After rough outing, Norris cites 'dead arm'

Tigers lefty frustrated, but Ausmus not concerned

After rough outing, Norris cites 'dead arm'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If you've ever wondered what the phrase "dead arm" feels like for a pitcher, Daniel Norris tried to put it into words after trying to pitch through it Monday.

"I'm standing here right now and it feels like it weighs a million pounds," the Tigers left-hander said of his arm as he stood in the clubhouse, having given up nine runs on 13 hits in three-plus innings in an 11-3 loss to the Braves. "Imagine having that on the mound and trying to throw hard with it. You're just using your whole body trying to get it over your head."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mikie Mahtook tumbles into bullpen pursuing foul ball

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Mikie Mahtook tumbles into bullpen pursuing foul ball

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try at something, we just fall short of our goal. In sports, this is basically an everyday thing, but it also applies to the rest of us, too. Quite often. 

Whether playing entirely too many arcade games in hopes of accumulating 50,000 tickets to exchange for some silly prize or working overtime, trying to impress the boss and nab that promotion at work, only to see it handed off to a colleague, life has a way of reminding us all who's in charge -- and it isn't us. 

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With J.D. out, Ausmus weighing lineup options

Tigers may bat Castellanos second, or move him to middle of order

With J.D. out, Ausmus weighing lineup options

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has spent most of Spring Training deliberating the idea of batting Nicholas Castellanos second in front of Miguel Cabrera. As the Tigers readied to take batting practice Monday before their 11-3 loss to the Braves, Ausmus was weighing Plan B.

With J.D. Martinez out for a projected three to four weeks with a midfoot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament in his right foot, the Tigers not only lose their right fielder, but they face a void in the middle of their lineup.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Norris roughed up; Collins plates pair

Norris roughed up; Collins plates pair

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dansby Swanson got his bat going with a three-hit game and Matt Kemp recorded two of the extra-base hits that soured Daniel Norris' frustrating outing as the Braves claimed an 11-3 win over the Tigers on Monday night at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

Kemp, Adonis Garcia and Tyler Flowers doubled during a two-run second inning that began the troubles for Norris, who allowed 13 hits and nine earned runs over three-plus innings. The Tigers left-hander retired just six of the final 20 batters faced and exited after surrendering four straight hits to open the bottom of the fourth.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' start could determine rebuild timetable

If Detroit begins slow, veterans likely to be moved at Deadline

Tigers' start could determine rebuild timetable

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers could have been in the midst of a rebuild rather than readying for one more run at a postseason spot.

If general manager Al Avila had received trade proposals that included the promising talent he wanted to collect to make his team leaner and younger, this might be a much different team. J.D. Martinez might be a Met. Ian Kinsler might have been a Dodger if not for his no-trade rights.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Q&A: Avila talks baseball family, Tigers' path

Executive VP of baseball ops/GM dishes on beginnings, direction of club

Q&A: Avila talks baseball family, Tigers' path

Al Avila recalls his time coaching at St. Thomas University as one of the happier periods of his life, but the challenge of taking his baseball acumen to the Majors was his ultimate goal.

The son of a scout, Avila wanted to make a career in professional baseball, working his way through the ranks in the Marlins' front office under Dave Dombrowski before joining him with the Tigers in 2002 following a brief pit stop in Pittsburgh.

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Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers release reliever Lowe

Tigers release reliever Lowe

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Mark Lowe was one of the first signings of the Tigers' 2015-16 offseason. He will not be part of the Tigers bullpen in '17. Detroit placed the veteran right-hander on unconditional release waivers Sunday, parting ways midway through a two-year contract.

Lowe was one of several moves Sunday from the Tigers, who also sent relief prospect Joe Jimenez and former Opening Day center fielder Anthony Gose to Minor League camp along with pitchers Edward Mujica, Arcenio Leon, Ruben Alaniz and Logan Kensing, infielder Dominic Ficociello and utilityman Juan Perez. Catcher John Hicks was optioned to Triple-A Toledo.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pelfrey prepares for potential 'pen role

Pelfrey prepares for potential 'pen role

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Mike Pelfrey hasn't been told anything about his fate in the Tigers' rotation competition, but he can see how Matt Boyd and Anibal Sanchez are pitching, how his own outings are getting shorter and figure it out.

"Obviously the other two guys have been great," Pelfrey said after the Tigers' 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Sunday. "I get it. At the end of the day, I'm going to pitch when they tell me to and do my best."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers trying to convert Gose into pitcher

Tigers trying to convert Gose into pitcher

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers formally closed the door on Anthony Gose's quest for their open center-field job. However, they might have opened the door to a second career for him as a pitcher.

The transaction itself was mundane, with Gose -- a non-roster invite to Spring Training this year -- being assigned to Minor League camp on Sunday. But while Gose is expected to play the outfield at Triple-A Toledo, he's also going to explore the idea of becoming a pitcher.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castellanos hits mammoth homer

Castellanos hits mammoth homer

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Monsalve and Christian Lopes belted solo homers off Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth inning to give a split-squad Blue Jays club a 4-3 victory Sunday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Nicholas Castellanos homered for one Tigers run and hit an opposite-field double to set up another, supporting Jordan Zimmermann over his 5 1/3 innings.

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

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Anibal makes Tigers' rotation decision tougher

Veteran right-hander extends scoreless streak with six hitless innings

Anibal makes Tigers' rotation decision tougher

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Matthew Boyd has a 21-to-nothing strikeout-to-walk ratio for the spring.

Anibal Sanchez has a 14-inning scoreless streak, during which he has allowed two hits and a walk with 16 strikeouts.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ausmus: Fulmer to start Tigers' home opener

Reigning AL Rookie of the Year gets nod vs. Boston on April 7

Ausmus: Fulmer to start Tigers' home opener

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Michael Fulmer will begin his sophomore season when the Tigers begin the Detroit portion of their schedule. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year will start the team's home opener April 7 against the Red Sox at Comerica Park, manager Brad Ausmus announced on Saturday.

It's the second starting assignment announced by Ausmus, who said back in January that Justin Verlander would start on Opening Day on April 3 against the White Sox in Chicago. Ausmus has decided on starters for the other two games in Chicago, which he plans to announce Sunday once he has told the pitchers involved.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collins HRs in Anibal's hitless gem, but Tigers fall

Collins HRs in Anibal's hitless gem, but Tigers fall

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez tossed six hitless innings to continue an impressive stretch on the mound, but top Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow struck out nine in four innings and Adam Frazier and Austin Meadows went deep to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 win over Detroit on Saturday at LECOM Park.

Sanchez, who had thrown eight straight scoreless innings before Saturday's start, kept the Pirates off-balance throughout his longest start of the spring. He walked only one batter and struck out six.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' RF void could help settle CF questions

Martinez's injury may create necessary conditions for prospect Jones callup

Tigers' RF void could help settle CF questions

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A few days ago, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was asked his level of certainty that his starting center fielder was currently in camp. He said he was "90-something percent" certain that they would fill the void internally.

On Saturday, with a new void in right field to fill now that J.D. Martinez is out for at least 3-4 weeks with a mid-right foot sprain, Ausmus lowered that level of certainty. But just slightly. And his level of sarcasm at percentage questions remained relatively high.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J.D. Martinez out 3-4 weeks with right foot sprain

Moya, Presley could provide power, fill outfield hole

J.D. Martinez out 3-4 weeks with right foot sprain

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez will open the season on the disabled list after being diagnosed with a sprain of the lisfranc ligament in his right foot, dealing an early blow to Detroit's lineup.

Martinez is expected to be sidelined for three to four weeks before returning to baseball activity. He'll wear a cast for the next 7-10 days, after which doctors should have a better idea how long he'll be out.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boyd a standout for Tigers' final rotation spot

Starter tosses five efficient, scoreless frames in win over Braves

Boyd a standout for Tigers' final rotation spot

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers are running out of innings to keep stretching out candidates for their rotation. Matt Boyd keeps pitching his so effectively, so efficiently, that it's becoming tougher to see anyone else winning the open spot.

"I'm grateful for how I've thrown this spring and grateful for the opportunity I've had," Boyd said after five scoreless innings in Friday's 3-2 win over the Braves. "Where I end up, it's out of my control."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jones walks off in Boyd's scoreless start

Jones walks off in Boyd's scoreless start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Matt Boyd and Julio Teheran put on a pitching duel Friday afternoon at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, but JaCoby Jones hit a walkoff single to score Dixon Machado and send the Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Braves in the back half of their home-and-home Grapefruit League set.

Boyd, trying to seal his case for a spot in the Tigers' rotation, continued to change speeds and befuddle hitters while pounding the strike zone. The third-year left-hander allowed three hits over five scoreless innings while striking out five. He reached only one three-ball count all afternoon, improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio for the spring to 21-to-0.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kinsler 'ready to go' after Classic's intensity

Second baseman returning to lineup on Sunday

Kinsler 'ready to go' after Classic's intensity

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ian Kinsler returned to Tigers camp from the World Baseball Classic with a championship on his resume, an appreciation for international baseball, a desire to stay out of politics and an eye toward Opening Day.

"I'm ready to go," said Kinsler, the second baseman and leadoff hitter on Team USA's title-winning team. "I played three Game 7's in a row, basically, as far as stress and emotion. I'm ready to go."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander has arsenal ready for season

Tigers ace retires 15 straight Braves, feels he's ahead of where he was last year

Verlander has arsenal ready for season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Justin Verlander came to Spring Training six weeks ago with a goal to get himself closer to top form around Opening Day and avoid the first-half struggles that slowed his 2016 season. He won't know for sure how well he did that until he takes the mound at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in a week and a half, but he at least has given it his best shot.

Verlander's slider still isn't quite where he wants it, and he hasn't fired those fastballs at 97-plus mph yet. He didn't summon the latter Thursday evening during his 12-pitch battle with Freddie Freeman that ended with a 95-mph fastball that Freeman lined over the right-field fence.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A. Wilson looks past rough Spring Training stats

A. Wilson looks past rough Spring Training stats

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alex Wilson knows his history with Spring Training statistics.

"Oh, they're garbage," he admitted Thursday. "Spring Training is, for whatever reason, not my forte."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander retires 15 in a row against Braves

Verlander retires 15 in a row against Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Justin Verlander experienced little trouble against Atlanta's projected normal lineup, and Jaime Garcia did his part to create the pitchers' duel that evolved before Adam Walker hit a walk-off single against Daniel Stumpf to give the Braves a 2-1 win over the Tigers on Thursday night at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex.

Verlander allowed two hits and one run as he faced just one batter over the minimum over six strong innings. The former American League Cy Young Award winner surrendered a solo home run to Freddie Freeman at the end of a 12-pitch at-bat in the first inning and then retired 15 consecutive batters. Ender Inciarte singled with two outs in the sixth inning, but was then retired attempting to steal second base.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Back tightness keeps Miggy day to day

Back tightness keeps Miggy day to day

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera is back from the World Baseball Classic. He is not back to action with the Tigers.

Cabrera's timetable depends on the tightness in his back, which looms larger than the precautionary concern it was characterized to be when he was held out of Venezuela's final game last weekend.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kinsler's HR puts U.S. on path to Classic title

Kinsler's HR puts U.S. on path to Classic title

LOS ANGELES -- Playing in the World Baseball Classic opened up opportunities for Ian Kinsler to hone his game. Joining Team USA put Kinsler in a different environment from his ordinary spring routine and placed him alongside some of the best players from all around the baseball world.

Given the chance to prepare for the season with his U.S. teammates, Kinsler made small mechanical adjustments to his swing while working in the batting cages with National League MVP runner-up Daniel Murphy of the Nationals. The Tigers second baseman credits those sessions and adjustments for the extra lift that allowed his go-ahead home run to escape Dodger Stadium on Wednesday in the World Baseball Classic final, an 8-0 United States victory over Puerto Rico.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' affiliate offers 'Puppy Ticket Delivery' for Opening Day

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Tigers' affiliate offers 'Puppy Ticket Delivery' for Opening Day

You may remember the West Michigan Whitecaps as the Tigers' Class A affiliate that plays its home games at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Mich. The Whitecaps are also the club that paid homage to Han Solo's Carbonite period with a fantastic theme night last season.

Well, for their latest act of brilliance, the Whitecaps will be (and the following is a lot to take in, so you may want to sit down lest you be overcome with smiling) offering something called "Puppy Ticket Delivery" in celebration of National Puppy Day (yes, it's a thing) on Thursday. It's simple: Buy tickets to their Opening Night game against the South Bend Cubs on April 6, and a puppy will deliver it to you.

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Ficociello's 3-run HR one-upped by Blue Jays

Ficociello's 3-run HR one-upped by Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dominic Ficociello crushed a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to put Detroit ahead, but fellow Minor Leaguer Shane Optiz did the same for the Blue Jays in the bottom of the frame to lift Toronto to a 5-4 Grapefruit League win on Wednesday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

The knock capped a big day for the Blue Jays, who got a strong start from Marco Estrada. The right-hander settled down to retire the last 14 batters he faced over his five-inning outing.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Greene finds form, if not always feeling, in 'pen

Greene finds form, if not always feeling, in 'pen

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The problem wasn't in Shane Greene's fingers. Those have been fine.

"Define 'fine,'" Greene said Wednesday.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers' starting CFer likely in camp, but still TBD

Tigers' starting CFer likely in camp, but still TBD

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Tigers came out of Tuesday's off-day readying to discuss the competitions for the Opening Day roster, including the center field job. Barring an end-of-camp surprise, manager Brad Ausmus does not expect those discussions to lead to a move for another center fielder.

"I'm not saying 100 [percent certain] just in case something happens, but there's nothing in the works," Ausmus said. "I'm 90-something percent certain that our center fielder is in camp."

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.