Author Archive

Tigers open contract discussions with David Price

The Tigers have opened discussions with David Price and his agent, Bo McKinnis, about the potential of a contract extension. At this point, however, they’re basically talking about concepts. No numbers have been mentioned, Price said this morning.

“I wouldn’t even call it groundwork,” Price said. “I wouldn’t even say that groundwork is being laid.”

In other words, talks are exploratory at this point. The two sides are “feeling out” each other, as Price said.

Price met with McKinnis Tuesday night after McKinnis talked with the Tigers earlier Tuesday. Price is generally staying out of talks at this point. He’ll get involved if something gets close. That’s a long way off at this point.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski has said repeatedly that he’s not going to comment on any talks, other than to say that they’re interested in keeping Price in Detroit long term. The Tigers took some reaction around this time last spring when a press release said that Max Scherzer had turned down a contract offer and the two sides had agreed to table talks until after the season. As it turned out, there were no serious talks after the season.

Price has not ruled out contract talks during the season.

Jose Iglesias’ classic car and its cultural statement

Photos 034

The Tigers parking lot at Joker Marchant Stadium can resemble an auto show some mornings. Justin Verlander’s rotation of sports cars is dizzying. Alfredo Simon’s chrome-painted Mercedes and Yoenis Cespedes’ black Lamborghini have been well-documented.

In that crowd, a classic car can look completely out of place. But then, a baby blue 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible doesn’t have to blend in. If it seems like a surprise in a Major Leaguer’s collection, consider the player who owns it.

“Always been my favorite car,” said shortstop Jose Iglesias, who is 35 years younger than his car.

Photos 033The car also predates the Castro revolution in Cuba and the embargo between the Island nation and the United States. Between the severing of economic ties and restrictions on new car purchases, classic American cars, bought before the revolution, were vital transportation and maintained for years. Those that lasted, despite a lack of replacement parts, became valuable commodities.

Iglesias bought his car this offseason in Miami.

“My dad likes it,” Iglesias said. “When I saw the car, I said, ‘This is it.’ Convertible. And it’s really rare. It’s different.”

It’s something he could only dream of when he was growing up in Cuba.

“Now I have the money to have it,” Iglesias said. “In Cuba? No chance.”

Will he drive it to Detroit this season? He’s not sure. The early-season weather might lead him to keep it at home.

Sunday’s lineups: Cabrera, VMart both batting third

The Tigers’ final set of split-squad games Sunday will also mark their first games with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Both will make their Spring Training debuts after spending most of camp rehabbing from their respective offseason surgeries.

Cabrera will bat third as the designated hitter for the Tigers’ home game against the Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium. Martinez will be the DH in the Tigers’ road tilt against the Braves at Disney World, also batting third.

Both are expected to get three plate appearances, manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday morning. They’ll be off on Monday, the Tigers’ only scheduled off-day of the Grapefruit League schedule.

From there, the Tigers will have to find at-bats on both sides of camp for a few days until Cabrera is cleared to play first base, though Cabrera said Saturday he’d like to play first base to keep his ankle loose. One of them will then play Tuesday night against the Yankees in Tampa, while the other will get at-bats in a minor-league game.

One way or another, they’ll have close to two weeks of at-bats to get ready for regular season pitching before the Tigers open the season April 6 against the Twins at Comerica Park. It would be fewer at-bats than they’re used to in a typical camp, but should be enough to get their timing down at the plate as long as they feel healthy.

“It’s good that they’re able to partake in the games,” Ausmus said Saturday, “but this does not mean that come April 6 they’ll be ready.”

Even so, their return to Spring Training allows Ausmus to tinker with batting orders. Catcher Alex Avila, for instance, will bat in front of Cabrera for the first time Sunday, following through on an idea Ausmus has been considering with batting Avila second.

“I’m sure I’ll see a lot of curveballs,” Avila deadpanned Sunday morning.

Here are the lineups for the Tigers’ split-squad games Sunday:

TIGERS VS. NATIONALS
1. Rajai Davis, CF
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Miguel Cabrera, DH
4. J.D. Martinez, RF
5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
7. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
8. Hernan Perez, SS
9. Josh Wilson, 2B
P: Justin Verlander, Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, Blaine Hardy

Nationals:
1. Michael Taylor, CF
2. Derrick Robinson, RF
3. Dan Uggla, 2B
4. Mike Carp, 1B
5. Tyler Moore, LF
6. Ian Stewart, 3B
7. Sandy Leon, C
8. Emmanuel Burriss, SS
9. A.J. Cole, P

TIGERS AT BRAVES
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Jose Iglesias, SS
3. Victor Martinez, DH
4. Tyler Collins, LF
5. James McCann, C
6. Aaron Westlake, 1B
7. Jefry Marte, 3B
8. Andrew Romine, RF
9. Anthony Gose, CF
P: Kyle Lobstein, Al Alburquerque, Buck Farmer, Alberto Cabrera, Bruce Rondon

Braves:
1. Eury Perez, RF
2. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
3. Kelly Johnson, 1B
4. Jonny Gomes, LF
5. A.J. Pierzynski, C
6. Todd Cunningham, CF
7. Pedro Ciriaco, SS
8. Phil Gosselin, 2B
9. Shelby Miller, P

Cabrera, Martinez could return as soon as Sunday

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez could be a few trips around the bases away from returning to the Tigers lineup as soon as Sunday.

Depending on how the two injured sluggers run the bases in drills, manager Brad Ausmus said they could get into a game Sunday, either one of the Tigers’ split-squad contests or in a minor-league game across the street at Tigertown.

Ausmus called it “an outside shot,” but acknowledged the possibility.

“We want to get them at-bats, but the final hurdle in terms of getting them into a game on the Major League side would be running the bases,” Ausmus said Saturday morning. “Once they can run the bases and we’re confident that they’re comfortable running the bases, that the re-injury risk is a minimum, then I think that’s the point where we can put them into a game.”

If they can do so Sunday, the schedule works in their favor. Sunday marks the Tigers’ final split-squad set of the spring, allowing the team to start both of them at designated hitter. The Tigers host the Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium, but also travel to face the Braves at Disney World, close to Martinez’s Orlando home.

If the Tigers aren’t all that comfortable having Cabrera and Martinez run bases, the minor-league games present a viable alternative.

“If you do it on the minor-league side, you can put them into a game and they don’t have to run the bases,” Ausmus said. “They can just hit and the team takes the out. They can get some repetition of seeing pitches and swinging the bat without having to run.”

The Tigers can also tweak the lineup in a minor-league game to have them bat every inning if they want. While the Tigers are off on Monday, they have intersquad games scheduled on the minor-league side.

Cabrera and Martinez have spent camp rehabbing from offseason surgeries with hopes of being ready on or around for Opening Day. Cabrera underwent surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his right ankle and repair a stress fracture in his right foot. He was cleared for baseball activity around the start of camp.

Martinez had the more recent surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee, suffered while playing catch at the end of January. His surgery, however, had a shorter timetable for recovery.

A return on Sunday would give Cabrera and/or Martinez close to two weeks of at-bats to get ready for regular-season pitching. It would be fewer at-bats than they’re used to in a typical camp, but should be enough to get their timing down at the plate as long as they feel healthy.

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Mets

The Tigers were in line to face Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard until he was optioned out on Friday. Instead, the Tigers will face left-hander Steven Matz, who has had a decent spring. He’ll face a decent number of regulars, including Alex Avila batting second in the DH spot.

The Mets lineup features Alex Castellanos at first base, where he could well end up retiring Nick Castellanos in an at-bat today. Both are from south Florida, but the two are not related.

Today’s game is available online at MLB Gameday Audio and over the air on 97.1 in Detroit.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Alex Avila, DH
  3. J.D. Martinez, RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. Aaron Westlake, 1B
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Hernan Perez, 2B
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: David Price, Angel Nesbitt, Kyle Ryan, Ian Krol, Rafael Dolis

METS

  1. Juan Lagares, CF
  2. Ruben Tejada, SS
  3. Lucas Duda, DH
  4. John Mayberry Jr., LF
  5. Eric Campbell, 3B
  6. Anthony Recker, C
  7. Alex Castellanos, 1B
  8. Daniel Muno, 2B
  9. Cesar Puello, RF

P: Steven Matz, Jeurys Familiar, Chase Bradford, Jack Leathersich, Dario Alvarez, Jenrry Mejia

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at Nationals

After last night’s game in Bradenton featured the Tigers’ healthy regular fielders, their top four outfielders are all in the lineup for today’s trip to Florida’s other coast to face the Nationals. Rajai Davis will be the designated hitter. There’s also a pretty short pitching list, so look for Anibal Sanchez to get stretched out today.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, DH
  2. Anthony Gose, CF
  3. J.D. Martinez, RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  5. Aaron Westlake, 1B
  6. Hernan Perez, SS
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Josh Wilson, 2B
  9. Andrew Romine, 3B

P: Anibal Sanchez, Buck Farmer, Al Alburquerque, Blaine Hardy

NATIONALS

  1. Michael Taylor, CF
  2. Ian Desmond, SS
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Wilson Ramos, C
  6. Ian Stewart, 3B
  7. Kila Ka’aihue, LF
  8. David Espinosa, 2B
  9. Gio Gonzalez, P

P: Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark, Matt Thornton, Manny Delcarmen, Matt Grace, Evan Meek, Aaron Barrett

Tigers get at least seven FOX Saturday Baseball appearances

FOX announced its first-version list of Saturday baseball broadcasts on the national network and Fox Sports 1, and it includes a lot of Tigers games. Detroit will get seven Saturday national or regional broadcasts.

Most of them do not involve a major scheduling change. All that shifts is the television network and, in some cases, the availability on MLB.TV.

Here’s the list (all times Eastern):

  • April 25: Indians at Tigers, 1pm, Fox Sports 1
  • May 9: Royals at Tigers, 1pm, Fox Sports 1
  • June 6: Tigers at White Sox, 7pm, FOX regional
  • July 11: Tigers at Twins, 4pm, Fox Sports 1
  • August 22: Rangers at Tigers, 7pm, FOX national
  • Sept. 12: Tigers at Indians, 7pm, Fox Sports 1
  • Sept. 19: Royals at Tigers, 7pm, Fox Sports 1

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Pirates

The first night game of Spring Training always brings some down time in the afternoon waiting for the game. The Tigers — those who aren’t on the travel roster tonight — worked out from late morning through the lunch hour, before the travel guys arrived to catch the bus. Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez took a lot of batting practice, though Brad Ausmus cautioned they’re not necessarily on the verge of game action quite yet.

“We still have hurdles to cross,” he said, “mostly the running and agility stuff. As much as you can run them and do agilities, it’s hard to simulate game movements.”

With both of them out, the DH spot continues to rotate, this time to Bryan Holaday as Alex Avila gets another game behind the plate.

The Pirates lineup card does not have a designated hitter on it, so it appears A.J. Burnett will bat for himself at least once. When a National League team hosts an American League team in a Spring Training game, it’s up to the AL team to request permission to use the DH and to the NL team to decide whether to grant it. It’s not always an automatic.

TIGERS

  1. Xavier Avery, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  4. Tyler Collins, LF
  5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Daniel Fields, RF
  8. Bryan Holaday, DH
  9. Jordan Lennerton, 1B

P: Shane Greene, Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan, Angel Nesbitt, Alberto Cabrera

PIRATES

  1. Josh Harrison, 3B
  2. Jose Tabata, LF
  3. Jung Ho Kang, SS
  4. Neil Walker, 2B
  5. Starling Marte, CF
  6. Pedro Alvarez, 1B
  7. Tony Sanchez, C
  8. Andrew Lambo, RF
  9. A.J. Burnett, P

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Nationals

Nice starting pitching matchup today with Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg, but the bigger focus might be on the pitchers scheduled to follow Verlander: Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Al Alburquerque and Bruce Rondon. The last name is a surprise, since he just pitched Sunday after two days off. This could be a test to see how his arm bounces back. On the opposite end, Chamberlain hasn’t pitched since last Friday, so he’s had three days off. Nathan, of course, pitched Saturday.

Oh, and the Tigers brought over former first-round pick Ryan Perry from minor-league camp to stand by as an extra pitcher, along with Melvin Mercedes.

The lineup features Ian Kinsler for the first time since last Thursday, and Yoenis Cespedes in left field after he returned to the lineup at DH yesterday. Bryan Holaday is catching, but Alex Avila is reportedly fine after yesterday’s game and is scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Pirates in Bradenton.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, RF
  2. Anthony Gose, CF
  3. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  4. J.D. Martinez, DH
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Hernan Perez, 1B
  7. Jefry Marte, 3B
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Andrew Romine, SS

P: Justin Verlander, Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Al Alburquerque, Bruce Rondon

NATIONALS

  1. Tony Gwynn Jr., CF
  2. Ian Desmond, SS
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Wilson Ramos, C
  5. Mike Carp, 1B
  6. Dan Uggla, DH
  7. Kila Ka’aihue, LF
  8. Kevin Frandsen, 2B
  9. Matt Skole, 3B

P: Stephen Strasburg, AJ Cole, Xavier Cedeno, Jerry Blevins, Blake Treinen, Rafael Martin, Manny Delcarmen

Tigers cut three non-roster relievers from camp (corrected)

With the busiest stretch of Spring Training games now complete, the Tigers made their first significant cuts of camp Tuesday, sending non-roster relievers Luke Putkonen, Joe Mantiply and Rafael Dolis Omar Duran to minor-league camp.

The moves whittle Detroit’s camp roster to 52 players. The next round of cuts appears unlikely until after the Tigers’ next set of split-squad games March 22.

None of the moves were of particular surprise, though Putkonen made an early exit after making last year’s Opening Day roster. The 28-year-old spent most of last season rehabbing from elbow problems that landed him on the disabled list in mid-April. He underwent cleanup surgery last summer, but avoided tearing any elbow ligaments.

Putkonen proclaimed his health when Spring Training began last month, but nonetheless struggled against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on March 6, giving up three runs on three hits with two walks and a hit batter, all in two-thirds of an inning. He had three scoreless outings aside from that, but the damage was done.

“I asked him today, and he did say the elbow feels good, which is a good sign,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

Still, add in the fact that he’s no longer on the 40-man roster, and his chances of recapturing his spot in Detroit’s bullpen grew longer.

Putkonen is expected to continue pitching out of the bullpen at Triple-A Toledo. Ausmus said there has been no talk of converting him to a starter.

For the 24-year-old Mantiply, who spent most of last season at Class A West Michigan before moving to Double-A Erie, the invite was a chance to get a look at the funky left-hander against Major League hitters. He threw 2 1/3 innings over four appearances, allowing a run on two hits with two walks and a strikeout.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27,641 other followers