|Born: December 26, 1981|
Puerto la Cruz, Anzoátegui, Venezuela
|September 7, 2002, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 6, 2016, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||542|
|Career highlights and awards|
Omar Rafael Infante [in-FAHN-tay] (born December 26, 1981) is a Venezuelan former professional baseball second baseman. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, and Kansas City Royals. He was an All-Star in 2010, and won a World Series in 2015. While primarily a second baseman, he has experience at every position except for pitcher, catcher, and first base.
Infante made his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers on September 7, 2002. 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 two of the Tigers better prospects, both proved overmatched; Infante hit .222 with no home runs and eight RBIs in over 200 at-bats.
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 (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 RBIs 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.
Following his move to the bench, Infante played seven different positions during the 2007 season.
On November 12, 2007 Infante was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Jacque Jones. On December 4, 2007 Infante was traded again, this time along with Will Ohman to the Atlanta Braves for José Ascanio. A Cub for less than a month during the off-season, Infante never appeared in a game.
National League manager Charlie Manuel selected Infante to the 2010 National League All-Star Team, earning Infante his first selection after proving to be one of the most valuable utility men in the National League. Infante was one of six Braves on the All-Star team.
After the 2010 season, Infante and reliever Michael Dunn were traded to the Florida Marlins for second baseman Dan Uggla. On September 27, 2011, it was announced that Infante and the Marlins had agreed on a two-year extension, worth around $8 million.
In 2011, Infante lead the Majors in fielding assists.
In Game 4 of the 2012 World Series on October 28, 2012, Infante suffered a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch.
Infante had a stellar 2013 season for the Tigers, despite spending over a month on the disabled list with a lower leg injury. He hit .318, his highest batting average since his career best .321 in 2010 with the Braves along with 10 home runs and 51 RBI. He also posted the highest slugging percentage of his career (.450).
After struggling in the post season, on October 22, 2014 Infante hit a 2-run home run against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the 6th inning in a 5-run inning to lift the Royals past the Giants in a 7-2 victory.
During the 2015 season, Infante took part in many defensive gems while teaming with Gold Glove shortstop Alcides Escobar, and also experienced an offensive highlight by knocking in a career-high seven runs against the Cleveland Indians on September 18, 2015. But Infante lost his starting job for the latter part of the 2015 season after the Royals acquired Ben Zobrist before the trade deadline. Infante won his first championship, but played only sparingly as the Royals won the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series in 2015.
After hitting just .238 in parts of three injury-riddled seasons with the Royals, Infante was designated for assignment on June 15, 2016. He was currently second in the all-star ballot at the time of his release. He cleared waivers and became a free agent on June 23.