Cespedes launches slam in Tigers' Grapefruit opener

Cespedes launches slam in Tigers' Grapefruit opener

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' Grapefruit League opener against the Orioles on Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The Tigers scored 11 runs on just four hits over the first four innings, thanks to three hit batters and a handful of walks. Two of the hits, however, landed on the left-field berm. The biggest came from Cespedes, who nearly became the fourth batter hit instead.

More

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 Grapefruit opener, Tigers show offensive might

Kinsler, Cespedes, Westlake each homer against Orioles

In Grapefruit opener, Tigers show offensive might

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.

More

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.

V-Mart hopeful he'll be ready for Opening Day

V-Mart hopeful he'll be ready for Opening Day

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.

More

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

Richard Justice

Opportunistic J.D. never lost faith in himself

Opportunistic J.D. never lost faith in himself

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."

More

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.

Cespedes, Tigers begin to build long-term relationship

Originally pursued by club, Cuban outfielder seeks championship in Motown

Cespedes, Tigers begin to build long-term relationship

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.

More

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.

Detroit native Johnson, 1970 AL batting champ, dies

Detroit native won crown on final at-bats for Angels; also stood out with Reds, Indians, Rangers

Detroit native Johnson, 1970 AL batting champ, dies

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.

More

Bobbie Dittmeier is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy moves to field for pregame BP session

Slugger, V-Mart continue to progress in rehabs

Miggy moves to field for pregame BP session

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.

More

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 seeking third opinion on ailing elbow

Hanrahan seeking third opinion on ailing elbow

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan's comeback isn't working. He's going back to doctors to try to figure out why.

"I'm just looking for answers," Hanrahan said Monday morning. "It's been a long time, and it's not working out the right way."

More

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.

Horton reflects on Minoso's impact on baseball

Tigers great influenced by White Sox legend

Horton reflects on Minoso's impact on baseball

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.

More

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.

Verlander lets pitches do talking, righty impressive throwing BP

Verlander lets pitches do talking, righty impressive throwing BP

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.

More

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.

Bernard's faith in his work lands him on Tigers' 40-man roster

Bernard's faith in his work lands him on Tigers' 40-man roster

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.

More

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.

Hardy looks to sharpen command in Tigers' 'pen

Hardy looks to sharpen command in Tigers' 'pen

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.

More

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.

More

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 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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

" 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.

More

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."

More

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.

More

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.

More

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

|
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."

Continue Reading on Cut4

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.

More

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.