SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles played the entire postseason without three All-Stars: Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. All three returned to the starting lineup for Wednesday's home opener at Ed Smith Stadium, though it wasn't enough to overtake Detroit, which won the second of back-to-back games against the O's with a 5-4 victory.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan's comeback attempt is over. The former All-Star closer and invitee to Tigers camp will undergo another Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
When Dr. Keith Meister performs the procedure March 18 at his office in Texas, it'll be Hanrahan's second Tommy John surgery in less than 24 months. Hanrahan isn't calling this a career-ending procedure, but he'll have an even tougher path to try to come back than he did the first time.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- For the second consecutive outing, Anibal Sanchez pitched two outstanding innings against the Orioles. This time, there's plenty more to come.
"We have plenty of time for him to get his pitches and his innings," manager Brad Ausmus said.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Don't forget about Ian Krol in the Tigers' bullpen.
The 97-mph fastball that registered on the Ed Smith Stadium scoreboard Wednesday in his first outing of Spring Training was a nice statement to that end. So was the 77-mph curveball he dropped on Oriole Caleb Joseph for a called third strike to end his scoreless inning.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus sees a counterbalance coming to the increasing number of infield shifts around baseball. And he sees it coming soon.
"I think this will be the tipping-point year on shifts," he said on Tuesday. "Hitters, rather than just swing like they normally swing, they're going to actively attempt to hit against the shift. They're not just going to hit into the shift anymore. I think you'll probably see more bunting, too."
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Avila will be out of action for the Tigers for the next few days. It has nothing to do with the tight back that bothered him last week or the concussion issues that have followed him the past few years.
Instead, he's going on paternity leave. Avila headed out to be with his wife, Kristina, at their home in South Florida for the birth of their second child, a baby girl named Zoey who arrived at 12:18 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Seven years after Miguel Cabrera marked his Tigers debut in Spring Training with a home run, Yoenis Cespedes' first hit in a Detroit uniform also had a similar impact. He drove a grand slam down the left-field line in the fourth inning of the Tigers' 15-2 victory against the Orioles on Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"He's a strong man, so he will do that once in a while," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Hopefully he does it often. It was a good first day."
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes' first hit as a Tiger, a fourth-inning grand slam, was one of three Detroit home runs amidst a flurry of walks and four hit batters during a wild Grapefruit League opener for Orioles pitching in a 15-2 Detroit win on Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Tigers scored more runs in eight innings Tuesday than they scored in last October's three-game American League Division Series sweep by the Orioles. None of them count toward Detroit's end goal, of course, but it provided at least a glimpse of the offensive energy the team added in the offseason in an effort to rebound in 2015.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Victor Martinez was thinking what most Tigers fans were probably thinking.
When his left knee gave out on him in January -- playing catch, of all things -- he thought back to a few years ago.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- This remarkable success story began almost two years ago during a disabled-list stint.
"I was bored at the time," Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez said. "Really, I had nothing to do."
Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers have had six different players hit by pitches through the first two games this spring. Nick Castellanos is the only one so far to present a lingering concern.
Castellanos left Tuesday's Grapefruit League-opening 15-2 win over the Orioles in the second inning after a Ubaldo Jimenez pitch struck him on the left hand. X-rays were negative, and he left the clubhouse without any obvious limitation later.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers No. 4-ranked prospect Steven Moya missed Tuesday's Grapefruit League-opening 15-2 win against the Orioles after suffering a back spasm, manager Brad Ausmus said. Moya will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Moya had a pinch-hit single and a walk in Monday's exhibition win over Florida Southern College. The 6-foot-7 slugger finished out the game in right field.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- While the Tigers readied for their Grapefruit League opener against the Orioles on Tuesday, relievers Joakim Soria, Bruce Rondon and Joba Chamberlain all threw live batting practice on one of the practice fields behind Joker Marchant Stadium.
The three relievers all are behind game action for different reasons. The Tigers are progressing slowly with the hard-throwing Rondon, who is working back from Tommy John surgery. Chamberlain is catching up after joining camp last week.
Some signs of spring are eternal -- when the weather starts to get warmer, flowers bloom, birds sing and Yoenis Cespedes hits massive home runs.
Thankfully we know we're not trapped in a decades-long Westeros winter because in Lakeland on Tuesday, the grass was green, the birds were out (well, in the form of the Orioles), and Cespedes was mashing.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes believes he probably would've been here a few years ago for his first pro contract if not for a twist of fate. One bad step from Victor Martinez, one shift in priorities for the Tigers toward Prince Fielder to replace him, and Cespedes' journey from Cuba landed him in Oakland instead.
"Detroit was the team that was the most interested," Cespedes said Sunday through translator Aileen Villarreal.
Alex Johnson, the 1970 American League batting champion, died Saturday at age 72, reportedly due to complications from cancer.
The Detroit News and WXYZ-TV in Detroit reported Johnson's death, and visitation and memorial information was posted by a funeral home in his native Detroit.
Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera was not in Monday's lineup for the Tigers' unofficial Spring Training opener, a 12-2 victory against Florida Southern. He still managed to steal the show with his swing.
While Tigers players took pregame batting practice Monday morning, out came Cabrera onto the field, bat in hand, ready to join in. He ended up taking batting practice on the field for the first time this spring.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Willie Horton credits a lot of people with helping him along his way in the Major Leagues. Minnie Minoso was up near the top of the list. So was Ernie Banks.
Together, they helped set an example for giving back to the community and to ensuing generations of players, as Horton does today.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander's live batting practice sessions often include enough four-letter words to require at least a PG rating. He tends to be tough on himself, even in the early days of Spring Training.
That's what made his second live BP session so unusual Sunday afternoon. It was eerily quiet, at least from him. Except for an apology when he threw up-and-in on Anthony Gose, Verlander had barely a word of frustration. He'd get feedback on pitches, but he didn't blurt out much on his own.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- There's a voracious reader in the Tigers clubhouse. Wynton Bernard has always found books as a way to fill the free time in a Minor League season.
When he thinks of his situation, he thinks of The Alchemist, a bestselling novel about a boy who follows a recurring dream to leave home and travel the desert to the Pyramids in Egypt to seek fortunes.
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Blaine Hardy was an unlikely story a year ago, brought to camp as a non-roster invitee and making enough of an impression to earn a midseason callup and a bullpen spot. He still had to overcome the disappointment of being left off the postseason roster.
As Spring Training games begin, the lefty has the best opportunity of his career in a Tigers bullpen, where the one open bullpen spot begs for a southpaw who can pitch multiple innings. Hardy is hoping to use the lessons he learned last year to earn it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.