J.D.'s bat backs Simon's strong spring debut

Tigers outfielder Martinez goes 3-for-3 with an RBI; starter tosses two hitless innings

J.D.'s bat backs Simon's strong spring debut

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Zoilo Almonte scored the go-ahead run on a Dixon Machado scoring error and Eury Perez stole home in a two-run ninth inning, leading the Braves to a 6-4 win over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The late rally broke a tie that the Tigers had forced on RBI singles from Xavier Avery in the seventh inning and Austin Green in the eighth. The two ninth-inning runs came off reliever Alex Wilson, who was part of the trade that brought Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit for Rick Porcello.

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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.

Simon ready to show off complete arsenal

Tigers starter is looking forward to pitching in a bigger ballpark

Simon ready to show off complete arsenal

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Alfredo Simon makes a loud entrance every time he pulls into Joker Marchant Stadium. His silver Mercedes is shiny enough to produce a punishing glare on a sunny day.

"Chrome," Simon 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.

Ausmus hopeful Miggy will be ready for Opening Day

Ausmus hopeful Miggy will be ready for Opening Day

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus isn't making any proclamations about Miguel Cabrera's chances for Opening Day. He's focused on Cabrera getting healthy in due time, whether it's for the start of the season or shortly thereafter.

"I'm hoping Opening Day, but I'm not going to rush him just to have him play Opening Day," Ausmus said. "The important thing is to have him for as close to six months as possible."

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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 much-hyped return, Harvey to oppose Price

Mets right-hander set to make first start since August 2013

In much-hyped return, Harvey to oppose Price

VIERA, Fla. -- Take Matt Harvey, one of the most competitive pitchers in baseball, and place him in a game after 16 tiresome months of rehab. Throw a former Cy Young Award winner on the other side, then toss them both into the carnival-like atmosphere of Tradition Field. Home opener, mid-70s, packed house -- that sort of thing.

Understand, then, that Harvey can say and do all the right things leading up to the Mets' 1:10 p.m. ET Grapefruit League game against the Tigers on Friday (watch on MLB.TV), his first game action since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013. He can swear a dozen times over that he's "just looking at it as another day" and that he's "getting ready for the season like anybody else."

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

Cespedes scratched with lower back tightness

Cespedes scratched with lower back tightness

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes was scratched from the starting lineup with lower back tightness as the Tigers lost, 6-4, to the Braves on Thursday.

Cespedes, who hit a grand slam in his first Grapefruit League game as a Tiger on Tuesday, was not on the travel roster for Wednesday's game against the Orioles in Sarasota. He was slated to start in left field and bat third 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.

Check out Alfredo Simon's all-chrome car

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Check out Alfredo Simon's all-chrome car

When shopping for a new car, color is a big deal. After all, if you're going to get a cool whip (do the kids still call them that?), you don't want to be driving out with the same champagne/brown color that your grandparents tool around in. 

So Alfredo Simon, one of the remaining few to toss a screwball, did the only sensible thing: He tricked out his entire car in chrome. And not just the wheels, but the whole thing. 

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Gose, Moya listening to message about using their speed

Manager Ausmus has told team about being aggressive on basepaths

Gose, Moya listening to message about using their speed

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has preached aggressiveness on the basepaths ever since he got the job.

He has reinforced the message this spring: Look for the extra 90 feet.

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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.

Jack White spends time with Tigers greats in Florida

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Jack White spends time with Tigers greats in Florida

Jack White remembers only one thing about Spring Training when he was a kid growing up in Detroit -- he always wanted to go, but his family couldn't afford to attend.

Now, as an adult and Grammy-award winning musician, not only can White afford to attend Spring Training, but he's also kind of the center of attention when he's there.

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Tigers bullpen getting healthier

Tigers bullpen getting healthier

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joakim Soria and Joba Chamberlain are tentatively scheduled to make their first outings of this Spring Training on Sunday. Bruce Rondon shouldn't be too far behind.

Rondon, currently on a slower progression than the rest of Tigers pitchers in camp while he works his way back from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to face hitters in camp Friday morning at Tigertown. It'll be his second live BP session, having faced hitters on Tuesday.

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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.

Birthday blast: Castellanos goes deep against O's

Sanchez tosses two scoreless innings for Tigers in spring debut

Birthday blast: Castellanos goes deep against O's

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.

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez went two scoreless innings and held the Orioles to just one hit, J.J. Hardy's one-out single in the first. Detroit also beat Baltimore 15-2 on Tuesday.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers pitchers wear matching golf outfits

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Tigers pitchers wear matching golf outfits

Sure, it looks like David Price, Justin Verlander and Tim Melville are trying to bring, uh … "classic" golf fashion back to the putting green ... but maybe this is actually a sneak preview of the cover art for a novelty album from your favorite new boy band. 

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Hanrahan to undergo second Tommy John surgery

His comeback attempt now on hold, former All-Star closer released by Tigers

Hanrahan to undergo second Tommy John surgery

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.

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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.

Sanchez gets smooth start to spring

Righty on track for comeback after injuries, weather interrupted last season

Sanchez gets smooth start to spring

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.

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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.

Krol's first spring outing shows promise

Focused left-hander ready to prove himself for Tigers

Krol's first spring outing shows promise

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.

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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 sees counter coming to infield shifts

Tigers shifted least in American League last season

Ausmus sees counter coming to infield shifts

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."

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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 out on paternity leave, could return Saturday

Tigers catcher's wife gives birth to a baby girl

Avila out on paternity leave, could return Saturday

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.

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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 starts Tigers tenure with grand slam

Cespedes starts Tigers tenure with grand slam

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."

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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 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.

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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.

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.

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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

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."

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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.

Castellanos hit by pitch, but X-rays negative

Castellanos hit by pitch, but X-rays negative

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.

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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.

Moya has back spasms, to be re-evaluated

Moya has back spasms, to be re-evaluated

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.

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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.

3 Tigers relievers playing catch-up

3 Tigers relievers playing catch-up

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.

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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 hits year's first grand slam

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Cespedes hits year's first grand slam

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.