By Giana Han | AL.com
After a season that ended abruptly and a break that kept extending and extending and extending, Rankin Woley returned to the practice field with his team Friday and found he is suddenly the old guy on the field.
“Being the oldest guy on the team being a fifth-year, I’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see,” Woley said. “I get called Dad every now and then from some of the younger guys, but that’s part of it.”
Woley may be the oldest, but the roster overall is filled with veterans and leaders. There’s a lot of depth, especially because a lot of players, like Woley, can play multiple positions. For the most part, Woley has played third base.
However, Woley has also seen some time across the diamond at first base, where there is a position battle going as the Tigers figure out who will replace Conor Davis. There are a lot of options from Tyler Miller, who is also switching back and forth to tight end / baseball player John Samuel Shenker to Johnny Ceccoli who was a true freshman during the shortened 2020 season.
The Tigers are also looking to replace catcher Matt Scheffler, who signed a free agent deal with the Seattle Mariners.
In the batter’s box, coach Butch Thompson feels the Tigers also have more power this year. Back during fall ball, he said a lot of players spent quarantine focusing on batting.
“But our challenge is we’ve been together less than we’ve ever been going into a season,” Thompson said. “My mind says control what you can control. Get this team as red as you possibly can because that’s been a strength of our ball club these last few years for sure.”