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Collins' return to CF competition imminent

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tyler Collins could rejoin the Tigers' center field competition by early next week if he has no setbacks with the strained lat that has hampered his throwing.

Collins, limited to designated hitter and pinch-hitting duties so far during Grapefruit League play, said Friday morning he has been long-tossing from 150 feet. He was scheduled to throw to bases Friday, and he has been shagging fly balls and flipping the ball back into the infield.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tyler Collins could rejoin the Tigers' center field competition by early next week if he has no setbacks with the strained lat that has hampered his throwing.

Collins, limited to designated hitter and pinch-hitting duties so far during Grapefruit League play, said Friday morning he has been long-tossing from 150 feet. He was scheduled to throw to bases Friday, and he has been shagging fly balls and flipping the ball back into the infield.

"If that goes well, I would imagine he'd be back in the field in short order," manager Brad Ausmus said. "If he feels well on Saturday, maybe Sunday or Monday he's in there."

Collins entered Friday batting 3-for-17 with a double and three RBIs in Grapefruit League play this spring, having picked up at-bats at DH since Victor Martinez left a week ago for the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, the only center-field candidate to differentiate himself from the pack has been JaCoby Jones -- Detroit's No. 9 prospect per MLBPipeline.com -- who hit a go-ahead home run on Thursday against the Mets.

Whether Jones emerges or Mikie Mahtook wins a spot, Collins has the advantage of being the only left-handed hitter in the center-field mix. So unless one of the other candidates does enough in the next few weeks to win the everyday job, Collins likely will have at least a platoon role.

Injury updates

Jose Iglesias remains day to day with a bruised neck. The slick-fielding shortstop was out of Friday's lineup, his second consecutive game missed since injuring his neck on a play at the plate on Tuesday.

• Reliever and No. 13 prospect Adam Ravenelle was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday for the first time since being sidelined last week with numbness in his fingers.

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

Detroit Tigers, Tyler Collins, Jose Iglesias, Adam Ravenelle