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Prospect Cameron among Tigers' roster cuts

Club narrows down Opening Day roster by 10 players on Thursday
@beckjason
March 14, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. – Daz Cameron made his statement this Spring Training why he’s part of the Tigers outfield of the future. That future isn’t as close as Opening Day, though it might not be far off. With two weeks before Opening Day, the Tigers made their first major cuts from

LAKELAND, Fla. – Daz Cameron made his statement this Spring Training why he’s part of the Tigers outfield of the future. That future isn’t as close as Opening Day, though it might not be far off.

With two weeks before Opening Day, the Tigers made their first major cuts from camp on Thursday, trimming 10 players from the roster. Among them was Cameron, the Tigers’ fifth-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, who was reassigned to Minor League camp.

“Daz has shown me he knows how to play this game,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s pretty close to being a big leaguer. He’s going to push people, I can guarantee that. The kid can play.”

Also sent out were left-hander Jose Manuel Fernandez and outfielder Victor Reyes, both optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Relievers Zac Houston and Paul Voelker, infielder Kody Eaves, outfielder Danny Woodrow and catchers Brady Policelli, Jake Rogers and Kade Scivicque were reassigned to Minor League camp. The moves leave 40 players left in the Tigers’ Major League camp.

The one surprise among the moves might have been Fernandez, who looked impressive enough over his six scoreless innings to make a case as a power lefty in the Tigers' bullpen. Instead, the offseason waiver claim will serve as depth out of the Mud Hens' bullpen, which could open the door for Daniel Norris to make the Tigers roster as a long reliever if he doesn’t crack the rotation.

“He was throwing the ball good,” Gardenhire said of Fernandez. “He just needs to go pitch. He just needs to get innings in right now. He’s got good stuff and the whole package. We like him. We think he’s going to be a serviceable guy this year.”

Cameron is expected to join Fernandez in Toledo, where he ended last season following an August promotion from Double-A Erie. With JaCoby Jones in center coming off a season in which he led Major League outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved, the move was expected. But a strong start from Cameron could put the 22-year-old in line for a midseason promotion if the Tigers decide to make a change in center.

Cameron batted 9-for-25 (.360) with four doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBIs, walking four times and striking out nine. Defensively, he overcame a rough opening game to make some solid plays in center, including a diving catch last week.

“This guy, he’s got it going on,” Gardenhire said earlier this month. “He’s going to be a really, really good player. He’s already a good player. He’s going to be even better, I think.”

Rogers, the Tigers’ 13th-ranked prospect, is expected to return to Erie to work on his approach at the plate. While some scouts see Rogers as Major League-ready defensively, his offensive struggles have slowed his progress up the Tigers’ developmental ladder. The 23-year-old went 2-for-14 with a double in limited work in Grapefruit League play among eight catchers in Major League camp after homering in the Tigers’ exhibition game against Southeastern University.

For the 24-year-old Reyes, the trip to Toledo gives the former Rule 5 Draft pick a chance at everyday playing time after spending last year as an extra outfielder on the Tigers roster. Though Reyes reported to camp 15 pounds heavier thanks to offseason workouts, he went 4-for-28 at the plate in Grapefruit League action.

“Love the kid dearly. He works his tail off,” Gardenhire said of Reyes. “But he needs to get at-bats. He needs a season. He needs to keep growing.”

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