Tim Melville, Kyle Lobstein to start off spring schedule
The workout routine ends next week, when the Tigers start playing games and slotting pitchers. Tim Melville and Kyle Lobstein will be among the first. Brad Ausmus named Melville as his starter for Monday’s exhibition against Florida Southern, followed by Lobstein starting Tuesday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Orioles.
Ausmus did not name his starters beyond that. The starts for later next week will be worth watching, since those will be the ones putting pitchers on track to pitch every five days leading up to Opening Day. It’s also worth noting that the Tigers have two sets of split-squad games March 12 and 22 that would put a pitcher on track for the April 6 opener.
Technically, too, Melville could pitch every five days and be on track for the opener, but well, yeah. The Tigers will field a lineup largely of regulars for that game, but most will exit after an inning or two. Melville could get two innings of work, as well as another pitcher, but most will pitch one inning.
The Tigers signed Melville as a minor-league free agent this offseason at age 25. He’s a 6-foot-5 right-hander out of the Royals system who went 2-11 with a 5.50 ERA pitching for former Tigers catcher Vance Wilson at Northwest Arkansas. He’s 24-44 with a 4.79 ERA for his pro career, but he also missed a good portion of 2012 and 2013, so he’s a projection signing.
“He was a highly-touted prospect at one point,” Ausmus said. “Big kid, big pitcher’s frame, tall, lean pitcher frame.”