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.

Monday’s lineups: Tigers at Cardinals

Alex Avila and Yoenis Cespedes are back in the Tigers lineup, while Jose Iglesias gets his second consecutive start at shortstop. Look for about 4-5 innings from Avila behind the plate today. David Price, meanwhile, gets pretty close to a regular lineup from the Cardinals to test him.

The game today is on MLB Network back in Detroit, and presumably elsewhere nationally.

TIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Jose Iglesias, SS
  3. J.D. Martinez, RF
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, DH
  5. Alex Avila, C
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Daniel Fields, LF
  8. Aaron Westlake, 1B
  9. Hernan Perez, 2B

P: David Price, Tim Melville, Buck Farmer, Rafael Dolis, Josh Zeid

CARDINALS

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Matt Adams, DH
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Mark Reynolds, 1B
  8. Kolten Wong, 2B
  9. Randel Grichuk, CF

P: John Lackey, Carlos Villanueva, Jordan Walden, Trevor Rosenthal, Mitch Harris, Tim Cooney, Nick Greenwood

Tigers sign Jiwan James out of tryout camp

For the second straight year, the Tigers have found an athletic outfielder out of their spring tryout camp. Whether Jiwan James follows Wynton Bernard’s trajectory remains to be seen, but after seeing the Phillies prospect try out last week, the Tigers are going to give him a shot, signing him to a minor-league deal.

James, who turns 26 next month, hit the Phillies top prospect rankings after back-to-back 30-steal seasons in A-ball in 2010 and 2011. From there, however, his career slowed for knee surgery and another procedure to deal with Crohn’s Disease. (Former Tigers pitching prospect Adam Pettyjohn had a somewhat similar condition, ulcerative colitis, that slowed his career.)

The injuries and ailments cost James parts of the last three seasons, and the Phillies released him last June. He had signed a few weeks ago to play independent ball with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League until he caught the Tigers’ attention during last Monday’s tryout camp. Mike Ashmore wrote a great profile of James a couple weeks ago.

As some have pointed out on twitter, the Tigers have signed a few former prospects this offseason looking for a rebound. One key difference with James is that he’s still young enough to be considered a prospect. The other, and arguably, bigger difference: He’s an athlete, and the Tigers system needs athletes, especially at the middle levels between a projected deep outfield at Triple-A Toledo and Derek Hill’s starting point.

Gene Lamont on jersey snafu: “First time I’ve hit leadoff”

Jim Schmakel has spent nearly four decades as Tigers clubhouse manager. He has had to drive managers, players, pets, and plenty of other items in Spring Training.

On Saturday, when Rajai Davis arrived at Steinbrenner Field and realized his jersey wasn’t in his bag, Schmakel had to make an urgent delivery. But even he couldn’t rescue Davis by game time.

“It’s not the first time a player forgot his jersey,” Schmakel said. “Maybe the first time it was delayed due to traffic.”

So up went Davis, leading off the Tigers’ game against the Yankees, wearing the jersey off bench coach Gene Lamont’s back. Lamont, who served as the manager for the split-squad game with Brad Ausmus back in Lakeland, wore a windbreaker.

“He had some pants, but he didn’t have any shirt,” Lamont said. “I thought he’d wear a minor-leaguer’s jersey but I don’t know. Maybe mine fit better.”

It was a little baggy, as the video shows.

Schmakel had the jersey at the ballpark by the second inning, but the sight of Davis wearing a loose-fitting jersey with his coach’s number was indelible.

“If he hit a home run,” Lamont said, “he’d probably want my number.”

Traffic, Schmakel said, was the overriding factor. It’s usually a short trip from Lakeland to Tampa, which is why the Tigers hit as a team at Joker Marchant Stadium before leaving for Steinbrenner field. A traffic jam meant the team arrived even later.

Once Davis opened his bag, his jersey wasn’t there. The message went out around 12:30 p.m. to Schmakel, who took it himself rather than trust of his younger assistants.

“I know how to get there. I know the side streets,” Schmakel said.

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

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