DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers are retiring Lou Whitaker’s No. 1 this coming season.

The team announced its plans Tuesday on Twitter in what can be seen as a clear show of support for Whitaker after the standout second baseman was passed over for Hall of Fame selection earlier this month.

“What a thrill it was to watch Lou Whitaker grace the diamond for nearly two decades – a gifted talent in this glorious game,” Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement.

Whitaker will become the ninth player with his number retired by the Tigers, not counting Jackie Robinson, whose No. 42 has been retired throughout baseball. Almost all of the numbers retired by Detroit were worn by Hall of Famers. The most recent players given this honor were Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, whose numbers were retired in 2018, the year they were also inducted into the Hall.

Whitaker, however, fell short of the votes needed when the modern baseball era committee considered his candidacy this year. That was a disappointment for Detroit fans, but the Tigers will honor him anyway.

“There aren’t a whole lot of words that could describe how I’m feeling right now – but surreal might be the closest one,” Whitaker said. “It was the honor of my life to wear the Olde English `D’ for all 19 years of my career, and share the diamond with so many talented ballplayers along the way.”

Like Trammell and Morris, Whitaker was a key member of the 1984 Tigers, who won the city’s most recent World Series title.

RAYS: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo quickly felt right at home inside Tropicana Field.

One day after the Rays announced the completion of a $12 million, two-year contract with Tsutsugo, the former Japanese star began his opening statement at his introductory news conference Tuesday in English.

“Thank you so much for coming,” Tsutsugo said. “My name is Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Please call me Yoshie.”

Tsutsugo, who turned 28 last month, batted .272 this year with 29 homers and 79 RBI. He had a .285 average with 205 homers and 613 RBI during 10 seasons with Yokohama, including 44 homers and 110 RBIs in 2016.

“Offensively I know I’m able to contribute immediately,” Tsutsugo said through a translator. “Obviously I’ve never faced MLB pitching and I’m really excited about it. But throughout my career in Japan I’ve prepared for this my whole life.”

The left-handed hitting corner outfield-third baseman has hit at least 20 home runs in six consecutive seasons, and earned Pool B MVP honors with Team Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

“He’s got a track record of being really, really successful at a very elite level of baseball,” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said. “Just the way he carries himself. We’re fortunate. We’re getting a guy that can walk in, be himself and be one of our leaders going forward.”

Tsutsugo has come to Los Angeles for a month to work out each of the last six offseasons. This year he spent time with Colorado star Nolan Arenado.

Tsutsugo was made available to major league teams through the posting process by Yokohama of Japan’s Central League.

A contract for $12 million guaranteed requires the Rays to pay a $2.4 million posting fee.

ASTROS: Reliever Joe Smith and the Astros agreed to an $8 million, two-year contract.

Smith, 35, spent the last two seasons with the Astros and is 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 84 appearances for Houston. Smith missed the beginning of last season recovering from Achilles tendon surgery before returning in July and posting a 1.80 ERA in 28 regular-season appearances.

DIAMONDBACKS: The first act of Madison Bumgarner’s baseball career consisted of 11 hugely successful seasons that included three World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants.

The 30-year-old left-handed pitcher believes his second act in Arizona can be just as memorable.

The Diamondbacks finalized their $85 million, five-year contract with the 2014 World Series MVP on Tuesday, announcing the deal and introducing their newest ace at Chase Field.

“First and foremost, winning is what the whole decision was based on,” Bumgarner said. “Being with a team, that in my mind, plays my brand of baseball. Plays the way I like to play.”

Bumgarner’s deal pays $6 million next year, $19 million in 2021, $23 million in 2022 and 2023 and $14 million in 2024. Arizona will defer $5 million annually from 2021 to 2023, money paid in $5 million installments each Nov. 1 from 2025-27. He gets a hotel suite on the road, the right to block trades to five teams and four premium seats at all games.

PIRATES: Catcher Luke Maile and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to a one-year contract that includes salaries of $900,000 while in the major leagues and $325,000 while in the minors.

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