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Brad Eldred takes his big bat to Japan

Jun 19, 2012, 4:10 PM EDT

Brad Eldred AP

Even though Brad Eldred was tied for the minor league lead in home runs, he was released by the Tigers on Tuesday. Of course, it wasn’t because of anything he did wrong; he’s going to Japan to play with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

The 31-year-old Eldred was hitting .305/.374/.695 in 236 at-bats for Triple-A Toledo this season. He was tied with Royals prospect Wil Myers for the minor league lead with 24 homers. He probably would have had a couple more, but he spent eight days in the majors with Detroit earlier this season, going 3-for-16 with a triple and a double.

The Tigers declined to give Eldred a longer look even though they’ve gotten a pathetic .228/.257/.346 line and just three homers in 237 at-bats from their designated hitters this season. They’re looking for a right-handed bat to help out in the middle of their order and Eldred is a right-handed hitter, yet they clearly didn’t think he could do the job.

And maybe they’re right. Eldred got 276 at-bats as a major leaguer and hit .203/.258/.417 with 15 homers. Two-thirds of those came in 2005, and he hadn’t received a real opportunity since. He didn’t seem all that deserving of one until this year, though. While he racked up strong power numbers in previous seasons in Triple-A, it came with modest batting averages and OBPs, 3/1 K/BB ratios and OPSs in the 800s.

Eldred heads east having hit 251 minor league homers in 3,610 at-bats over 11 seasons.

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