Tigers trim roster, send down 4 relief pitchers

Alcantara, Ferrell, Labourt and Ravenelle all head to Minors

March 11th, 2017
Tigers No. 22 prospect Jairo Labourt was assigned to Double-A Erie. (John Raoux/AP)John Raoux/AP

TAMPA -- The Tigers made their first cuts of Spring Training on Saturday, sending down relievers , , and Adam Ravenelle.

Alcantara will report to Triple-A Toledo, while Labourt will join Double-A Erie. Ferrell and Ravenelle, neither of whom is on the 40-man roster, will report Minor League camp and await assignment. The moves trim the Tigers' roster to 59 players, still a crowded camp.

None of the moves are a surprise. While Ravenelle (No. 13), Labourt (No. 22) and Alcantara (No. 26) are all on MLB Pipeline's rankings of the Tigers' Top 30 Prospects, all of them need more development, and none were expected to compete for a job in camp. Ravenelle had the best case as a dark-horse candidate, but he hasn't pitched in a week after elbow issues caused numbness in his fingers.

"He's not going to pitch probably for a few days," manager Brad Ausmus said, "and we're starting to run out of innings [available]. This applies to all four of them."

Ravenelle, who earned an invite coming off a strong season between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, made two appearances, walking three batters and retiring two.

Alcantara, acquired from the Angels for last November, made three appearances, allowing two runs on three hits over three innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

"Alcantara threw the ball pretty well. He's got good stuff," Ausmus said. "It's just a matter of throwing strikes and not getting too violent in his delivery."

Labourt, the third prospect in the trade that brought over and Matthew Boyd from Toronto, gave up five runs on four hits in an inning, spread out over two appearances. He walked four and struck out three.

"Labourt is similar to Alcantara: Just more strikes," Ausmus said. "A lot of times, tall guys have trouble reigning in their mechanics because their limbs are longer. If he can reign them in, he has a chance to be pretty good. So he has to concentrate on a consistent release point, consistent mechanics and throwing strikes."

Ferrell, a Tigers relief prospect not long ago, re-signed with the organization last fall after missing most of the summer with a right shoulder impingement. He yielded two runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts.

"Ferrell just needs to pitch," Ausmus said. "He had the injury last year. He just needs to get strength back and velocity back."