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Jim Leyland’s high hopes for Don Kelly

Don Kelly

Detroit Tigers right fielder Don Kelly tumbles into the stands as he catches an RBI sacrifice fly hit by St. Louis Cardinals’s Matt Holliday that scored Rafael Furcal during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


.173-hitting Don Kelly is playing fist base and batting sixth for the Tigers on Tuesday night, and manager Jim Leyland is way optimistic:

“I’m hoping for Donnie Kelly to maybe get one hit and one RBI,” Leyland said. “If he does that, I’ll be thrilled.”

Of course, it would be bucking the odds a bit. Kelly has started 159 games as a big leaguer and had a hit and an RBI in 39 of them, which works out to 24.5 percent of the time.

Tonight’s start will be Kelly’s first since he rejoined the Tigers over the weekend. After three years of continuous service, he was finally dropped from Detroit’s roster last month after hitting .173/.265/.240 with one homer and seven RBI in 104 at-bats this year. He’s a lifetime .230/.282/.345 hitter.