Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Detroit Tigers

news

Tigers News

Liriano embraces opportunity to start for Tigers

Veteran glad to be reunited with Gardenhire on team lefty used to torment
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Francisco Liriano spent the first half of his career tormenting the Tigers, one of the bright, young hopes on the Twins. That changed over the last five years, as the innings piled up, Liriano bounced around and surgeries sapped some of the strength from his left arm.

Still, the sight of Liriano wearing the Olde English D on Saturday morning -- having signed a one-year contract to bolster Detroit's rebuilt pitching staff -- was an odd sight.

View Full Game Coverage

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Francisco Liriano spent the first half of his career tormenting the Tigers, one of the bright, young hopes on the Twins. That changed over the last five years, as the innings piled up, Liriano bounced around and surgeries sapped some of the strength from his left arm.

Still, the sight of Liriano wearing the Olde English D on Saturday morning -- having signed a one-year contract to bolster Detroit's rebuilt pitching staff -- was an odd sight.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"It feels a little bit different," Liriano admitted.

It's a sign of the transitory nature for pitchers as they age. Yet, as the 34-year-old left-hander settles into his fourth team in three years, and the sixth of his career, both he and the Tigers would love to find a semblance of that talented young southpaw from a decade ago that manager Ron Gardenhire remembers.

"I really believe in '06, he was as good [as], if not better than, even [Johan] Santana that year," Gardenhire said. "He was one of the best pitchers in the league that year, and he's bounced back. We know what he does: He keeps throwing the slider in the dirt and they keep swinging, because it looks like a fastball. It's amazing."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

At the very least, Liriano wants to prove that his struggles last season aren't indicative of the pitcher he is. The key to that part is health.

Liriano missed a month last season with left shoulder inflammation, but he said the issue was in his neck.

"I think, for me, I was working out too heavy -- too much lifting and not stretching enough," he said.

Liriano returned to action at midseason, struggled in Toronto's rotation, then moved to the bullpen in time for an Aug. 1 trade to Houston, where he filled a lefty relief role for the eventual World Series champions. He got his first World Series ring for the trouble, and appreciated the opportunity. But he wanted to find an opportunity to compete as a starter when he hit free agency. The veteran had to wait for it, and admitted sitting at home as Spring Training began was tough for him. He threw in Miami, including for the Tigers, waiting for the right chance.

Video: WS2017 Gm6: Liriano fans Bellinger to strand runners

"Some teams wanted me to be in the bullpen. Some teams wanted me to do a little bit of both," he said. "I feel playing with Gardy, I think it makes it easy for me. Having the opportunity to start here, it's very important for me to try to come back from last year and try to do everything to win some ballgames this year."

Liriano knows something about bounce-back seasons. He's the only player to win Comeback Player of the Year twice -- having captured the American League award with the Twins in 2010, before winning the National League version with the Pirates after his 16-win season in '13.

Both times, Liriano helped his team to the postseason, as he did during the last two campaigns following midseason trades. Pitching the Tigers to the playoffs isn't an expectation, but if he can help stabilize a young pitching staff -- and maybe draw another round of midseason-trade interest -- he might be a boon for the club he used to torment.

"Fortunately, I feel healthy," he said. "I'll try to find a way to stay healthy the whole season and pitch as much as I can."

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

Detroit Tigers, Francisco Liriano

Picking up pace, Zimmermann fires 2 scoreless

V-Mart singles in return; Miggy displays his health on bases
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- One of the first things new Tigers pitching coach Chris Bosio noticed about Jordan Zimmermann when he looked at video was his pace. He was much slower, taking more time between pitches, than Bosio remembered him taking when he was with the Nationals.

So on Saturday, as Zimmermann made his first appearance of the spring, hoping to prove his health, the right-hander picked up the pace. His fastball registered at 92-93 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun over two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in a 5-4 Tigers win. But the more important speed was his rate of pitches.

View Full Game Coverage

LAKELAND, Fla. -- One of the first things new Tigers pitching coach Chris Bosio noticed about Jordan Zimmermann when he looked at video was his pace. He was much slower, taking more time between pitches, than Bosio remembered him taking when he was with the Nationals.

So on Saturday, as Zimmermann made his first appearance of the spring, hoping to prove his health, the right-hander picked up the pace. His fastball registered at 92-93 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun over two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays in a 5-4 Tigers win. But the more important speed was his rate of pitches.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"Been kind of talking about my tempo all spring," Zimmermann said. "I got out there and I was trying to work [quickly], and I got pretty winded in the first. I came off after the first and asked how the tempo was. [Bosio] said it was perfect. I said, 'Well, I need to get in better shape then, because I feel like I'm going to have a heart attack out here.'

"I felt like I was going super fast, but the tempo was good."

It's not a reaction to baseball's emphasis on pace of play, but a Bosio point that pitchers can control the pace and prevent a hitter from settling in. Bosio has emphasized setting the tempo with all of the Tigers' pitchers, but especially with Zimmermann -- who said the data suggested he was a second slower last year compared with his younger self. Not surprisingly, injuries are believed to be a culprit, from a groin injury during his first year in Detroit to the neck and back issues that have hampered him over the last year-and-a-half.

"I just really slowed down everything, made sure my hands were in the right spot and all this other stuff, instead of just forgetting about that and getting the ball and going," Zimmermann said.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

That was Zimmermann's process on Saturday: Get the ball, get the sign from catcher James McCann, then get into his pitching motion. A 20-pitch opening inning for Zimmermann felt like a cardio workout for him before he settled down for an 11-pitch second inning.

Wood won't pitch for a while longer

Lefty Travis Wood, who had a pin removed from his injured right index finger earlier this week, is not yet ready to pitch in games. Though he can throw, the fielding part of his game is a work in progress while he deals with his finger, which he sliced in a crossbow accident before Spring Training.

"He wants to go," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I don't think he has any fear. It's just a matter of being smart with this whole thing. I'll let the doctors tell me."

Quick hits

Victor Martinez played in his first game since last August, starting Saturday's game as the designated hitter. He went 1-for-2, lining a single into left-center field, before being lifted for a pinch-runner.

Miguel Cabrera showed a byproduct of his health on the basepaths on Saturday, scoring from first base on Nicholas Castellanos' first-inning drive into the gap in left-center field. He picked up enough speed heading into third that he surprised Jose Iglesias, who was jogging around third on his way home. Castellanos took third and scored on a throwing error, making it a three-run play.

Video: TOR@DET: Castellanos triples home two runs, scores

Blaine Hardy was scheduled to pitch on Saturday but was scratched as a precaution after experiencing tightness in his left shoulder.

Up next: The Tigers have their first split-squad set of the spring on Sunday. Matthew Boyd hits the road for his first outing this spring in a 1:07 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays, his old organization, in Dunedin -- which will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. Back in Lakeland, Artie Lewicki gets the start as the Tigers host the Pirates in a 1:05 ET contest at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

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

Detroit Tigers, Jordan Zimmermann

Martin trying to stay grounded with Tigers

Coach McClendon working with speedster to lift ball less this spring
MLB.com @beckjason

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ron Gardenhire followed the tradition of Major League managers warning not to put much into Spring Training batting orders. Still, Leonys Martin looked like a leadoff hitter to begin the Tigers' Grapefruit League opener Friday against the Yankees.

Martin has leadoff speed, but the track record of someone who fits lower in the order. Given the rest of Detroit's lineup, Martin could make Gardenhire's job easier if he could change that.

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ron Gardenhire followed the tradition of Major League managers warning not to put much into Spring Training batting orders. Still, Leonys Martin looked like a leadoff hitter to begin the Tigers' Grapefruit League opener Friday against the Yankees.

Martin has leadoff speed, but the track record of someone who fits lower in the order. Given the rest of Detroit's lineup, Martin could make Gardenhire's job easier if he could change that.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"He can be one of those guys that creates a lot of havoc on the basepaths," Gardenhire said. "He can be a guy that if you get him in our ballpark, he can hit a single up the middle and he can be standing on second base. This guy can really do some damage flying around the field."

The question is how to get that from him consistently.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Leonys is a young man full of talent who is still trying to find himself this spring," hitting coach Lloyd McClendon said.

McClendon did not manage Martin in Seattle, but saw plenty of him when he was a speedster for Texas. Martin hit .274 with a .689 OPS and 31 stolen bases for the Rangers in 2014, plus he posted a .325 on-base percentage that remains his career high for a full season. He hit 15 homers with a .684 OPS with the Mariners in '16, but he posted a .306 on-base rate and struck out 149 times.

Then came a .172 average and a .513 OPS in 2017, an all-around disappointment that sent Martin from Seattle to Triple-A Tacoma, then the Cubs' bench down the stretch. The problem, Martin said, was self-created.

"Last year was a really, really tough year for me," Martin said last week. "I changed a few things at home plate. When I got to Spring Training, I didn't do what I practiced in the offseason. That's why I got confused a little bit at home plate. It was difficult to find myself at home plate."

From 2013, Martin's first full season in the Majors, until his last season with the Rangers in '15, more than half the balls he put in play were on the ground, according to Fangraphs. His fly-ball rate stayed under 30 percent through '14, and his line-drive rate was just over 20 percent in that span.

Martin's fly-ball rate jumped to 33 percent in 2015, but his ground-ball percentage was 51.7. His uptick in flies came at the expense of line drives. In Seattle, his fly-ball rate jumped to 36.8 percent in '16, then 39.3 percent last year. His ground-ball and line-drive percentages both dropped.

According to Statcast™, Martin averaged a 6.4-degree launch angle on balls he put in play in 2015. That rose to 11 degrees in '16 before falling slightly to 9.2 last year.

"I hit 15 homers [in 2016], but that's not my game, man," Martin said. "I always tried to hit the ball to the gaps, and I changed it. And it doesn't work like that."

Not surprisingly, McClendon is working with Martin to lift the ball less.

"First of all, I believe in launch angle. Having said that, launch angle isn't for everybody," McClendon said. "As an instructor, you have to know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your players and what's going to work best."

Martin put that to work Friday, leading off with a ground ball up the middle that Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn't corral. Martin took second on Nicholas Castellanos' flyout to the left-field track, then he scored on Chad Huffman's single through the left side.

Video: DET@NYY: Huffman opens the scoring with RBI single

This is what the Tigers need from Martin. He doesn't have to be a home run hitter in Detroit's lineup. If he can put the ball in play, use his speed and get on base at a decent rate, he can be effective.

"If he drives the ball and that's what we decide he can do, that's great," Gardenhire said, "but I think the biggest value that he has is how electric he can be running the bases. I've seen him do that."

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

Detroit Tigers, Leonys Martin

Miggy looking forward, focused on swing

After battling back issues last year, slugger goes 1-for-2 in Grapefruit opener
MLB.com @beckjason

TAMPA, Fla. -- A few scattered boos among the packed crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field was the one reminder of what happened the last time Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers faced the Yankees.

"If they want to make something, they can make something," Cabrera said Friday. "I'm not able to please everybody."

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- A few scattered boos among the packed crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field was the one reminder of what happened the last time Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers faced the Yankees.

"If they want to make something, they can make something," Cabrera said Friday. "I'm not able to please everybody."

View Full Game Coverage

• Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Cabrera said a few words as he stepped to the plate in the first inning, with Austin Romine behind the plate, but Cabrera said it was nothing. More important to the Tigers slugger was the at-bat, his first of the spring, as he tries to regain his old swing following back issues last year.

Cabrera grounded out to third base in that first at-bat, then singled through the right side of the Yankees' infield to lead off the fourth. He was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eventual 3-1 Tigers loss.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The swings were too few for Cabrera to tell a difference from last year, when he said chronic back issues left him struggling to reach outside pitches with his swing. His swings in batting practice at least have him encouraged.

"I feel loose. That's very important," Cabrera said.

He said he's still working on his approach at the plate.

"I'm trying to work on that right now, trying to be more calm at home plate and trying not to swing at a lot of bad pitches like last year," Cabrera said. "Wait for my pitch and try to put my best swing on it."

Tigers wear caps in honor of Stoneman Douglas High School
Like teams across Major League Baseball, the Tigers donned the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team for Friday's game following the tragedy in Parkland, Fla., last week.

Video: Baseball pays tribute to Stoneman Douglas victims

"We all know what's happened," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was really tough watching television and watching all this sadness. Kids going to school and what they love most is learning, and all of a sudden, so much tragedy."

Video: Tigers Stoneman Douglas Tribute

Tigers sign 17 non-arbitration players
The Tigers moved closer to getting their entire 40-man roster under contracts by reaching agreements with 17 players who aren't yet eligible for arbitration, a list that includes All-Star Michael Fulmer.

Others agreeing to terms included right-handers Sandy Baez, Eduardo Jimenez, Joe Jimenez, Gerson Moreno, Zac Reininger, Warwick Saupold and Spencer Turnbull; left-handed pitchers Chad Bell, Matthew Boyd, Jairo Labourt, Gregory Soto and Daniel Stumpf; infielders Dawel Lugo and Dixon Machado; and outfielders Mike Gerber and JaCoby Jones.

Players who aren't yet eligible for arbitration or free agency can either agree to terms on contracts or have their contracts renewed. Fulmer is a year away from arbitration.

The deals leave the Tigers with 29 of their 40-man roster players under contract for 2018.

Tigers sign Coleman to Minor League deal
Detroit signed right-handed reliever Louis Coleman to a Minor League contract, according to SB Nation. Coleman posted an 8-5 record, 3.51 ERA and two saves in 213 appearances over six seasons with the Royals and Dodgers before spending last year at the Triple-A level with the D-backs and Reds. The 31-year-old posted a 4-2 record and 2.25 ERA in 50 games between Reno and Louisville, allowing 44 hits over 64 innings, with 32 walks and 77 strikeouts.

Up next
Victor Martinez is expected to get his first at-bats of the spring, and his first playing time since heart ablation surgery last September, when the Tigers host the Blue Jays in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday. The 39-year-old is scheduled to start at designated hitter, while Jordan Zimmermann makes his first start of the spring.

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

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera

Tigers, Liriano agree to 1-year deal

MLB.com @beckjason

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tigers added another contestant to their rotation competition on Friday with a familiar face from Ron Gardenhire's past. Detroit agreed to terms with left-hander Francisco Liriano on a one-year contract.

Liriano will earn $4 million, with another $1 million in incentives based on games started. The Tigers announced the deal Friday afternoon, with left-hander Jairo Labourt designated for assignment to make room for the 34-year-old on the 40-man roster.

View Full Game Coverage

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tigers added another contestant to their rotation competition on Friday with a familiar face from Ron Gardenhire's past. Detroit agreed to terms with left-hander Francisco Liriano on a one-year contract.

Liriano will earn $4 million, with another $1 million in incentives based on games started. The Tigers announced the deal Friday afternoon, with left-hander Jairo Labourt designated for assignment to make room for the 34-year-old on the 40-man roster.

View Full Game Coverage

"He told us he would like to start," general manager Al Avila said, "but that if we needed him to work out of the bullpen, that he would do that also. Obviously for us, it's really a good thing to have an experienced guy that can start, and if we need him out of the bullpen, we can do that. It'll play out in Spring Training to see how we start the season, and then once we commence the season, we'll see how that plays out."

The Tigers have been searching for starting pitching depth all offseason, an effort that had continued this spring. Avila said last week that he was looking to add at least one, and possibly two, pitchers before Detroit breaks camp. Another free agent, Chris Tillman, threw for team officials last Saturday in Lakeland before signing a one-year contract with the Orioles. Detroit had been pursuing Tillman for a Minor League contract and a non-roster invite.

Avila said they saw Liriano throw recently in Miami.

Though Detroit has five starters with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers, Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris, Avila has emphasized the need for depth. Zimmermann, who makes his first start of spring Saturday, has battled neck issues since signing with the Tigers two years ago, and he received a nerve block injection in his back earlier this month.

Norris, too, has battled injuries, and he traveled to Philadelphia earlier this week for a followup visit with Dr. William Meyers on his groin injury from last summer. He's being brought along slowly and has not been slotted into the Tigers' Spring Training rotation. Fiers also isn't scheduled to pitch in the first turn through the Tigers' rotation this spring.

"You saw how we ended up last year. It was not very good," Avila said. "We do have some question marks, so we always felt we needed a little bit more depth to make sure that we get started on the right foot and hopefully end on the right foot and hopefully give our young guys a little bit more time to develop. It's just something that we felt we needed at this point."

The Tigers know Liriano's potential well if he can bounce back, having watched him for the first half of his career as a front-line starter for the Twins under new Detroit manager Gardenhire and ex-Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson -- now the Tigers' bullpen coach -- from 2006-12.

"He's got filthy stuff," Gardenhire said. "He can throw a slider all day long, and people just keep swinging and missing. His fastball's good enough. And he's a great kid, just fantastic. He'll fit in perfect here. He's a worker, and these guys are going to love him over here. He's not a loud guy by any means, but he's a really good guy."

Liriano has bounced around in recent years, splitting last year between the Blue Jays and Astros after splitting the 2016 season between the Pirates and Blue Jays. In both years, he was dealt around the non-waiver Trade Deadline, giving him value for a rebuilding club like Detroit for the possibility of flipping him for prospects in the summer.

Liriano posted a 6-5 record and a 5.88 ERA in Toronto's rotation last year before Houston acquired him as a bullpen addition. For the season, his 4.9 walks per nine innings was his highest ratio since 2012. His 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings marked his first K rate under 9.0 since '11.

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

Detroit Tigers, Francisco Liriano

Tigers have multiple dark-horse candidates

Amarista, Norris, Adduci highlight group looking to snag roster spot
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- At first glance, Alexi Amarista looks like one of the college interns who work around the clubhouse every Spring Training, not one of the non-roster invitees competing for a utility spot on the Tigers' Opening Day roster.

Amarista is listed at 5-foot-6, and even that might be generous. His face looks younger than 28. But then he takes infield work, and it's abundantly clear why the Tigers brought him in. And as the team looks for a utility player to fill the role Andrew Romine handled for years, it's not hard to envision Amarista winning the job.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- At first glance, Alexi Amarista looks like one of the college interns who work around the clubhouse every Spring Training, not one of the non-roster invitees competing for a utility spot on the Tigers' Opening Day roster.

Amarista is listed at 5-foot-6, and even that might be generous. His face looks younger than 28. But then he takes infield work, and it's abundantly clear why the Tigers brought him in. And as the team looks for a utility player to fill the role Andrew Romine handled for years, it's not hard to envision Amarista winning the job.

Tigers Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

The Tigers clearly respect Amarista's seven years of Major League experience. When the coaching staff divided up players to different fields during defensive drills for full-squad workouts this week, it put Amarista with the big league regulars.

The Tigers have a good number of spots taken for a rebuilding club. But when rebuilding teams first re-make their roster, the roles that tend to be up for grabs are the ones that either don't have an incumbent, or don't have a ready-made prospect in line to take it. The utility roles on the Tigers' roster falls into that gray area.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Here's a look at a few dark-horse candidates to grab a roster spot:

Amarista: He was once a regular starting shortstop with the Padres, before transitioning into a utility role the past few seasons in San Diego and Colorado. The 28-year-old played every position but first base and catcher last year, and he made appearances as an emergency pitcher in 2015 and '16. He doesn't hit much, with a .231 career average and .599 OPS, but he's a left-handed batter and an efficient baserunner.

OF Jim Adduci: Last year's early-season success story is back in Tigers camp on a non-roster invite, and he's healthy after an oblique injury ruined his hot start at the plate last year. Detroit has a different outfield than the one Adduci cracked last year upon his April callup, but the club could still use a left-handed hitter to mix in the corners with Mikie Mahtook and Nicholas Castellanos.

Video: DET@BAL: Adduci drives his first homer to left field

C Derek Norris: The Tigers pretty much have their catching duo with James McCann and John Hicks, but new manager Ron Gardenhire is open to carrying three catchers, something he did at times in Minnesota. Any health concerns with Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez in camp could lead to this, with Hicks getting potential time at first base and/or DH. If they go this route, Norris or Brayan Pena could benefit, but Norris is seven years younger.

RHP Mark Montgomery: The bullpen competition is wide open, and Montgomery is coming off a stellar season in the Cardinals' farm system, having allowed just 46 hits over 66 2/3 innings with 73 strikeouts at Triple-A Memphis.

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

Detroit Tigers

Machado welcomes arrival of new Wilson gloves

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Unlike a lot of former utility players, the Tigers' Dixon Machado doesn't have a lot of gloves. He uses one infield glove, whether he's at second base, third or shortstop. Also unlike a lot of young players, he has a pretty sweet glove.

As the Wilson representatives lined up bags of gloves for their Tigers clients, Machado's custom-ordered infield gloves were easy to find. If the blue and gray colors didn't stand out, the club's old-school logo -- the Tiger inside the circle logo from the 1980s -- on the side of the glove did.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Unlike a lot of former utility players, the Tigers' Dixon Machado doesn't have a lot of gloves. He uses one infield glove, whether he's at second base, third or shortstop. Also unlike a lot of young players, he has a pretty sweet glove.

As the Wilson representatives lined up bags of gloves for their Tigers clients, Machado's custom-ordered infield gloves were easy to find. If the blue and gray colors didn't stand out, the club's old-school logo -- the Tiger inside the circle logo from the 1980s -- on the side of the glove did.

Tigers Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

Machado has a home and road version. The latter has orange stitching around the webbing.

"This is different," Machado said. "They made it pretty cool."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Machado actually ordered those gloves late last season. Custom orders usually are made in the fall so that there's enough time to do the work in case of any supply shortage. Players can put in their custom orders online themselves or have someone with their agency place it for them.

The company delivers gloves early in Spring Training, going from camp to camp in Florida and Arizona. Various glove manufacturers have been through Tigers camp this week. Thursday was Glove Day for Wilson representatives to deliver gloves to clients like Machado, Miguel Cabrera, Matthew Boyd, Alex Wilson, Daniel Norris, Derek Norris and Mike Fiers, and take any additional orders from players as they check out different models for different positions.

Don't expect to see Machado's gloves in action right away. Like most infielders, he has to wear his gloves until they're soft and flexible enough for him to feel comfortable using every day.

Tweet from @tigers: What a glovely day! Nothing like getting a new @wilsonballglove in #SpringTraining. #GloveDay pic.twitter.com/MU9ZqNjsqJ

"I don't think that I could use this, this year," he said. "Maybe in June, July, but I don't think so, because I won't change my glove during the season. Next year, I'll use it."

Machado's Wilson glove from the last couple of years is still in good enough shape that he wants to keep using it.

"It's fine and I feel comfortable with it," he said. "And I didn't use it that much last year."

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

Detroit Tigers, Dixon Machado

Quartet offers possible glimpse into future

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers will have to wait a while before they can think about putting Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows in the same rotation. That doesn't mean the talented quartet of right-handers can't think about it while they work in the same camp.

MLB Pipeline's updated list of top Tigers prospects came out Wednesday, and to no one's surprise, the top four are the aforementioned starting pitchers, in that order. They're not only looming as the potential heart of the next Tigers rotation, they're unquestionably the center of Detroit's rebuilding project, something they don't take lightly.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers will have to wait a while before they can think about putting Franklin Perez, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows in the same rotation. That doesn't mean the talented quartet of right-handers can't think about it while they work in the same camp.

MLB Pipeline's updated list of top Tigers prospects came out Wednesday, and to no one's surprise, the top four are the aforementioned starting pitchers, in that order. They're not only looming as the potential heart of the next Tigers rotation, they're unquestionably the center of Detroit's rebuilding project, something they don't take lightly.

"It's really special to look around and see all the good arms we have in this organization," Burrows said. "We're all so young, too, which is really cool to see. It gives us hope in the future that we're all going to be young starters in the big leagues and dominating, hopefully. The group of guys we have is really special."

While Faedo works and learns in big league camp, Perez, Burrows and Manning are together in Minor League camp. Burrows and Perez are getting to know each other as likely teammates at Double-A Erie, while Burrows and Manning are throwing buddies this spring.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Me and Beau are catch partners. We go at each other every day," Manning said. "Me and Perez have hung out a couple times, so it's been really quick. We've been building really good relationships, and we all kind of know we're going to hopefully make the team and take it to the World Series."

Perez is new to the group, having joined the Tigers' organization at the end of last August in the Justin Verlander trade. He was a teammate of Burrows for a couple days, traveling from the Astros' Double-A affiliate at Corpus Christi up north to join the SeaWolves. He was scheduled to start their season finale at Akron on Labor Day but was scratched due to a blister, rendering his travel moot.

It doesn't take long to see why Perez is so highly rated. As the 20-year-old right-hander talked with reporters during the Tigers' Minor League media day event on Wednesday afternoon, he was preparing to throw live batting practice on the back fields next door as part of Minor League minicamp. About an hour later, he took the mound and overpowered a group of Tigers hitting prospects, the potential power fastball evident behind his 6-foot-3 frame.

Video: Top Prospects: Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers

Burrows, Manning and Faedo are all Tigers' first-round picks, having been taken over the last three Drafts. Burrows has 55 Minor League starts over the last three seasons, but he broke out last year with a 3.20 ERA and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings over 26 starts covering 135 innings.

Video: Top Prospects: Beau Burrows, RHP, Tigers

Considering Perez made just six starts down the stretch at Double-A, and Burrows 15, they're expected to open the season as teammates back at Erie. Depending on where Faedo, the oldest of the group at age 22, begins his pro career -- Class A Advanced Lakeland seems likely -- and how quickly they all progress, the SeaWolves could have Detroit's top three prospects in the same rotation at some point in the summer.

"I think we can be the group together in the future for the Tigers," Perez said. "I feel really good because I know all the pitchers. I tried to get to know them every day. We have a really good group."

Video: Faedo Live BP

Manning is the youngest of the bunch, having been drafted out of high school with the ninth overall selection in 2016. The lanky right-hander just turned 20 last month and was part of a playoff team last summer at Class A West Michigan, closing out his first pro season there before heading to instructional ball in Florida. He's also the least experienced pitcher, not taking the mound until high school.

"I think it's going to be good for us in the future," Manning said. "We're all right now really good friends, but we also hold each other accountable and we're internally competing against each other, too."

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

Detroit Tigers, Alex Faedo, Franklin Perez

Perez leads revamped Top 30 Prospects list

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

There's a new era in Detroit, focused on something not seen in recent memory: rebuilding.

The Tigers made the playoffs four years in a row, from 2011-14, playing in the World Series back in 2012. But they haven't been to the postseason since, and when they sank to the bottom of the American League Central en route to finishing with baseball's worst record, the reset button was firmly pushed. Veterans Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez were traded before the season's end, as was reliever Justin Wilson. Ian Kinsler followed during the offseason.

There's a new era in Detroit, focused on something not seen in recent memory: rebuilding.

The Tigers made the playoffs four years in a row, from 2011-14, playing in the World Series back in 2012. But they haven't been to the postseason since, and when they sank to the bottom of the American League Central en route to finishing with baseball's worst record, the reset button was firmly pushed. Veterans Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez were traded before the season's end, as was reliever Justin Wilson. Ian Kinsler followed during the offseason.

Tigers Top 30 Prospects list

:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::

In the short term, things might not be so pretty at Comerica Park. In the long term, the Tigers now boast having one of the better farm systems the organization has had in a long time. Much of that is because of the Verlander trade, which netted three top 10 players in Franklin Perez, Jake Rogers and Daz Cameron. Perez becomes the system's top prospect and Rogers is on the Top 10 Catchers list as well.

Perez gets added to an interesting group of arms the Tigers have collected in the Draft of late. Matt Manning and Beau Burrows were high school pitchers taken in back-to-back first rounds in 2016 and 2015. Alex Faedo, their 2017 first-rounder, joins the top four and was a college product. Kyle Funkhouser and Gregory Soto are also in the top 10, giving the Tigers five homegrown arms in the top third of the list.

While the top of the Top 30 is much, much better than it has been in some time, the list does thin out in the second half and it remains to be seen what kind of impact the position players on the list will make. Rogers looks like a big league regular behind the plate, the hope is Cameron's turnaround in 2017 is for real and people are excited about Isaac Paredes, obtained in the Avila/Wilson deal, and his future. There are other big leaguers for sure, from homegrown guys like Christin Stewart and Mike Gerber, to trade acquisitions like Dawel Lugo and Sergio Alcantara, up and down the Top 30, but there's also the chance they end up more as role players rather than everyday contributors.

Much of the help is at least a year away, and there's bound to be more rebuilding to come. Having the No. 1 overall pick in this June's Draft certainly won't hurt the movement. Be patient, Detroit: Things might not be great right away, but from a long-term success standpoint, it looks like they are heading in the right direction.

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.

Jump: Gregory Soto, LHP (2017: NR | 2018: 8)
Fall: Adam Ravenelle, RHP (2017: 13 | 2018: NR)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.

Hit: 55 -- Isaac Paredes
Power: 55 -- Christin Stewart (Reynaldo Rivera)
Run: 70 -- Derek Hill
Arm: 70 -- Sergio Alcantara
Defense: 70 -- Jake Rogers
Fastball: 70 -- Gerson Moreno (Jason Foley)
Curveball: 60 -- Franklin Perez (Matt Hall, Matt Manning)
Slider: 65 -- Alex Faedo
Changeup: 55 -- Perez (Tyler Alexander)
Control: 55 -- Perez (Tyler Alexander)

How they were built
Draft: 14
International: 5
Trade: 9
Free agent: 1
Rule 5: 1

Breakdown by ETA
2018: 7
2019: 15
2020: 5
2021: 2
2022: 1

Breakdown by position
C: 3
1B: 1
2B: 0
3B: 1
SS: 3
OF: 8
RHP: 10
LHP: 4

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Detroit Tigers

Castellanos keeping it simple in transition to RF

After 21 games in outfield last year, 25-year-old making full-time move
Special to MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nicholas Castellanos enters Spring Training knowing exactly what his position will be -- right field.

With late-summer acquisition Jeimer Candelario expected to become the Tigers' starting third baseman, the team moved Castellanos to the outfield hoping to take presssure off him defensively and increase his offensive output.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nicholas Castellanos enters Spring Training knowing exactly what his position will be -- right field.

With late-summer acquisition Jeimer Candelario expected to become the Tigers' starting third baseman, the team moved Castellanos to the outfield hoping to take presssure off him defensively and increase his offensive output.

"It's kind of the way it worked," Castellanos said. "Because of all the trades and the way the team was going, and getting rid of this and building for the future and acquiring other infielders, it's kind of the way it worked."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

General manager Al Avila believes that Castellanos can produce bigger numbers with his bat in the heart of the order. Last season, Castellanos batted .272/.320/.490 with 26 home runs and 101 RBIs.

"Hitting is the hardest thing to teach in baseball," Avila said. "And Castellanos has everything you want in a bat in the middle of the order, and we want him to continue to get better there."

Video: Outlook: Castellanos should remain productive

Castellanos still describes himself as an infielder that can play outfield, but manager Ron Gardenhire sees the 25-year-old as a full-time outfielder, as the organization has a surplus of infielders in development.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Gardenhire would not rule out Castellanos playing third in a pinch, but the manager wants him to focus on being in right. Castellanos has responded positively to the change.

"It's game on with Nick," Gardenhire said. "He's got it going on. He came in and told me what he's going to do and how comfortable he is. He's going to be that guy for sure.

"He's going to be our right fielder, and he's going to be doing all of his work there. We made that decision as an organization. I think this is going to be a great fit for him. He's comfortable there, and I don't want to see him bouncing back and forth."

Video: Nicholas Castellanos sees his role as a leader in '18

Castellanos said he was receptive to the move because he wants to do what he can to make sure the Tigers put their best team on the field.

"I'll do whatever they need me to do," Castellanos said. "Right now, they've just asked me to go out there and catch flyballs, so that's what I'm doing. What happens if your boss was like, 'Hey, we need you to go over here, that's going to benefit the company.' ... Same thing."

Castellanos played shortstop when he was younger and didn't begin playing third base until his professional career. He is looking at this move as another part of his career progression.

As for the defensive adjustments Castellanos will need to make, he said he wants to keep things simple.

"I just look at it like run fast, catch the ball and throw it in and try to win baseball games," Castellanos said. "Everything has its adjustments. All the surfaces and all the different fields play differently. Some are fast, some are slow. Some are bumpy. Some are wet and stay low to the ground. So every field and every position has its things to get used to.

"All the atmospheres are different. Everything is different. So that's why I don't try to control anything, just go out and play."

Ralph Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

Detroit Tigers, Nicholas Castellanos

Norris clears hurdle, ready to add to workload

Tigers lefty throws bullpen session as he recovers from last year's groin injury
Special to MLB.com

LAKELAND -- Left-handed starter Daniel Norris threw a bullpen session Tuesday, a day after he traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Meyers, who examined Norris following his midseason groin injury last year.

Norris said he is ready to ramp things up this spring.

LAKELAND -- Left-handed starter Daniel Norris threw a bullpen session Tuesday, a day after he traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Meyers, who examined Norris following his midseason groin injury last year.

Norris said he is ready to ramp things up this spring.

Tigers' Spring Training information

"Everything is good, structurally everything is great," Norris said. "I feel good, threw a bullpen today, and I'll throw [batting practice Wednesday]."

Norris said he felt soreness in his groin during his final start of last season, and he wanted to go back to Dr. Meyers to make sure everything was a go.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Last year, Norris struggled, going 5-8 with a 5.31 ERA in 22 games (18 starts) while dealing with several lower-body injuries. Norris had previously suggested part of his struggles came from trying to rush back from the disabled list too quickly.

"We're all athletes, every guy in the big leagues is fighting something," Norris said. "Y'all just might not hear about it, but if it's bad enough to go on the DL you do hear about it. Second half of the season, I was hurt the whole time. I wanted to pitch through it. I fought to pitch through it. It was tough."

Video: Norris discusses learning from 2017, building for '18

Norris said he expects to be ready for Opening Day.

"We got great news [Monday]," Norris said. "I haven't thought about that to be honest."

SHOWING OFF THE BASICS

Manager Ron Gardenhire is relying on some of the veterans to help the younger players improve their knowledge of the basics during the spring. Shortstop Jose Iglesias is one of those veterans Gardenhire wants to lean on, and for the former All-Star it means performing basic fielding drills to set an example.

"I just know him, and I know what he can do with the ball," Gardenhire said. "He's a magician. But during these drills I don't need a magician. I just need for him to show us what he learned as a kid growing up because he's far past all that stuff.

"So rolling balls to him might be a little ridiculous, but I want those kids to understand what they're doing. Catch the ball, bury it in your glove, use your feet, shorten the distance, follow your throws, all the little things that can take a lot of pressure off you by controlling the baseball."

Despite how basic the drills are for Iglesias, he says he's more than happy to share knowledge and is excited at the prospects of working with the younger talent.

"It's an honor for the manager to show that sort of confidence in me, and I'm blessed to be here and be part of this team," Iglesias said. "The young players are excited to learn, and they want to get better. I want to help them get better any way I can."

Iglesias said that he's having a great time around Gardenhire, pointing to the little changes the new manager has made that have brought a fun atmosphere to camp.

Video: MIN@DET: Iglesias makes great over the shoulder catch

"[Gardenhire] is a very energetic person with great character," Iglesias said. "This is just the beginning. A lot of great things are coming."

NO SCREENS NEEDED

Left-handed reliever Travis Wood isn't about to let a protective pitching screen or a finger injury from an offseason crossbow accident stop him from throwing.

Wood threw live batting practice without a screen Tuesday, drawing the concern of pitching coach Chris Bosio.

"He just didn't want a screen, that's who he is," Gardenhire said. "I mean he could have been behind the L-Screen at least. And [Bosio] is yelling at me, 'Go over there and tell him not to try to catch a ball'. ... Well what if it's coming at his lip?

"I don't think I can really tell a guy don't try to catch the ball when the ball is hit at your face."

WILSON WILL MAKE EXHIBITION START

Gardenhire said that right-hander Alex Wilson will start the Tigers exhibition spring opener against Florida Southern College on Thursday. He said he was not ready to name a starter for Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Wilson's pitch count Thursday will be up to Bosio.

"If he tells a guy he's throwing 25 pitches he's going to throw 25 pitches," Gardenhire said. "If that's three innings, it's three innings. If it's two innings, it's two.

"It sounds like [Bosio] is going to have me going to the mound quite a bit. Maybe if I make him walk out there with that foot, maybe he won't make us change pitchers so often."

Detroit Tigers, Daniel Norris

V-Mart enters camp healthy, ready to play

Veteran designated hitter was slowed by heart issues in '17
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez isn't ready to call it a career just yet.

Physically, he said, his heart is fine following an ablation procedure last September to correct an irregular heartbeat that hospitalized him twice in 2017. As for his heart for the game, the 39-year-old said he's ready to get back to the plate with a team that has become drastically younger since his last at-bat.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez isn't ready to call it a career just yet.

Physically, he said, his heart is fine following an ablation procedure last September to correct an irregular heartbeat that hospitalized him twice in 2017. As for his heart for the game, the 39-year-old said he's ready to get back to the plate with a team that has become drastically younger since his last at-bat.

"I'm just trying to have fun this last year and help the way I can with these young guys," Martinez said before the Tigers' first full-squad workout on Monday. "Not a lot of people get the opportunity to play every day in the big leagues. I hope they get that and make the most out of it."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

Martinez has had that opportunity for more than a dozen seasons. He was the everyday DH last year, trying to show he still had enough power in his surgically repaired legs to be a run producer in the cleanup spot, when an accelerated heartbeat hospitalized him in June. After two weeks on the disabled list, he returned to action, but he struggled to get back to form. His heart raced again during an August game in Chicago, leading to another trip to the hospital and a season-ending procedure.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Considering Martinez lost his father to a heart attack when he was young, the situation was admittedly scary.

"I took it one thing at a time, and I let the doctor check things out and do his job," Martinez said. "He told me that a lot of professional athletes like basketball players get that a lot, so I was going to be able to come back and play."

Martinez was cleared to resume training early in the offseason. He was on medication until the holidays.

"I did pretty much what I [usually] do in the offseason," Martinez said, "just that it took a little longer than usual. But nothing special. I was able to do the regular stuff that I usually do every year."

Martinez had a couple of well-struck drives during batting practice on Monday morning, taking teammate Alex Wilson deep. Martinez did not do much field work, though manager Ron Gardenhire said on Monday afternoon that he's good with whatever Martinez wants to do.

"I don't think he's going to do too much work on the infield," Gardenhire said. "I don't expect him to. I want him to hit. I want him to stay healthy and hit for us. I'll talk to him as we go along and see what his thoughts are. If he's feeling good one day and he wants to get out there at first base, I know he's done it, I've watched him do it against us, and maybe so. But right now, I just want him to get through Spring Training healthy."

Such is reality for a player who had knee surgeries before his heart issues, and turns 40 years old in December.

"When I came into the big leagues, I was 22, 23 years old, and I used to see the veteran guys going into the hot tub," Martinez said. "And they were like, 'Yeah, wait till you're 30.' Now I thank God, and I'm really thankful that God let me get to this point and give me the opportunity, because now I know what they were talking about. It just doesn't get any easier."

Martinez is under contract for $18 million in the final season of the four-year contract he signed after his MVP runner-up effort in 2014. He's not thinking beyond that, and hasn't stated any retirement plans other than tending to his cattle ranch in central Florida whenever he's done.

Shorter-term, Martinez said he has every intention to play this season. If the Tigers decide otherwise, it's up to them.

"The only thing I can do is just go out and give my best," Martinez said. "I'll let them make the decisions. It'll never be on me."

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

Detroit Tigers, Victor Martinez