Guardians claim C Eric Haase off waivers; veteran was released by Detroit and returns to Cleveland

Detroit Tigers' Eric Haase celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a home run during...
Detroit Tigers' Eric Haase celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)(Mary Schwalm | AP)
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 3:50 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Eric Haase’s baseball journey has brought him back to Cleveland.

The Guardians claimed the veteran catcher off waivers Monday, two days after he was released by the Detroit Tigers. That’s the team he grew up rooting for in Michigan and played on for four seasons.

The 30-year-old Haase broke in with Cleveland, which drafted him 2011. He made his debut for the club in 2018 and played two seasons for the Guardians before being traded.

The Tigers designated him for assignment Saturday during their four-game series in Cleveland after Haase struggled at the plate this season. The right-handed hitter batted just .129 against left-handers and his role had been diminishing while splitting time with catcher Jake Rogers.

Detroit manager AJ Hinch said the decision to release Haase was emotional and difficult, and he had hoped he would get picked up.

Enter the Guardians, who have spent most of this season trying to patch up their catching situation. Mike Zunino, signed as a free agent in the offseason to bring power to Cleveland’s lineup, was released in June.

The Guardians brought up rookie catcher Bo Naylor and used utilityman David Fry behind the plate before he got hurt.

To make room for Haase, the team designated catcher Zack Collins for assignment. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Columbus before a recent callup to Cleveland.