Tigers' Heath feels unwanted

January 14, 1991|By Peter Schmuck

It might have seemed as if everyone was happy after the Baltimore Orioles traded Mickey Tettleton to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, but there was one notable exception.

New-look free agent Mike Heath had been hoping to sign a new contract with the Tigers, but the arrival of Tettleton confirmed his suspicions about the club's intentions.

"I feel the same way I felt before I heard about it," said a disconsolate Heath. "I feel that they don't want me there. Why would they give a guy like Tettleton that kind of money if they weren't going to play him? They can't give him that much money and put him on the bench."

Heath, 35, batted .270 last year with seven home runs and 38 RBI, but had the lowest fielding percentage (.980) of the 19 major-league catchers who appeared in more than 100 games.

Tigers officials still say there is room on the roster for Heath, who can opt to remain with the team in 1991. But Heath indicated that he is entertaining offers from both the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. He appears certain to play somewhere other than Detroit this year.

"I gave them my heart," he said, "and this is what happens."

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