Castellanos to rest after HBP on left hand

Precautionary X-rays return clean; Moore sharp vs. Yankees

March 10th, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire is debating how to give and the most RBI opportunities in the batting order when the season starts. Gardenhire will not be playing Castellanos anywhere in the lineup for the next couple of days while the slugging right fielder tends to a bruised left hand.

The first major injury scare to the Tigers' lineup came from its most durable player the past couple of years. Castellanos was hit by a pitch from Yankees reliever Chance Adams just below the base of his left pinkie finger, which was fractured on a hit-by-pitch in 2016.

Castellanos was set to leave Sunday for a pinch-runner regardless, but in this case, he left for tests. X-ray results were negative.

"Even coming out, just looking at it, I knew it was good," Castellanos said after Sunday's 2-2 tie. "But it being Spring Training and all, I don't want to guess."

Castellanos was scheduled to play Monday against the Twins in Fort Myers, then take Tuesday off. Wednesday is a scheduled off-day for the team.

"He's sore. He's going to come in, get treatment and maybe try to take some swings [Monday]," Gardenhire said. "He got whacked pretty good."

Castellanos missed 46 games with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in the same area in 2016. He came back for the season's final week with the Tigers in the Wild Card race. He played 157 games in each of the two seasons since then.

"I'd much rather get hit in my butt or my thigh or my back or maybe my shoulder," Castellanos said.

Castellanos batted third Sunday, just in front of Cabrera (who hit an opposite-field drive for his second spring homer). It's an order that has been repeated a handful of times this spring with Christin Stewart and Jeimer Candelario hitting on either side of the duo.

Gardenhire doesn't want to read too much into Spring Training batting orders but admitted he's working on ideas, including moving Castellanos and Cabrera up a spot.

"In all honestly, the one thing I want to see is probably [Castellanos] and Cabrera getting at-bats in the first inning," Gardenhire said. "I don't want Cabrera leading off innings. I've already seen that when I'm batting him fourth. He's led off about three times, and I don't think that's kosher for our team. So I'm going to try to figure out a way where they both get to hit in the first inning. I think that's really important for this baseball team, and then we'll work our way down through the rest of the lineup."

Castellanos batted second in the Tigers' lineup from mid-May into mid-June last season. When Cabrera sustained a season-ending biceps tear, Castellanos moved to third, except for a few brief stretches hitting second.

Barring a late spring surprise, Castellanos will open the season with the Tigers. If anything, the lack of movement in the trade market following Bryce Harper's deal with the Phillies sparked speculation whether the Tigers might engage Castellanos on a potential contract extension.

Castellanos reiterated that he would like to remain a Tiger long term, but said no talks have taken place.

"I think both sides know the conversation would be welcome," Castellanos said. "I think that's where it's at now. There's been no talks yet."

Moore results for left-hander
posted his most effective outing of the spring on Sunday, tossing four scoreless innings on two hits with no walks six strikeouts against a Yankees split squad. But while DJ LeMahieu and Miguel Andujar were the most notable names in the New York lineup, Moore saw a boost in his velocity, topping out at 94 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun while consistently sitting at 92-93.

"I just did a good job of staying ahead of guys and attacking the zone with all three pitches," said Moore, whose fastball set up an effective changeup for a couple strikeouts. "Getting the hitter in that swing mode was a big deal out there today. I was happy with the command of the fastball, and the breaking ball's coming around."

Quick hits
• New Tigers catcher said Detroit showed interest in him this past offseason before he signed with San Francisco, only to see the Giants trade him to the Tigers for cash considerations Friday. Rupp said he was told before the trade that the opportunity for a big league job would be better in Tigers camp.

• The Tigers made a trio of roster cuts Sunday morning, optioning shortstop prospects to Triple-A Toledo and to Double-A Erie while assigning outfield prospect Jacob Robson to Minor League camp ahead of a likely return to Toledo. Castro, the Tigers' seventh-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, batted 5-for-21 in Grapefruit League play while playing strong defense.

Up next
The Tigers begin a two-day swing to Fort Myers with a 1:05 p.m. ET game Monday against the Twins, the only American League Central opponent Detroit will face this spring. will make his fourth start this spring and is trying to shake his recent struggles. Kyle Gibson will start for Minnesota. Candelario and Cabrera are expected to be in the lineup.