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Tigers unveil schedule for 78th spring in Lakeland

AL Central champs open 34-game slate against NL East champion Braves

DETROIT -- The Tigers fell two wins shy of a World Series rematch with the Cardinals last month. They'll get two chances at them in the Grapefruit League.

The Tigers released their Spring Training schedule on Wednesday, unveiling a 34-game slate that includes 18 games at Joker Marchant Stadium for their 78th Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla., the last 49 at their current ballpark.

It's the longest running relationship between a Major League team and its Spring Training home, which will welcome back Brad Ausmus in his first camp as manager after three springs in Lakeland as a catcher.

He'll have a veteran team to prepare, and a schedule that should feature a pretty good challenge. The Tigers will have five matchups against the NL East champion Braves, including a home-and-home set Feb. 26-27 to open up Grapefruit League play.

Detroit's annual exhibition with Florida Southern College, which took place in mid-March this past spring due to schedule conflicts, returns to its usual spot at the beginning of the slate. They'll meet on Feb. 25 at 1:05 p.m. ET at Joker Marchant Stadium before the Tigers head to Disney's Wide World of Sports complex to meet the Braves on Feb. 26. Atlanta opens up the home portion of the Tigers' Grapefruit League schedule the next day.

The Cardinals come to Lakeland on March 3, then host the Tigers a week later as part of a two-day trip to Jupiter that begins with a March 9 game against the Marlins.

After five matchups between the Tigers and Mets last spring, the two teams will meet just twice in 2014 -- March 8 in Lakeland, then March 18 at Port St. Lucie in one of two split-squad days for the Tigers.

The other split-squad day is Feb. 28. The Tigers will host the Yankees that day in Lakeland and send another squad to Clearwater to face the Phillies.

The Tigers and Yankees will play three times this coming spring, including March 7 and 12 in Tampa. The NL Central champion Pirates will visit Lakeland on Tuesday, March 4 before welcoming the Tigers to Bradenton on March 24.

Unlike past years, the Tigers don't have a night game on their home schedule, though that could change once their broadcast schedule is announced. Every one of their Grapefruit League games is scheduled for 1:05 or 1:10 p.m. except for their March 7 visit to the Yankees, which is a 7:05 p.m. matchup.

The Tigers will head north a day early to play an exhibition game March 29 at Washington, a 2:05 p.m. game against the Nationals. Two days later, they'll celebrate Opening Day in Detroit against the Royals.

Once again, tickets for Tigers home games next spring will be divided into three pricing levels with navy, orange and white level games. Individual Spring Training game tickets go on sale on Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. at or by phone at 866-66-TIGER.

Full-season Spring Training ticket packages will be available starting Monday at or by phone through the Lakeland ticket office at (863) 686-8075. Partial season-ticket plans of five or more games are also available by phone.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

Detroit Tigers