Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Alex Sanchez, who started nearly half of last season in center field for the Detroit Tigers, was released by the team on Tuesday.
The move came less than a week after Sanchez was reunited with his mother and younger brother for the first time in 11 years, after both recently escaped from Cuba.
Sanchez left Cuba in 1994 in an attempt to make it to the United States. He spent nearly 16 months in a refugee camp in Guantanamo Bay before finally arriving in Miami.
With Sanchez getting released, that left a number of players battling for the center field job, including Craig Monroe, Nook Logan, DeWayne Wise and Alexis Gomez. Rondell White is expected to start the season in left field with Magglio Ordonez in right.
The 28-year-old Sanchez hit .322 with two homers and 26 RBI in 79 games last season. He also struck out 50 times against just seven walks and was caught stealing on 13 of his 32 attempts. He missed most of the second half of the year with a quadriceps injury.
The Tigers also placed infielder Fernando Vina on the 60-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and patellar tendinitis in his left knee.