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Notes: Norris looking impressive; open tryouts

@beckjason
February 26, 2020

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Daniel Norris used to call this his Spring Training home, back when he was a Blue Jays prospect known for living in his van during camp.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Daniel Norris used to call this his Spring Training home, back when he was a Blue Jays prospect known for living in his van during camp.

That feels like eons ago.

“It does feel like a long time ago,” he said after looking around Toronto’s renovated facility at TD Ballpark.

When Norris induced a groundout on his first pitch Wednesday afternoon, he formally began his fifth Tigers camp. This is the first in which he’s coming off an injury-free season, and it is the best he has looked in a Detroit uniform in Spring Training.

It’s about more than the two scoreless innings he tossed in the rain-shortened 3-1 win over the Blue Jays, or the impressive throwing sessions he delivered early in camp. It’s about the shape he has put himself in, physically and mentally, to move forward in his career.

“My confidence comes from health,” he said. “I’m not too worried about that; I feel good. But if I’m healthy, I have confidence that I can compete no matter what. And I feel good, so my confidence is there.”

The renovated stadium does not include a radar gun for the scoreboard, but Norris felt and looked good with his fastball. He threw all four of his pitches, racking up back-to-back strikeouts on changeups, a big pitch that proved important for him down the stretch last year.

He caught Rowdy Tellez looking at a slider to set up his first punchout with a runner on second and one out, and he threw a fastball past Brandon Drury to put him in an 0-2 count before his inning-ending strikeout. He also threw one curveball.

It was a continuation of the performance Norris posted in his three-inning starts down the stretch last season. He posted a 2.25 ERA and allowed a .546 OPS over his final eight starts, yielding 16 hits over 24 innings with 23 strikeouts.

“Towards the end of the year, I felt like the way that I was pitching -- that could’ve been the first time in my career that I would’ve been able to go consistently deep into games,” Norris said. “I know I was cut off at three innings, but my pitch count was never too high. I was always in good shape to go farther. That’s what I’m looking forward to, is getting that opportunity.”

Tigers to hold open tryout March 9
The Tigers will hold their annual open tryout camp in Tigertown on Monday, March 9. The camp is open to players ages 18-23, or players with experience in a Major League organization.

Pre-registration is not required for the camp, and there’s no fee to try out. Interested players can register when they report at Tigertown starting at 8 a.m. ET. The workout begins at 9. Players need to bring their own gloves and workout gear. Detroit will provide wood bats, helmets and baseballs. Players need to show up ready to compete, as no dressing facilities will be available.

Up next
Jordan Zimmermann makes his second start of the spring on Thursday when the Tigers visit Port Charlotte for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Rays. Zimmermann tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut last Saturday with three walks and three strikeouts as he went to work on his sinker.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.