Holaday looks to bring Detroit experience to Toledo tenureWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bryan Holaday knows he’s just one injury away from a trip up to Detroit.
After spending all of last season with the Detroit Tigers, the 27-year-old catcher is beginning the 2015 season with the Toledo Mud Hens, a team he’s quite familiar with.
Former Mud Hen James McCann has replaced Holaday to serve as starting catcher Alex Avila’s backup to begin the Major League Baseball season, but Holaday knows the call to play 50 miles north could come at any time.
“I’m very optimistic,” Holaday said at the Mud Hens media day April 7. “I get a chance to play every day and get better. Not everybody gets a chance like that. I’m really excited — we have a good group of guys here and I’m going to learn and get better.”
Holaday, who spent time in Toledo in 2012 and 2013, will look to improve the numbers he posted in Detroit last season, when he appeared in 62 games, turning in a .231 batting average in 156 at-bats. The reserve catcher, called upon to fill in when Avila missed time due to a concussion, actually bested Avila’s average of .218.
“Just getting at-bats is going to be very helpful,” Holaday said. “I’ve made a lot of adjustments with my swing in the offseason and my timing will benefit a lot from getting a lot of at-bats.
“It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, when you’re making adjustments, it’s not going to come overnight. In the spring, you have a lot of guys there, so you’re getting a limited amount of work; it’s tough to get that timing down and get that good feeling,” he said. “Toward the end of spring, I started feeling better and better, and I’m looking to carry it into the season.”
Holaday believes the Mud Hens have some strength on the mound.
“Most of these guys are guys I’ve known for a while and caught before,” he said. “We’ve got some really good arms, some great arms out of the bullpen, so it’s going to be a lot of fun catching these guys and working with them.”