Louis Coleman’s future in pro baseball may be over.
The former Pillow Academy standout and longtime Schlater resident was released by the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate Todelo at the end of spring training. The news came as a shocker to Coleman, who enjoyed a career resurgence in the Tigers’ bullpen last year after being called up from Triple-A Toledo last May. The right-hander allowed 43 hits over 511/3 innings, with 24 walks and 41 strikeouts, recording five holds while suffering three blown saves.
The Tigers removed Coleman, 33, from the 40-man roster once the season ended, making him a free agent rather than going through arbitration. But the team signed him again in December to a minor league deal.
“I understand the business side of baseball so I understood why I got sent down to minor league camp with about 10 days left in spring training, although I thought I had a really good chance to make that team out of spring. But yes, I was very surprised by the fact that I didn’t go to AAA but instead was released.”
The former SEC standout and SEC pitcher of the year now lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, with his family. He is still pitching some and hopes some team comes calling soon.
“I am just at home waiting on a phone call as I am now a free agent,” he said. “I am throwing to high school hitters now and will probably go to LSU to work out next week.”
He was out of work and just looking for a chance to prove himself all over again after he was actually signed and cut twice by Arizona.
Then came a chance with the Tigers, who brought Coleman into minor-league camp on Feb. 23, and he was invited to pitch in a couple of spring training games with the Tigers. That earned him a spot in Toledo, where he was closing games. He saved eight and allowed four runs with 15 strikeouts in 15 innings.
Coleman is now hoping for one last opportunity to add to his already five years of work in the Major Leagues.
MLB players must play 43 days in the majors to earn a minimum $34,000 annual pension plan. Just one day in the majors gets them lifetime healthcare coverage. After 10 years in the big leagues, benefits grow to $100,000 annually.
According to the website www.spotrac.com, Coleman was paid an annual salary of $545,000 last season — giving him a total of about $3.3M earned over his MLB career.
“I am just waiting to see what the future has in store,” Coleman said. “I hope it’s not over, but if it is, it was a great ride.”
• Contact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.