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Manfred visits Detroit, praises Ilitch, Tigers

MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke highly of the future of the city and the Tigers after taking a tour of the new Little Caesars Arena and the surrounding District Detroit project with Tigers president/CEO Chris Ilitch.

"I think when you have a day like I had today, it's hard not to feel that the future of Detroit and the future of the Detroit Tigers is really, really bright," Manfred said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "It's been an exciting day for me here."

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DETROIT -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke highly of the future of the city and the Tigers after taking a tour of the new Little Caesars Arena and the surrounding District Detroit project with Tigers president/CEO Chris Ilitch.

"I think when you have a day like I had today, it's hard not to feel that the future of Detroit and the future of the Detroit Tigers is really, really bright," Manfred said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "It's been an exciting day for me here."

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Tuesday marked the second time Manfred has visited Comerica Park and spoke to reporters since becoming Commissioner in 2015. He also visited the Tigers' renovated Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Fla., in February, shortly after Tigers owner Mike Ilitch died.

At that point, Chris Ilitch had already taken a role representing the Tigers at MLB Owners Meetings.

"One of the exciting additions to our ownership group in recent years has been Chris Ilitch's involvement," Manfred said. "Even before he actually became the control person, he's brought a really intense sense of excitement about the Tigers to our Owners Meetings and been very engaged in a variety of projects at the ownership level."

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In a 20-minute question-and-answer session with reporters, Manfred addressed a variety of topics of both national and local interest, including the future of the Tigers on and off the field as the team begins what is expected to be a rebuilding process of its farm system and roster. The Tigers are expected to be among the teams paying luxury tax for a second consecutive year, a threshold general manager Al Avila has made clear he aims to avoid next season.

"I don't think in recent years payroll has been a particularly good predictor of whether or not a particular team is going to win," the Commissioner said. "I think that Chris understands, both based on his experience with the Tigers and his experience in hockey, that most winning franchises build from within with young players, and I think he's going to pursue a strategy that's designed to produce a winner here in Detroit."

Quick hits

• Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Daniel Norris will make one more rehab start for Triple-A Toledo on Saturday. It will likely be Norris' final start before returning from the disabled list once rosters expand Sept. 1.

• Ausmus said it's possible third baseman Nicholas Castellanos could play a game in right field later this season. Castellanos, an outfielder in the Tigers' farm system in 2012-13, began working out in right a week and a half ago as the team weighs its options with third-base prospect Jeimer Candelario, acquired from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson trade last month.

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

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