Due to concussions, Avila switching mask

Tigers backstop transitioning from traditional gear to hockey-style

Due to concussions, Avila switching mask

DETROIT -- Alex Avila is committed to making the hockey-style catching mask work for him, whether it's comfortable or not. After concussions in each of the last three seasons, the Tigers' backstop is making the switch.

"Eventually I'll feel comfortable with it," Avila said at TigerFest on Saturday. "I will be wearing it full time."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers agree to terms with Alburquerque

Right-handed setup man inks one-year, $1.725 million deal to avoid arbitration

Tigers agree to terms with Alburquerque

DETROIT -- The Tigers' streak of avoiding arbitration continues. The team settled with the last of its arbitration-eligible players Saturday by agreeing to a one-year deal with right-hander Al Alburquerque.

A source confirmed a report from CBSSports.com on the deal, which will pay the 28-year-old reliever a base salary of $1.725 million. He'll make an extra $12,500 if he appears in 75 games.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fans show their stripes at annual TigerFest

Sold-out audience brings high energy to greet Detroit's new-look roster

Fans show their stripes at annual TigerFest

DETROIT -- The roster was a little different, the stars a little less familiar for some. The weather was a little warmer by late January standards. The response for TigerFest was very familiar.

The event sold out soon after tickets went on sale last month. A half-hour before gates opened Saturday morning, the lines to get in at Comerica Park stretched out to Woodward Avenue. Some were bundled up in heavy coats and gloves. Others challenged their tolerance for the cold so that they could wear their jerseys, including a few for new Tiger Yoenis Cespedes.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers hold delicious sandwich-making competition

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Tigers hold delicious sandwich-making competition

During the season, MLB players are, well, professional baseball players. But during the offseason, they can be anything they want. For a few Tigers, the team's Winter Caravan Tour was the chance to be competitive culinary architects.

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With new appreciation for game, Iglesias raring to go

Infielder missed 2014 season with fractures in both shins

With new appreciation for game, Iglesias raring to go

DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias briefly caught himself in a time warp Thursday when he was asked about working with infield coach Omar Vizquel this spring.

"I can't wait," he said. "We've got a new manager ... "

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price likes Detroit, open to extension talks

Left-hander eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season

Price likes Detroit, open to extension talks

DETROIT -- Like a typical Michigan winter, the weather was chilly to greet David Price back to town Thursday for the Tigers Winter Caravan. Price, however, was not chilly to Detroit.

If nothing else, he wanted to clear the air -- cold as it is -- about that when he talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since his roller-coaster 2014 season ended in October.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Caravan makes stops at firehouse, hospital on final leg

Avila, Nathan compete in donning of fire gear before Tigers visit with children

Caravan makes stops at firehouse, hospital on final leg

NORTHVILLE, Mich. -- Alex Avila has had plenty of discussion about how much protection catchers need from foul tips and bats. As he donned a firefighter's suit Friday, it might have been a bit much.

"This is a little more gear than I'm used to," he said as he struggled to hoist the air tank over his back.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

To serve fans: Nathan closes out lunch rush

Tigers reliever works tables at restaurant as part of Winter Caravan

To serve fans: Nathan closes out lunch rush

DETROIT -- Tigers closer Joe Nathan had enough scrutiny of his delivery last year. On Thursday, nobody was questioning his delivery of chicken wings and chips.

The way his 2014 season unfolded, maybe it was fitting Nathan was closing the lunch rush. The way his reception with Tigers fans grew rocky at times, his stint at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester Hills, Mich., was a sort of fresh start.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scherzer's rise altered chances of deal with Tigers

Scherzer's rise altered chances of deal with Tigers

DETROIT -- It turns out the six-year, $144 million offer the Tigers made to Max Scherzer was their last real chance to sign him. It was not necessarily their best chance.

As the market has shown again, the best opportunity for teams to sign star players long term is usually two years before free agency. It's a timetable Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski believes in, and a timetable Detroit put into use when signing long-term deals with Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera -- not once, but twice each over the last seven years.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo of the Day: Miggy at Heat game

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Photo of the Day: Miggy at Heat game

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder took it to the LeBron-less Heat on Tuesday night in a 94-86 victory in Miami. For his part, Durant went 19-8-8-4-1 while Russell Westbrook added 19-10-6-4 of his own. 

Oh, and Miguel Cabrera was there.

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Scherzer makes gains under Jones' tutelage

Former Tigers right-hander became elite after mechanical tweaks in 2012

Scherzer makes gains under Jones' tutelage

DETROIT -- Jeff Jones finally got around to cleaning out his truck from an offseason of hunting and fishing on Monday morning when he got a call about Max Scherzer. The Tigers pitching coach ended up taking a ride down memory lane.

Jones thought back to 2012, when Scherzer was still a young pitcher with great stretches but struggling for consistency.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Richmond natives Verlander, Wilson celebrate win

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Richmond natives Verlander, Wilson celebrate win

Sharing a hometown with someone is a serious thing. It's easier to relate to other people from your hometown and you always root for your fellow wherever-you're-from-ians. You never forget where you're from, after all. 

When you're both superstars in your respective sports, that bond over hometown pride is just a bit amplified.

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Tigers moving on after Scherzer agrees with Nats

Tigers moving on after Scherzer agrees with Nats

DETROIT -- In the end, the long goodbye to Max Scherzer lasted 10 months.

It began with that late March morning in Spring Training, when the Tigers announced they had made Scherzer a long-term contract offer -- $144 million over six years -- that Scherzer turned down. It became official in the wee hours of a late January morning, with next Spring Training on the horizon.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Tigers find top talent comes with hefty Price

Scherzer, Shields would be luxury items on free-agent market

Tigers find top talent comes with hefty Price

Add Max Scherzer -- or even James Shields -- to the Detroit Tigers' roster, and you'd feel pretty good about things, wouldn't you? You'd feel far less fretful about what Justin Verlander has left in the tank, you'd feel far better about a bullpen that would benefit from Alfredo Simon shifting to a setup role, you'd feel the Tigers are as loaded in the lineup and the pitching staff as a team can reasonably expected to be in this environment, and you'd have to cast them as the continued favorites in an obviously improved American League Central.

But on Friday, we got cold, hard clarity about just how difficult -- not impossible, mind you, but definitely difficult -- this pie-in-the-sky roster construction can be.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Price, Tigers reach record compromise

Arbitration avoided with one-year, $19.75M deal

Price, Tigers reach record compromise

DETROIT -- The Tigers have not faced an arbitration ruling since Dave Dombrowski took over as team president/general manager. On Friday, they settled a case in record territory for a second consecutive year to try to keep that streak intact, but they still have some work to do.

With the industry watching former Cy Young winner David Price's case, the two sides avoided arbitration with a one-year deal just before Friday afternoon's deadline for exchanging numbers.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy improving, no longer in walking boot

Slugger set for follow-up exam on right foot, ankle in mid-February

Miggy improving, no longer in walking boot

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera took another step Thursday in his rehab from foot and ankle surgery. He took that step without the aid of a walking boot.

"He's cleared to wear normal shoes," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Thursday.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers outright reliever Putkonen to Triple-A

Tigers outright reliever Putkonen to Triple-A

DETROIT -- The Tigers held onto a piece of their relief depth when Luke Putkonen cleared waivers. The right-handed long reliever has been outrighted to Triple-A Toledo, the team announced Thursday afternoon.

Detroit designated Putkonen's contract for assignment last Tuesday to open a 40-man roster spot for Tom Gorzelanny. The team had 10 days to make a corresponding move with Putkonen, and used nearly all of that time. There had been some buzz that the Tigers could trade him rather than risk losing him for nothing through waivers, but in the end, interested teams opted against using a roster spot to grab him.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trammell jumps at chance to share baseball insight

Tigers' special assistant relishes opportunity to pass on knowledge from nearly 40-year career

Trammell jumps at chance to share baseball insight

DETROIT -- The face looked vaguely familiar, even if the colors he was wearing did not. As Alan Trammell walked back and forth on a gymnasium floor, he was wearing the green and gold of Wayne State University, not the Olde English D.

Then, as he saw an opportunity to make a point during an infield drill with high school players, he sprung back to his old shortstop stance.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In playing days, Ausmus owned new Tigers lefty Gorzelanny

Detroit manager went 4-for-8 with two doubles, five RBIs off young southpaw

In playing days, Ausmus owned new Tigers lefty Gorzelanny

DETROIT -- Tom Gorzelanny's signing, not surprisingly, was welcome news to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who now has a veteran lefty in his much-scrutinized bullpen. If anyone should know what he's getting with Gorzelanny, it's Ausmus.

Ausmus now gets to manage Gorzelanny, but before that, he arguably owned him. It's a matchup that dates back to Gorzelanny's Major League debut a decade ago, and a wily veteran catcher who ruined his day.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy unlikely to be ready for start of Spring Training

Slugger scheduled to wear walking boot until mid-February follow-up exam

Miggy unlikely to be ready for start of Spring Training

DETROIT -- The Tigers are hoping that Miguel Cabrera and his surgically repaired right foot will be healthy enough to be in their Opening Day lineup. His Spring Training readiness, however, is expected to be limited if not delayed.

It isn't really a surprise, given the stress fracture that was repaired in Cabrera's foot in October. With Spring Training six weeks away for position players, however, it's becoming official.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unlike La Russa, Leyland not interested in front-office role

Former Tigers manager returning as special assistant at Spring Training

Unlike La Russa, Leyland not interested in front-office role

DETROIT -- Jim Leyland followed Tony La Russa's path into managing in the Major Leagues. He will not be following La Russa's path into the front office.

For that matter, he's not thinking about managing again, either.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ausmus, Avila to take part in Mud Hens' Tiger Talk

Charity event Jan. 22 at Fifth Third Field in Toledo

Ausmus, Avila to take part in Mud Hens' Tiger Talk

DETROIT -- While the Tigers embark on their Winter Caravan trek through Michigan later this month, manager Brad Ausmus and catcher Alex Avila will be making a side trip to Toledo, Ohio, for charity. They'll take part in the Mud Hens' second annual Tiger Talk: A Helping Hens Charity Event, scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22 at Fifth Third Field.

The event at the ballpark's Birdcage restaurant begins with a sit-down dinner at 6 p.m. ET, followed by a question-and-answer session with Ausmus and Avila. Mud Hens and Tigers items will be raffled off throughout the evening, and a live auction will include several other items up for bid.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Will Tigers sign more arms for the bullpen?

Club didn't pursue big-name relievers early in Hot Stove season

Will Tigers sign more arms for the bullpen?

DETROIT -- The holiday sales have pretty much wrapped up at the mall. The shopping season for some Major League clubs is still rolling.

For the Tigers, who largely held off on bullpen dealings through the heart of the Hot Stove season in November and December, this might be the time that they add arms to a relief corps that has been scrutinized since the American League Division Series collapse against Baltimore.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring workout dates announced for all clubs

Spring workout dates announced for all clubs

Spring is officially on the horizon.

Major League Baseball announced the first Spring Training workout dates for all 30 of its clubs on Thursday. Pitchers and catchers for the reigning World Series champion Giants -- along with the Phillies, Pirates and Reds -- will be the first to work out, with a Feb. 19 start date. Thirteen other clubs will work out pitchers and catchers for the first time the following day.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers ink Gorzelanny to one-year deal to boost 'pen

Right-hander Putkonen designated for assignment

Tigers ink Gorzelanny to one-year deal to boost 'pen

DETROIT -- Long before the Tigers built their dream rotation, they tried to trade for a young lefty starter in Pittsburgh named Tom Gorzelanny. Years later, they finally got him, but it's their bullpen they're hoping he can fix.

"He's a guy that we look at as being our veteran left-hander in the bullpen," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday after signing Gorzelanny to a one-year contract. "He's a guy that's got solid stuff with experience and knows how to get big league hitters out."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With latest vote, Trammell's Hall chances dwindle

Former Tigers shortstop gains just a few percentage points

With latest vote, Trammell's Hall chances dwindle

DETROIT -- Alan Trammell pretty well called it years ago, back when he and Jack Morris were languishing on the lower end of the Hall of Fame voting results.

"Maybe people are looking at us as not exactly superstars, but a team," Trammell said at the time of the 1984 World Series championship Tigers. "That's the way we were taught, and that's the way we played every day."

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lennerton returns to Tigers on Minor League deal

Left-handed first baseman hit 27 homers over two years at Triple-A Toledo

Lennerton returns to Tigers on Minor League deal

DETROIT -- For three years, Jordan Lennerton was a sweet-hitting first baseman in the Tigers' farm system who had the misfortune of playing the same position as Prince Fielder and then Miguel Cabrera. With a chance to hit the open market this winter, Lennerton opted to come back.

Lennerton tweeted last week that he's returning to Detroit. A source confirmed Monday that Lennerton has re-signed with the Tigers, inking a Minor League deal.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes' history with Tigers goes back to '11

Detroit was interested in outfielder before he signed with A's

Cespedes' history with Tigers goes back to '11

DETROIT -- Three years later, Yoenis Cespedes hadn't forgotten about the Tigers. Clearly, the Tigers hadn't forgotten about Cespedes.

When the Tigers got in touch with the Cuban outfielder by phone on the final day of the Winter Meetings, they were on opposite coasts -- the Tigers' contingent in San Diego, Cespedes at his offseason home in South Florida. Cespedes' thoughts, however, went back to the Dominican Republic.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers look to keep window of contention open

Detroit hopes Verlander can rebound, revamped outfield will keep team competitive

Tigers look to keep window of contention open

DETROIT -- If 2006 was the start of the Tigers as a postseason contender, then 2015 will mark the 10th year of the run. Whether it marks the beginning or the end is a matter of opinion, but the moves the Tigers have made have shown how increasingly tough it is to keep a contender together.

The parts continue to change. The goal remains the same, but at some point, the goal will have to change, too. That point isn't here yet, but it might be on the horizon. In other words, this might be the time to remember to enjoy the ride, because while nothing is guaranteed, absolutely nothing with this team is certain in the years to come.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.