Omar Rafael Infante [in-FAHN-tay] (born December 26, 1981 in Puerto la Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball utility player who is currently on the Atlanta Braves. He bats and throws right-handed.
In his career, Infante is a .253 hitter with 32 home runs and 154 RBI in 494 games.
Infante entered the 2003 season as the starting shortstop for the Detroit Tigers
. Ramón Santiago
, considered a better glove-man started the season at second base. Considered 2 of the Tigers better prospects, both proved overmatched; Infante hit only .222 with 0 home runs and 8 RBI in over 200 at-bats. Midway through the season, Tigers manager Alan Trammell
sent Infante to the minor leagues for failiing to hustle on a consistent basis. Santiago switched to shortstop after Infante was sent down.
In 2004, Infante lost any chance to claim the starting shortstop role when the Tigers acquired Carlos Guillén
, who went on to be an All-Star that year (Ramón Santiago had been included in the trade for Guillén) . With Guillén at shortstop
and free agent acquisition Fernando Viña
at second base, Infante was likely to spend much of the season in the minors
. Then he received an opportunity in mid-May to play every day at second base when Viña was sidelined for the year by a hamstring injury. He responded by playing solid defense and hitting .264 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI in 142 games.
Infante's rebound in 2004 fueled speculation that he may one day become a star at second base. In 2005, however, he regressed, and the Tigers sought his replacement. In June of that year, the Tigers traded for Plácido Polanco
, who had been filling a utility role with the Philadelphia Phillies
. Polanco became the starting second baseman, and Infante moved to the bench.
2006 and 2007
Following his move to the bench, Infante became a valuable asset as a backup infielder and outfielder. He proved his versatility by filling in at 7 different positions during the 2007 season. Infante also displayed the best offensive numbers of his career.
On November 12
Infante was traded to the Chicago Cubs
for Jacque Jones
On December 4
Infante was traded again, this time along with Will Ohman
to the Atlanta Braves
for Jose Ascanio
. A Cub for less than a month during the off-season, Infante never appeared in a game.