Detroit — A really good story just keeps getting better.
Tigers rookie and hometown guy Eric Haase was named American League Rookie of the Month for July, in a vote by baseball media.
“I love the story,” manager AJ Hinch said. “But I love the player and the production more.”
In 23 games, Haase posted an OPS of .945 and a slugging percentage of .627. He leads the Tigers with 18 home runs, nine of them coming in July. He also knocked in 29 and scored 17.
“His best attribute is how dangerous he can be at the plate,” Hinch said. “He doesn’t ever waver. He’s a threat every time he steps into the box.”
Haase, a Westland native, Dearborn Divine Child grad and Livonia resident, was designated for assignment by the Tigers after a brief seven-game stint last season. He came back on a minor league contract with an invitation to big-league camp and was assigned to Triple-A Toledo.
“We didn’t really give him a legit chance to be the backup catcher,” Hinch said. “He moved him to left field, showed him first base, just trying different ways he might be able to contribute at some point in the big leagues.
“He took that constructively and became a pretty good left fielder and he’s really taken off.”
Did he ever. He hit two home runs in his third game after being called up in May and caught Spencer Turnbull’s no-hitter the next night. He hit seven home runs in his first 18 games and hasn’t looked back.
The Tigers claimed 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Nivaldo Rodriguez off waivers from Houston. He pitched in four games with the Astros this season and allowed two runs in 7.1 innings.
He’s a fastball-sinker pitcher, velocity in the 90-92 mph range. He also throws a slider, change-up and curve ball. He was the No. 25 prospect in the Astros system.
Rodriguez was assigned to Triple-A Toledo.
The Tigers now have one open spot on their 40-man roster.