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Norris puts on powerful display against Phils

Veteran catcher is competing for backup role this spring
Special to MLB.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- While Tigers sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez took their cuts on Tuesday, it was catcher Derek Norris that provided the power in an 11-6 win over the Phillies in Grapefruit League action at Spectrum Field.

Norris, who is competing for the backup role behind the plate, went 3-for-3. He scored twice and drove in three to bring his spring average up to .500.

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- While Tigers sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez took their cuts on Tuesday, it was catcher Derek Norris that provided the power in an 11-6 win over the Phillies in Grapefruit League action at Spectrum Field.

Norris, who is competing for the backup role behind the plate, went 3-for-3. He scored twice and drove in three to bring his spring average up to .500.

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Norris sparked a three-run second inning with a line-drive single to center and scored on a double by Jose Iglesias. Norris again struck in the third after turning on a 1-2 slider from Phillies reliever Tommy Hunter that caught too much of the inner half of the plate. Norris drove it over the left-field wall for a three-run shot, his first of the spring. Norris finished his day with a line-drive single to the opposite field in the fifth.

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While Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire was impressed with how Norris swung the bat, he is also interested in how he can handle the Tigers' young pitching staff.

"We've known that [he can hit]," Gardenhire said. "He's a veteran that has been with some really good pitching staffs and he's handled them pretty good."

Norris, 29, was signed as a Minor League free agent in the offeason after spending most of 2017 with the Rays, batting .201 with nine home runs in 198 plate appearances. He was suspended in June for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

Rough day for Wilson
Right-hander Alex Wilson's Grapefruit League debut didn't go quite as planned as he allowed six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in relief. Wilson, who is being stretched out as a starter in hopes of competing for a rotation spot after spending the 2017 season in the bullpen, gave up six hits -- four of them for extra bases -- while striking out one.

"We know what this guy can do so we're not worried about him at all," Gardenhire said. "He's a good pitcher with good stuff. We'll let him get his innings in since we want to know if he can be a starter."

Injury updates
Jeimer Candelario said his left knee is fine after a run-in with Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman on a play at home plate in Monday's 8-6 win over the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla.

"It feels good," Candelario said before Tuesday's game.

Candelario probably would've had Tuesday off regardless, having played four games in a row since the Spring Training schedule began on Friday.

Video: DET@BAL: Gausman leaves game after collision

Candelario still isn't sure what happened on the play that toppled him. He was on deck when Leonys Martin's first-inning single scored Jason Krizan. Candelario stepped up to tell Krizan to slide wide to avoid the throw home, while Gausman was scrambling to back up the throw.

Gausman left the game immediately. Candelario stayed in and drew a walk, but Gardenhire lifted him for a pinch-runner when he hobbled into second base. Gausman had a cut above his left eye, but he is otherwise OK. Candelario was listed as day to day with a bruised left knee.

Reliever Blaine Hardy had his next scheduled appearance pushed back to Friday after receiving a cortisone injection in his throwing shoulder on Tuesday. Hardy had been scheduled to pitch on Saturday, but he experienced some tightness in his shoulder.

"Inflammation and everything looked exactly what they thought it would look like," Gardenhire said.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano strained his left hamstring during fielding drills and will be evaluated in 'three to four days" according to Gardenhire.

"We're going to back him off a little bit," Gardenhire said. "It's unfortunate, but it happens. So you know what? We'll move forward."

Up next
Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris will makes spring debut on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV against the Yankees at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Norris, who missed the first turn through the rotation after having a follow-up exam on his groin injury from last summer, will begin his quest to earn a rotation spot amidst competition from newcomer Liriano, Wilson and Ryan Carpenter.

Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com.

Detroit Tigers, Jeimer Candelario, Francisco Liriano, Daniel Norris, Derek Norris, Alex Wilson