By Manny Randhawa, Special to

(Below is an excerpt of a story appearing on; for entire article, click “Read More”)

LAKELAND, Fla. — From 1977 to 1995, the Tigers featured one of the best double-play combinations in Major League history.

Second baseman Lou Whitaker and shortstop Alan Trammell were Detroit’s defensive pillars up the middle, representing stability and strength where it’s most needed on the diamond. Whitaker and Trammell finished first and fourth, respectively, in the 1978 American League Rookie of the Year Award race, and their chemistry was a key component of the Tigers’ last World Series championship team in 1984.

Thirty years later, Detroit has visions of once again climbing to the pinnacle of baseball glory, having reached the American League Championship Series or the World Series in each of the last three seasons. But any notions of a stable middle infield as the Tigers head toward Opening Day were dashed when it was announced Thursday that shortstop Jose Iglesias likely will miss the season with stress fractures in both shins.

With Iglesias out, the Tigers are hoping Hernan PerezEugenio Suarez or Danny Worth will step up to fill the void. But until it becomes clear who will play short, Detroit’s new second baseman will have to wait for the second half of the club’s double-play duo to emerge.

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