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Cameron makes dazzling impression at camp

Outfielder to open season at Triple-A Toledo; Perez tosses two hitless frames
@beckjason
March 25, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. -- No, JaCoby Jones' trip to the injured list did not open a spot for Daz Cameron to make it to Majors out of Spring Training. But as the Tigers prepared to break camp with an intrasquad game Monday against a roster of their top prospects, their highly

LAKELAND, Fla. -- No, JaCoby Jones' trip to the injured list did not open a spot for Daz Cameron to make it to Majors out of Spring Training. But as the Tigers prepared to break camp with an intrasquad game Monday against a roster of their top prospects, their highly regarded center-field prospect gave them a reminder not to forget about him when he opens the season at Triple-A Toledo.

"Yeah, somewhat," Cameron said. "I feel like we were just trying to go out and beat them."

They didn’t, taking a 9-1 loss to the big league club. But it wasn’t for lack of effort by Cameron, who closed out camp with a flourish.

Cameron had one of just three hits off starter Spencer Turnbull, an infield grounder in the first inning that gave third baseman Niko Goodrum little chance at a play. Cameron then stole second and third base off Turnbull and catcher Grayson Greiner.

An inning later, Cameron went bouncing off the right-field wall to snag a Gordon Beckham drive in the corner, likely giving Tigers officials some worries as he shook his left shoulder. He was fine and stayed in the game, eventually swapping spots with designated hitter Brock Deatherage.

A day earlier, Cameron hit a grand slam in the Tigers’ 18-6 win over the Blue Jays to close out their Grapefruit League schedule. Add in the numbers Cameron posted while still in Major League camp before being reassigned March 14, and the 22-year-old batted .357 (10-for-28) with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and seven RBIs.

Cameron was arguably the bright spot of Tigers camp without making the club. But while Detroit looked over its internal options to replace Jones, Cameron wasn't a serious consideration. The Tigers want him to continue developing with Toledo before considering a trip to Detroit.

Cameron wasn't trying to think about that, instead focusing on the games and winning. Still, he left an impression.

"I try to have confidence going out there," Cameron said. "But I don't worry about [making an impression]. I try to go out there and do my thing, make sure I prep myself to the [fullest] so that I have the confidence going into the season. Confidence is always big. It's good to know that I did well here. It'll help carry me into the season."

Quick hits

• Cameron wasn't the only prospect who made an impression Monday. Starter Franklin Perez, the Tigers' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, tossed two hitless innings with a walk and no strikeouts. He threw just 11 of 23 pitches for strikes, but his fastball topped out at 94 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun.

Dustin Peterson started in center field for the Tigers' big league club as manager Ron Gardenhire tried to gauge his potential as a backup there. He caught one ball, a Parker Meadows fly ball leading off the third. Afterwards, Gardenhire told him he had made the team "unless he does something stupid overnight."

• The Tigers informed catcher Cameron Rupp that he will not make the Opening Day roster, and they spent Monday talking to him about accepting a Minor League assignment. The Tigers acquired Rupp from the Giants on March 9. Rupp batted 8-for-26 with four RBIs between the two clubs this spring, including 5-for-16 with the Tigers.

Up next

The Tigers wrap up their stay in Florida with a trip to Tropicana Field for a 12:35 p.m. ET game against the Rays. Matt Moore will face his former team in his final tuneup for the regular season, and most of the Tigers' regulars should get an at-bat or two. Ryan Yarbrough starts for the Rays.

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