The indications in the Mud Hens clubhouse Monday night were that the team's top hitter would be leaving the team -- and a replacement already had been found.
DH Brad Eldred was scratched from the lineup shortly before the Mud Hens game against Lehigh Valley at Fifth Third Field Monday.
"I'm not sure if I have any kind of obligation or if I'm allowed to say anything," Eldred said after the contest. "You'll just have to wait. Sorry. I wish I could tell you."
Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin confirmed that Eldred was healthy but otherwise had no comment. A published report indicated that Eldred's contract will be sold to a Japanese team. When Eldred was asked if he liked Japanese food, he laughed and said, "We'll see. I don't know. This is the way the game goes. What's going on is probably obviously better for me and my family. That's the way it's got to be. That's obviously where I'm going to go, to do what's best for them. I'm sure you'll find out first thing tomorrow what's going on."
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Eldred entered play Monday as a serious candidate for the International League's Triple Crown. He leads the league with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs, and he began the day fourth in the batting race with a .305 mark. He also tops the league in slugging percentage (.695), extra-base hits (43) and total bases (164) while ranking second in runs scored (49) and fourth in hits (72).
His replacement was in the Mud Hens clubhouse Monday and will be active Tuesday. The Tigers signed 1B-3B Jeff Baisley after he was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple-A club in Albuquerque earlier this month.
Baisley, who will turn 30 in December, played in 64 games for the Isotopes and hit .284 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. Baisley split time between first base (37 games) and third base (20 games), but with Ryan Strieby at first base it makes more sense to use Baisley at third.
"We are looking for some offense, so we hope Baisley adds a little thump in the middle of the order," Nevin said.
Baisley was a 12th-round pick of Oakland in the 2005 first-year player draft. His only major-league time came with the Athletics in 2008, when he hit .256 with five RBIs in 14 games.
His best Triple-A season came with Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League in 2011. That year he batted .303 with 20 home runs and 100 RBIs.