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Sunday’s lineups: Tigers at Marlins

No Don Kelly in the Marlins lineup today. Sorry. However, it’s a pretty loaded lineup to give Alfredo Simon a test today in his third spring start. Rajai Davis, presumably wearing his own jersey today, will lead off today, while Anthony Gose will be in the lineup Monday. The hope for manager Brad Ausmus is that Alex Avila and Yoenis Cespedes will be able to start Monday as well.

No TV for this game. There’s a Spanish broadcast, but that’s about it.

MARLINS

  1. Dee Gordon, 2B
  2. Christian Yelich, LF
  3. Giancarlo Stanton, RF
  4. Michael Morse, 1B
  5. Martin Prado, 3B
  6. Marcell Ozuna, CF
  7. Ichiro Suzuki, DH
  8. Jeff Mathis, C
  9. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

P: Dan Haren

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. J.D. Martinez, DH
  4. Tyler Collins, LF
  5. Steven Moya, RF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Andrew Romine, 2B

P: Alfredo Simon, Jose Valdez, Blaine Hardy, Angel Nesbitt, Bruce Rondon, Joe Mantiply

Saturday’s lineup: Tigers (split squad) at Yankees

Andrew Romine and Austin Romine worked out together this offseason in California, trying to help their chances of making their respective clubs. Today, they’ll be playing against each other — Andrew in left field for the Tigers, Austin behind the plate for the Yankees.

While the other Tigers game will be on the radio in Detroit (and MLB Gameday Audio online), this one is on MLB.TV. It’s also on YES Network if you’re in the New York metropolitan area.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Josh Wilson, 2B
  3. J.D. Martinez, DH
  4. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  5. Steven Moya, RF
  6. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Dixon Machado, SS
  9. Andrew Romine, LF

P: Kyle Lobstein, Kyle Ryan, Ian Krol, Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera

YANKEES

  1. Didi Gregorius, SS
  2. Chase Headley, 3B
  3. Stephen Drew, 2B
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  5. Garrett Jones, DH
  6. Austin Romine, C
  7. Tyler Austin, RF
  8. Jake Cave, LF
  9. Mason Williams, CF

P: Michael Pineda

Saturday: Tigers (split squad) vs. Phillies



With Jose Iglesias off, and Alex Avila, Ian Kinsler and Yoenis Cespedes all day-to-day, and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez still obviously out, there aren’t many regulars to go around. Add in a split-squad day, and you’re going to get a look at a lot of youngsters, whether you’re following the home game against the Phillies or the roadie against the Yankees at Tampa. Andrew Romine gets the start in left field in the latter.

One thing worth watching in the home affair: Joe Nathan will be pitching against the Phillies for the second time in three days. He was scheduled to throw a side session today, but wanted to pitch in the game instead. At least three of the hitters in today’s Phillies lineup (Odubel Herrera, Jeff Francoeur, Andres Blanco) faced him here Thursday as well.

TIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Hernan Perez, SS
  3. Tyler Collins, DH
  4. Daniel Fields, RF
  5. Jefry Marte, 3B
  6. Aaron Westlake, 1B
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Xavier Avery, LF
  9. Javier Betancourt, 2B

P: Anibal Sanchez, Alex Wilson, Tom Gorzelanny, Joakim Soria, Joe Nathan, Omar Duran

PHILLIES

  1. Odubel Herrera, CF
  2. Cord Phelps, 2B
  3. Grady Sizemore, LF
  4. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  5. Carlos Ruiz, DH
  6. Russ Canzler, 1B
  7. Maikel Franco, 3B
  8. Andres Blanco, SS
  9. Tommy Joseph, C

P: Paul Clemens, Phillippe Aumont, Nefi Ogando, Mike Nesseth, Seth Rosin, Ken Giles

Kinsler scratched from lineup with sore left shoulder

The list of Tigers with nagging injuries expanded again on Friday, when second baseman Ian Kinsler was scratched from their lineup against the Braves with left shoulder soreness.

Kinsler is listed as day-to-day, as are outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (left quad tightness) and catcher Alex Avila (lower back soreness). Shortstop Jose Iglesias just returned from a bruised right shin that left him day-to-day as well.

Kinsler had no reported injuries previously. He has played in six games this spring, batting 5-for-15 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and five RBIs while adding three walks. He played three at-bats against the Astros on Thursday.

Josh Wilson replaced Kinsler in Friday’s starting lineup, while Anthony Gose moved to the leadoff spot.

Friday’s lineups: Tigers at Braves

From the Happiest Place on Earth, we bring you the Tigers lineup where Jose Iglesias is the designated hitter. It gives Iglesias a third game in four days while still watching the wear and tear on his legs. Andrew Romine will move back home to shortstop, while Hernan Perez starts at third base.

No Yoenis Cespedes, as expected, but that would have been the case even if he didn’t have a left quad issue. He said he was so-so when Brad Ausmus checked with him this morning. He’s tentatively scheduled to start the home split-squad game tomorrow against the Phillies, but Ausmus indicated he’d be surprised if Cespedes plays tomorrow. More likely, he’ll make the trip to Jupiter (he lives down the road in Fort Lauderdale) and play in at least one of those games.

Alex Avila seemingly has a better chance to play Saturday, as there’s an open spot on the lineup sheet for a catcher to bat second for the home split-squad game against the Phillies.

We’ll have an intersection of Tigers setup relievers today, as Joba Chamberlain pitches in the same game as Jose Veras, whose spot he arguably filled when he signed with Detroit last year. Veras, a Tiger for the stretch run in 2013, is in Braves camp on a minor-league deal.

TIGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, DH
  3. J.D. Martinez, RF
  4. Tyler Collins, LF
  5. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  6. James McCann, C
  7. Hernan Perez, 3B
  8. Andrew Romine, SS
  9. Anthony Gose, CF Josh Wilson, 2B

P: Shane Greene, Joba Chamberlain, Buck Farmer, Josh Zeid, Luke Putkonen, Al Alburquerque

BRAVES

  1. Andrelton Simmons, DH
  2. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
  4. Jonny Gomes, LF
  5. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  6. Chris Johnson, 3B
  7. Zoilo Almonte, CF
  8. Cedric Hunter, RF
  9. Pedro Ciriaco, SS

P: Mike Foltynewicz, Cody Martin, James Russell, Jose Veras

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Phillies



The Tigers split squads today, but a lot of the story in Lakeland today will be the pitching. Justin Verlander makes his second start of the spring. Bruce Rondon makes his first game appearance almost a year to the day since his last appearance before Tommy John surgery. Joakim Soria will make his first appearance since the blister problem a few days ago.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Hernan Perez, SS
  3. J.D. Martinez, RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, DH
  5. Tyler Collins, LF
  6. Bryan Holaday, C
  7. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  8. Josh Wilson, 2B
  9. Andrew Romine, 3B

P: Justin Verlander, Joe Nathan, Bruce Rondon, Joakim Soria, Tim Melville, Alex Wilson, Omar Duran

PHILLIES

  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Odubel Herrera, LF
  3. Domonic Brown, RF
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Jeff Francoeur, DH
  6. Cody Asche, 3B
  7. Freddy Galvis, SS
  8. Andres Blanco, 2B
  9. Cameron Rupp, C

P: Jerome Williams

Ausmus raises three-lefty bullpen idea

At some point Wednesday afternoon, as Kyle Ryan was providing the Tigers one of their few pitching bright spots in a 9-2 loss to the Nationals, manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones raised an idea.

“Jonesy and I, during the game while [Ryan] was pitching, were talking about the idea of maybe having three left-handed pitchers as being a possibility,” Ausmus said. “So yeah, we like what we’ve seen from him and he’s pitched well.”

That was a surprise, and one that the math doesn’t seem to support. But it seems to suggest they’re still considering the idea that Bruce Rondon, who is scheduled to make his first game appearance in nearly a full year Thursday, might not be ready for Opening Day.

Ryan’s performance gives him four scoreless innings on two hits this spring with two walks and a strikeout. In a spring where the Tigers bullpen has had a rough afternoon or two, Ryan’s relative consistency is starting to stand out.

Three of Detroit’s seven pitchers Wednesday posted a scoreless inning. Two of them were lefties in Ryan and Tom Gorzelanny. In the case of Gorzelanny, his spot in the bullpen is already pretty well secure, having signed a guaranteed one-year contract.

Add in Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain and Bruce Rondon — if Rondon is healthy — and six of the seven bullpen spots are claimed.

“Yeah, I’m already counting those guys as kind of in,” Ausmus said.

So why is the three-lefty idea being discussed?

“It does give us a little more length in the bullpen, because Ryan can go multiple innings and Gorzelanny can go multiple innings,” Ausmus said. “[Blaine] Hardy could go multiple innings. [Ian] Krol to me is more of a four-out guy, but he probably could go two. And if it was a righty, he’d probably be more of a one-inning guy if you look at the righties who are kind of in play for a bullpen spot. So it lengthens your bullpen a little bit.”

The reliever potentially in play could be Rondon, probably for health reasons. His return Thursday gives him as long as three and a half weeks to prepare himself before camp breaks.

“Theoretically, it’s enough time if everything goes well,” Ausmus said. “We just have to wait and see.”

It also assumes no setbacks. And after the setbacks Ausmus saw players endure last season, he seems to be preparing himself for that possibility this year.

Beyond that, there’s the abundance of cautiousness Ausmus seems willing to exercise with a young reliever capable of shutting down a big-time hitter in a big situation. Detroit hasn’t had that the last two postseasons. The Tigers’ bullpen struggles in both years reflects a desperate need for that type of reliever.

“I mean, the same thing we’ve said about Miggy and Victor applies to Rondon,” Ausmus said. “The important thing isn’t having them ready for Opening Day. The important thing is having them for the bulk of the season, or as much of the season as you possibly can.”

More from Scherzer on Detroit, free agency and dogs with dichromatic eyes

Max Scherzer caught up with Detroit area writers for about 10 minutes today. A lot of it was a reiteration of previous interviews, though his advice for Price (see previous post for Wednesday’s lineup) was new. Also, he and his wife Erica also adopted a couple of shepherd dogs. One of them, like Scherzer, has dichromatic eyes. He has photographic proof. Also like Scherzer, both are capable climbers, having climbed Camelback Mountain with him.

Scherzer did slightly amend what he said to Matt Shepard on WDFN after his signing, about knowing the breakup was coming for the Tigers rotation. He said he meant it would be impossible to keep the entire team together.

“But guess what? It’s like that in every club,” he said. “You start looking at guys and their service time and when their free agency is coming, and you realize that not everybody gets to stay together. What I was alluding to was that a couple years ago in Detroit, you could see it coming. The way everybody’s service time [coincided], the whole team wasn’t going to stick together that we had in 2012 and 2013. Pieces were going to be moved, guys were going to get signed back and some guys weren’t. That’s just the reality of baseball — and really the reality of professional sports.”

Did that mean Scherzer knew his days in Detroit were numbered when Justin Verlander signed his extension a couple years ago?

“No, not at that point,” he said. “I knew there was still a chance to be there. I never thought the door was officially closed until it was, just because I know the Tigers with [owner Mike Ilitch] there, there’s always a chance. Mr. I does a great job of providing for the city of Detroit, so it was just one of those things where you knew the whole team couldn’t stay together.”

More baseball-related quotes from Scherzer …

On his Tiger tenure: “My time in Detroit was awesome. That’s what happens in this game. Sometimes these things have to happen. It’s unfortunate, but the way the team was constructed, I wasn’t able to stay around. But at the end of the day, my time in Detroit, I enjoyed it, enjoyed everything about it. Some of the best moments of my career were there. I’ll always think of it very highly.”

On fan reaction in Detroit: “I don’t know. I can only worry about himself. I can’t worry about what other people think. If I get caught up on that type of train of thought, I’ll run myself crazy.”

On free agency: “Players before me fought really hard to get the game where it’s at now. The reason I was able to sign the contract that I did was because everybody before me fought to put players in the future that position. I respect that. A lot of guys have had to do a lot of sacrifices to allow players to be fortunate to get really big contracts in free agency, and I’m very thankful for what they’ve done. For giving that, I wanted to continue to be one of those players who continue to fight for the rest of the players in the league.”

On whether he was surprised contract offer was made public last spring: “Tread water here. I’ll just say yes.”

Alex Avila leaves with lower back stiffness

The back issues that sidelined Alex Avila earlier this spring appear to have flared up again. He left Wednesday’s game against the Nationals after one inning at Space Coast Stadium with lower back stiffness.

Avila returned four days ago from paternity leave, having joined his wife in south Florida for the birth of their daughter Zoey. He made his third start in five days Wednesday, striking out in the opening inning while catching one inning of David Price, before Manny Pina replaced him.

Avila missed a few days of workouts with similar symptoms. He returned in time to start last Wednesday.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Nationals

Good to see Max Scherzer before the game, who had some advice for David Price as he begins the same contract-year situation Scherzer had last year. Scherzer’s advice: Don’t let the contract or anything else become a distraction from winning.

“Obviously it’s something you have to address,” Scherzer said. “You only get one shot at this, to sign a big deal, and he’s going to be in a position to be able to do it, whether he does it now or in the offseason. That’s his choice, but you have to do it right, and it’s something you have to be comfortable with. The biggest advice I can give is that when you come to the park, it has to always be about winning. There’s no room for anything else, any other motivation. The motivation is to try to go out and win every single time. That really worked for me.”

You know who else is in that contract-year situation? Jordan Zimmermann, who starts opposite Price today. Zimmermann will face a lineup that includes Rajai Davis up top, Anthony Gose at the bottom, Alex Avila hitting second and Hernan Perez at short. Price gets to face a pretty strong Nationals lineup, including Ian Desmond, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos in the middle of the order.

A reminder that today’s game is on MLB.TV.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Alex Avila, C
  3. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  4. Tyler Collins, DH
  5. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
  6. Hernan Perez, SS
  7. Jefry Marte, 3B
  8. Josh Wilson, 2B
  9. Anthony Gose, CF

P: David Price, Tom Gorzelanny, Josh Zeid, Kyle Ryan, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Luke Putkonen

NATIONALS

  1. Wilmer Difo, 2B
  2. Ian Desmond, SS
  3. Bryce Harper, RF
  4. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
  5. Wilson Ramos, C
  6. Tyler Moore, LF
  7. Dan Uggla, DH
  8. Kevin Frandsen, 3B
  9. Derrick Robinson, CF

P: Jordan Zimmermann

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