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Tigers trim roster, option Castro, Stokes

@beckjason
March 26, 2020

DETROIT – The Tigers don’t have an Opening Day roster since they don’t have an Opening Day yet, but they’re getting closer. Detroit optioned shortstop Willi Castro and outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday. The moves have little impact on the Tigers right now, with the coronavirus

DETROIT – The Tigers don’t have an Opening Day roster since they don’t have an Opening Day yet, but they’re getting closer. Detroit optioned shortstop Willi Castro and outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday.

The moves have little impact on the Tigers right now, with the coronavirus pandemic putting the season on hold and players working out on their own. But it gets a couple moves out of the way early in case Major League Baseball freezes rosters at some point moving forward.

Neither move was a surprise. Though the 22-year-old Castro finished last season in Detroit and was briefly in discussion for a utility infield spot, the Tigers preferred sending him back to Toledo to work on his defense as an everyday shortstop while Niko Goodrum gets the first shot at the big league job. Castro showed progress defensively while working with infield coach Ramon Santiago. He also went 8-for-25 at the plate with four doubles, three RBIs, a walk and nine strikeouts in Grapefruit League play.

Castro ranks No. 6 among MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Tigers' prospects.

By contrast, Spring Training was a chance for the Tigers to learn about Stokes, a waiver claim from the Brewers last Sept. 3. The 24-year-old made an impression, going 6-for-22 with five doubles, a walk and five strikeouts in Spring Training while playing all around the outfield. But with Cameron Maybin rejoining the Tigers in February and Jorge Bonifacio joining Travis Demeritte and Christin Stewart in a roster battle, Stokes wasn’t going to make the big league club.

The next challenge with Stokes once the season begins will be to find him playing time in a potentially cluttered Toledo outfield. The Tigers optioned Derek Hill and Daz Cameron there earlier this month, and have Danny Woodrow and Jacob Robson back from last season. If Jose Azocar gets a promotion from Double-A Erie, Toledo will have a roster crunch.

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