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Norris eager to put focus back on baseball

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Catcher Derek Norris said Wednesday he hopes to keep his focus on baseball as he begins Spring Training with the Tigers, his first on-field work since serving a suspension last September for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

"The process has been completed," Norris said Wednesday, his first remarks since signing a Minor League contract with the club in December. "I'm just looking forward to the new year, to turn the page and focus on having a good spring and trying to break camp with this ballclub and head north to Detroit."

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Catcher Derek Norris said Wednesday he hopes to keep his focus on baseball as he begins Spring Training with the Tigers, his first on-field work since serving a suspension last September for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

"The process has been completed," Norris said Wednesday, his first remarks since signing a Minor League contract with the club in December. "I'm just looking forward to the new year, to turn the page and focus on having a good spring and trying to break camp with this ballclub and head north to Detroit."

Norris, who turned 29 on Wednesday, addressed reporters as a group in the Tigers' clubhouse following interview requests. Wednesday marked the first official workout for Tigers pitchers and catchers.

Video: CWS@TB: Norris belts a two-run HR for second of night

The suspension stemmed from an incident a couple years earlier. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred noted at the time that Norris cooperated with the investigation. Norris was a free agent at the time of the suspension, having been released by the Rays at the end of June.

General manager Al Avila said at the Winter Meetings shortly afterward that the club checked with Major League Baseball and its chief investigator in the matter before finalizing the deal.

"They described what the situation was," Avila said. "There was a mistake made, they investigated it, and by their account they gave the mildest [of the serious suspensions]. And they encouraged us to do the signing, because they said this guy made a mistake, he was punished for it, and now he should be back at work. And knowing some history about him, the family going way back, we felt he was a solid guy where it was an isolated thing."

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Norris did not appeal the suspension. He was reinstated from baseball's restricted list following the end of the World Series.

"MLB completed an investigation," Norris said. "We fully cooperated, and we're just looking forward to getting started this year and trying to turn the page. … I think I learned a lot from it, but at the same time, a new year. Just looking to get back on the field and do the thing I love to do and try to break camp with the club."

Norris said his talks with clubs focused on baseball and his readiness to return. He signed with the Tigers, he said, after talking with assistant general manager David Chadd, a fellow Wichita, Kan., native who knew him from his time growing up in the area.

"I'm a firm believer I've still got a lot to offer on the baseball field," he said. "I firmly believe that I've got a lot of good years still left in me, and I'm looking to turn the page on what's happened in the past and start fresh."

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

Detroit Tigers, Derek Norris