MLB Pipeline. “They have plenty of infield depth. They kind of wanted to have a revolving door with their pitching. That's what they told me as soon as the rosters came out. I was staying ready [during the shutdown], doing my infield work and my hitting and all that, playing a little golf here and there. But it was kind of a gut punch when they told me I wasn't going to be there to start.”

He stayed in shape as best he could in hopes of being added to the pool later in the season. Instead, he spent Tuesday traveling to Detroit to begin the process of joining the Tigers’ player pool after coming over in the Cameron Maybin trade. Once he clears COVID-19 testing and undergoes his physical, he’ll join Detroit’s alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio.

His unique situation worked to the Tigers’ advantage. Under most circumstances, players who are not part of their organization’s player pool weren’t eligible to be traded right away, though they could be included as players to be named later. Since Short was on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, however, he was an exception.

As a result, the Tigers will spend September getting an idea what the 25-year-old infielder can do and where he fits in their system next spring. Much like Detroit’s MLB Draft prep this past spring, with no recent games on which to judge Short, they worked off what they saw of him from last year in the Cubs’ system and in the Arizona Fall League, following that up by talking with people who knew him.

“As far as data and playing information, it was all from last year,” general manager Al Avila said. “We had great reports on him from different people as far as his makeup and health, so we felt comfortable with the information we had, and that's all you can go on.”

Injury updates
• Utility man is performing all on-field baseball activities and is working on baserunning as he nears a return from the 10-day injured list, according to Tigers head athletic trainer Doug Teter. Castro went on the IL on Aug. 19 with a left hamstring strain.

, currently on the 45-day IL with a right forearm strain, is scheduled to throw his final session of live batting practice on Friday. He’s technically eligible to be reinstated, though the Tigers have given no indications of a timetable for him rejoining the team.

(right triceps tendinitis) is finishing the long-toss portion of his throwing progression and will move into mound work in the near future.