Young outfielders to start spring opener
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced his starters and the pitching assignments for Detroit's Grapefruit League opener Friday against the Braves in Kissimmee, Fla.
Perhaps most interesting among Leyland's assignments is his young starting outfield: top prospect Nick Castellanos in left field, Quintin Berry in center and Avisail Garcia in right. They'll be joined by Detroit's regular starting infield -- Prince Fielder at first base, Omar Infante at second, Miguel Cabrera at third and Jhonny Peralta at shortstop -- plus catcher Brayan Pena and starter Rick Porcello.
"We'll play everybody. I'm going to play all the kids, get our guys ready," Leyland said. "I like to do that. I like playing the kids."
Leyland also told reporters Tuesday that his regular staring outfield -- Andy Dirks in left, Austin Jackson in center and Torii Hunter in right -- will start Saturday against the Blue Jays at Joker Marchant Stadium. Anibal Sanchez will take the mound Saturday for Detroit, while Justin Verlander will start Sunday against the Phillies.
Leyland previously announced Porcello as Friday's starter, but he noted Tuesday that the outing won't be of any more significance despite the fact that Porcello is battling for the fifth spot in the rotation. He'll be followed by right-handers Luis Marte, Luke Putkonen and Jose Ortega and left-hander Darin Downs. Lefties Jose Alvarez and Kenny Faulk, both non-roster invitees, are the backups who might pitch as well.