November 28th, 2012

Tigers spring schedule is out

Seems like every Tigers spring training schedule takes on a different theme, usually a lot of games against a particular club or two, sometimes a stretch of games at some point instead. This year, two themes stand out: They get started early, and they play the National League a lot.

The Nationals and Tigers will meet four times in a 13-day stretch of mid-March, including back-to-back Sundays in Lakeland March 10 and 17. The Braves and Tigers meet four times in the first 14 days of Grapefruit League play, and another time later on. The Phillies, who had been facing the Tigers just a couple times a year the last few years, have four games with the Tigers this spring. The Mets and Tigers, who have become more frequent opponents each spring, will meet five times.

Add in a March 2 visit from the Pirates to Lakeland, a March 16 visit to the Cardinals in Jupiter, a March 25 visit to the Marlins and four games against the Astros, and you have a heavy National League slate for the Tigers. By contrast, the American League portion of the schedule consists of four games with the Rays, Astros and Jays, and two with the Yankees. Detroit won’t face Baltimore, Boston or Minnesota at all.

The schedule starts off March 22 with the Braves at Disney World. Usually, the Tigers try to get in about 11 days of workouts, including days with just pitchers and catchers, before they start playing games. Do the math, and you can guess that the Tigers will report to camp as the second week in February gets underway.

Another note is that the Tigers have added an exhibition game, albeit with their minor-leaguers. Tigers farmhands will face Western Michigan University at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 5, which is one of two off-days on the Tigers’ spring schedule. The annual exhbition with the big club against Florida Southern College, which usually starts off the spring schedule, has been moved back to March 13, which worked out better for both sides.

Here’s the full schedule (home games in caps, all games at 1:05 unless otherwise noted):

  • Feb. 22: Braves at Disney World
  • Feb. 23: BLUE JAYS
  • Feb. 24: PHILLIES
  • Feb. 25: Phillies at Clearwater
  • Feb. 26: Astros at Kissimmee, time TBA
  • Feb. 27: BRAVES
  • Feb. 28: Rays at Port Charlotte
  • March 1: Mets at Port St. Lucie, 1:10
  • March 2 (split squad): PIRATES, Yankees at Tampa
  • March 3: Braves at Disney World
  • March 4: ASTROS
  • March 5: Off-day, minor-league squad plays WMU at Marchant Stadium
  • March 6: BLUE JAYS
  • March 7: Braves at Disney World, 6:05
  • March 8: METS
  • March 9: Blue Jays at Dunedin
  • March 10: NATIONALS
  • March 11: METS
  • March 12: Phillies at Clearwater
  • March 14: Mets at Port St. Lucie, 1:10
  • March 15: BLUE JAYS
  • March 16: Cardinals at Jupiter
  • March 17: NATIONALS
  • March 18: Nationals at Viera
  • March 19: RAYS
  • March 20: Off-day
  • March 21: ASTROS, 6:05
  • March 22: Nationals at Viera
  • March 23: YANKEES
  • March 24: Mets at Port St. Lucie, 1:10
  • March 25: Marlins at Jupiter
  • March 26: BRAVES
  • March 27: PHILLIES
  • March 28: Astros at Kissimmee, time TBA
  • March 29: RAYS
  • March 30: Rays at Tropicana Field

Torii Hunter contract slightly backloaded

Really minor note, but worth noting for payroll purposes as the Tigers continue their offseason shopping: Torii Hunter’s two-year, $26 million contract is actually slightly backloaded. He’ll make $12 million in 2013, then $14 million in 2014. He’ll get a $100,000 bonus each for an All-Star selection, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, LCS or World Series MVP.

Again, not a big deal, but it gives them a little bit more money to work with this year as they try to fill a couple short-term needs — definitely a right-handed hitting outfield to throw into the mix, possibly a closer.