Ausmus wants Tigers aggressive on basepaths

Detroit led Majors in stolen bases last Spring Training, and green light is on again this year

Ausmus wants Tigers aggressive on basepaths

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The green light is back on at Tigertown this spring. The man issuing it hopes he has more guys taking advantage of it.

Brad Ausmus' first Spring Training as Tigers manager last year might have been best known for the baserunning. The Tigers led the Majors in stolen bases (33) and attempts (47) last spring, nearly matching their totals from the entire 2013 regular season. The pace slowed a bit by last summer, but Detroit still finished seventh in the Majors and fourth in the American League with 106 steals, defying their longtime reputation on the basepaths.

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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.

Ryan in the hunt for spot in Tigers' bullpen

Left-hander got experience pitching in relief with Detroit last season

Ryan in the hunt for spot in Tigers' bullpen

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Kyle Ryan did not get a chance to hunt alligators in his native Polk County this offseason. The native of nearby Auburndale, Fla., did not get one of the limited alligator hunting permits the state approved. He has been hunting wild boar instead, going on a hunt as recently this week after a workout.

If the young left-hander can close out his spring by nabbing a spot on the Tigers' Opening Day roster, he'll be happy with his catch. There, too, he has had to make an adjustment.

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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.

Rehabbing V-Mart to run on anti-gravity treadmill

Avila misses second straight workout, but feeling better; Outfielders practice in rain

Rehabbing V-Mart to run on anti-gravity treadmill

LAKELAND, Fla. -- For the second time in three days, Victor Martinez made an early appearance at Tigers Spring Training without doing much activity. He won't have to wait long to come back and do something.

Martinez made the drive down Interstate 4 from his Orlando-area home Saturday morning for Photo Day. He hasn't yet been cleared for any baseball activities while he rehabs his surgically repaired left knee, working with a physical therapist near home.

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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.

Wilson back with former double-play partner Miggy

Infielder, in Tigers camp on Minor League deal, also supplies Cabrera with T-shirts

Wilson back with former double-play partner Miggy

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Don't be surprised to see Miguel Cabrera wearing his familiar Duquesne Baseball T-shirt again soon. He has a new shipment coming this weekend.

He wears them working out, around the clubhouse, anytime but game time. Never mind that Duquesne University hasn't fielded a baseball team since 2010. Cabrera has a hookup, and he's sitting across the clubhouse.

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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 tab Melville, Lobstein to start first 2 spring games

Tigers tab Melville, Lobstein to start first 2 spring games

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The day-in, day-out workout routine ends next week, when the Tigers start playing games and slotting pitchers. Tim Melville and Kyle Lobstein will be among the first.

Manager Brad Ausmus named Melville as his starter for Monday's exhibition against Florida Southern, followed by Lobstein to start Grapefruit League play against the Orioles on Tuesday. Both games are scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET starts at Joker Marchant Stadium.

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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.

Avila sits out at camp due to back tightness

Miggy rests sore right foot; Hanrahan yet to throw since cutting 'pen session short

Avila sits out at camp due to back tightness

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers had enough trouble with injuries last Spring Training that they could justifiably get nervous when Alex Avila had to sit out Friday's workout with back tightness. This injury, however, doesn't appear to be severe.

Manager Brad Ausmus said Avila, who had minor back issues last season as well, is considered day to 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.

Tigers sign former first-round pick Perry to Minors deal

Tigers sign former first-round pick Perry to Minors deal

LAKELAND, Fla. -- For the third time in the past two months, the Tigers have brought back a former prospect, signing 2008 first-round pick Ryan Perry to a Minor League contract.

Perry, Detroit's top pick in the '08 First-Year Player Draft, was released last July after 2 1/2 seasons in the Nationals organization. He ended up having surgery to repair a hip injury after pitching in just a handful of games at Double-A Harrisburg last year, allowing five runs on nine hits over eight innings.

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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's injury rehab continuing to progress

Miggy's injury rehab continuing to progress

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera has been hitting and throwing at Joker Marchant Stadium since arriving to Spring Training. He could begin working out at first base soon, too.

Cabrera, somewhat limited at the start of camp by his surgically repaired right foot, ran while carrying 65 percent of his body weight Wednesday, using the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill the Tigers ordered for him.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Minor League options could impact Tigers' bench

Fifth outfielder, utility infielder, backup catcher spots remain open

Minor League options could impact Tigers' bench

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A number of factors can determine the result of a Spring Training position battle: performance, track record, the team's needs, the way the players fit and so on.

The Tigers' utility infield and fifth outfield spots could be affected by two candidates' lack of Minor League options.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reliever Smith claimed on waivers by A's

V-Mart arrives at camp; Verlander, Price throw batting practice

Reliever Smith claimed on waivers by A's

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Two days after designating Chad Smith for assignment, the Tigers lost the right-handed reliever to the Oakland A's on waivers.

Detroit designated Smith for assignment on Tuesday to make room for the return of reliever Joba Chamberlain, giving the club 10 days to trade, release or outright Smith. It took only two for Oakland to make a claim on the 25-year-old right-hander.

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" Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pitch framing a focus for Tigers' manager

Former catcher Ausmus wants to put new stats to use throughout organization

Pitch framing a focus for Tigers' manager

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brad Ausmus has been credited by a few different publications, including Baseball Prospectus, as one of the best pitch-framing catchers of his generation, if not all-time. If there's a skill to it, he should know.

Still, there are now readily available statistics, and Ausmus wants to put them to use -- not just in Detroit, but throughout the Tigers' organization.

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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.

Nathan off to better spring start, much to Ausmus' delight

Nathan off to better spring start, much to Ausmus' delight

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joe Nathan's first Spring Training with the Tigers preceded the slow start that set up one of the first challenges of Brad Ausmus' managerial career.

"It was tough," Ausmus said of handling Nathan through last year's struggles, "but the truth is we really didn't have another [closer] option, you know? There wasn't somebody we could go to. Once we got [Joakim] Soria, Soria could have been a guy that we could have gone to. At that point, Joe had started to pitch better, and then Soria got hurt almost instantaneously anyway."

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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 joins Twitterverse, makes account public

Ausmus joins Twitterverse, makes account public

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brad Ausmus made his initial Spring Training address to his team on Tuesday before the Tigers' first full-squad workout. Then he made his initial address to Twitter.

"Day one message to the team... every pitch, every swing, and every play matters," Ausmus tweeted.

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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.

Glove love: Tigers try microwave, bat to break 'em in

Glove love: Tigers try microwave, bat to break 'em in

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Andrew Romine is a candidate to fill Don Kelly's old role as the Tigers' superutility player. He has not yet reached Kelly replacement level on the number of gloves he carries around, having brought five to camp.

One of those is his middle-infield glove, the same glove Romine has used in games ever since he turned pro eight years ago.

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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.

The Tigers share Lakeland with this one-eyed gator

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The Tigers share Lakeland with this one-eyed gator

Take a drive around Lakeland, Fla., and you'll find a history that goes beyond its nearly 80 years as the Spring Training home of the Detroit Tigers. Tigertown was built on the site of a flight academy for the U.S. Army Air Corps. Just a few miles away, Florida Southern College features several buildings designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, more than any other site in the country.

And then there's the statue of Blinky, the one-eyed alligator that used to befriend onlookers in downtown Lakeland in the 1970s. And no, it's not the one that got Chubbs' hand in "Happy Gilmore."

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Re-signing Joba leaves Tigers deep with relievers

Detroit's bullpen competition essentially down to second lefty spot

Re-signing Joba leaves Tigers deep with relievers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- This was Brad Ausmus on Monday, talking about his relief corps:

"I feel appreciably better about the bullpen than I did a year ago in terms of depth," he said.

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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.

Chamberlain returns to Tigers' bullpen on one-year deal

Chamberlain returns to Tigers' bullpen on one-year deal

LAKELAND, Fla. -- On the day the Tigers began full-squad workouts, they saw a familiar, unexpected face sneak in to help fill out their bullpen.

Joba Chamberlain doesn't have the beard anymore, and he doesn't have the eighth-inning setup role he handled in Detroit for much of last season. But after an offseason on the free-agent market, the right-hander is back in the Tigers' bullpen, officially returning Tuesday on a one-year deal to the team with which he revived his career in 2014.

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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 gets treadmill; Iglesias progressing

Injured starters continue to put in work

Miggy gets treadmill; Iglesias progressing

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill the Tigers ordered last week for Miguel Cabrera's rehab arrived on Tuesday, just in time for Cabrera to start his limited weight-bearing running program.

The treadmill arrived Tuesday from Indianapolis, where it was reportedly being used at the NFL combine. It did not appear to be worse for wear.

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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 cautiously encouraged by Rondon

Reliever easing his way back after Tommy John surgery

Tigers cautiously encouraged by Rondon

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Bruce Rondon's second bullpen session Monday looked for a while like it was being replayed in slightly slow motion. His delivery was more pronounced, his motion free and easy, his pitches at a deliberate pace.

Then, with about 10 pitches left in his session, came that familiar pop from catcher Bryan Holaday's mitt. It wasn't anywhere near the 103-mph fastball he blew by David Ortiz on Labor Day two years ago, before the right elbow discomfort that limited him to just two games since, but it wasn't leisurely 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.

Miggy stays in good shape despite foot injury

First baseman arrives at Tigers camp early, is limited to hitting and throwing

Miggy stays in good shape despite foot injury

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Even on one good leg, Miguel Cabrera makes a big entrance. He sure did on Monday, walking into Tigers Spring Training a day or two sooner than expected.

If he can enter the season healthy and ready for Opening Day, the impact could be huge.

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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.

Ragball tournament adds fun to pitchers' fielding practice

Hanrahan wins second annual competition

Ragball tournament adds fun to pitchers' fielding practice

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan's pitching progression is on hold, though he played catch Monday morning. His fielding, at least, seems to be in midseason form.

The fact that Hanrahan won the team's annual Spring Training ragball tournament is not a great testimonial for the value of pitchers' fielding practice. Until this past weekend, Hanrahan hadn't taken part in a PFP since Spring Training 2013 with the Red Sox.

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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 putting heavy research into second spot in lineup

Manager still mulling who to bat behind leadoff hitter

Ausmus putting heavy research into second spot in lineup

LAKELAND, Fla. -- And you thought Jim Leyland spent a lot of free time thinking about batting orders.

At some point during his ongoing debate over who should bat second in the Tigers' lineup, Brad Ausmus went deep into the splits. He didn't just want to know how many strikes his previous second hitter saw, but what type of pitches.

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Tigers did not bid on Moncada

Cuban prospect reportedly headed to Boston

Tigers did not bid on Moncada

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers worked out Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada here at Tigertown last month, and they liked what they saw … except for the price tag.

While the Red Sox reportedly put the finishing touches Monday on a contract for the 19-year-old infielder, including a reported $31.5 million bonus, Tigers officials said they had little contact since the aforementioned workout.

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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.

Iglesias in camp early, with spring in his step

Tigers shortstop healthy, ready to go after missing all of 2014 season

Iglesias in camp early, with spring in his step

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jose Iglesias' 2014 season ended when Spring Training had barely begun. So it made sense that he'd try to get his 2015 season going early.

After missing all of last season with stress fractures in both shins, the Tigers' shortstop couldn't wait for the offseason to end, making the trip from his Miami home to Spring Training in Lakeland a couple of days ago. Position players don't have to report until Monday.

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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.

Nathan finds fountain of youth in regimen change

Tigers closer spending early bullpen sessions on commanding pitches

Nathan finds fountain of youth in regimen change

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joe Nathan spent the offseason changing his training regimen to feel younger, a difference he can feel this spring before he gets to the park.

"Getting up is a lot easier. I'm ready to go," the Tigers closer said.

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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

Mike Bauman

Despite Detroit's departures, rotation remains formidable

Cy Young Award winners Price, Verlander lead revamped starting staff

Despite Detroit's departures, rotation remains formidable

LAKELAND, Fla. -- One of baseball's best rotations could be made up of pitchers who have left the Tigers in recent years. But that does not mean that the 2015 Detroit rotation is in tatters or even in trouble.

David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Alfredo Simon, Shane Greene. That rotation should pose plenty of problems for the opposition.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Comforts of home ease Price's transition

Following year of change, left-hander could be top pitcher on free-agent market

Comforts of home ease Price's transition

LAKELAND, Fla. -- David Price wakes up each morning these days in the same Tampa condo he called home during his time with the Rays. That's a very nice perk of Spring Training with the Tigers, compared with training in Port Charlotte with the Rays.

"I didn't know if I was going to get any more use out of that thing," Price said of his real estate.

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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.

Hanrahan's first session doesn't go as planned

Reliever not yet at full strength in comeback bid

Hanrahan's first session doesn't go as planned

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan now has a baseline for where he's throwing in his comeback attempt. It's not what he wanted at this point.

"It didn't go as I'd hoped," Hanrahan said Sunday morning after he cut short his first bullpen session of Spring Training on Saturday with soreness.

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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.