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.

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.

Tigers prepared to sort through options during spring games

Ausmus gets opportunity to evaluate players under real conditions

Tigers prepared to sort through options during spring games

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers will begin Grapefruit League play in their quest for a World Series run in 2015 by facing the same team that ruined their 2014 season.

The last time Detroit saw the Orioles, Baltimore was celebrating a Division Series sweep on the field at Comerica Park, having just outpitched the Tigers' three Cy Young award-winning hurlers and decimating Detroit's bullpen to pull it off. Clearly, however, revenge will be the last thing on the Tigers' minds Tuesday 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.

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."

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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.

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.

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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 set for Grapefruit tuneup, Verlander goes Saturday

Tigers will face Div. II powerhouse Florida Southern on Monday

Tigers set for Grapefruit tuneup, Verlander goes Saturday

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers seem to have summoned all the intensity they can out of facing each other in live batting practice, positional fundamentals competitions and the clubhouse table tennis tournament. It's time for them to face somebody in another uniform.

Monday's exhibition against Florida Southern College, slated to start at 1:05 p.m. ET at Joker Marchant Stadium, will do nicely for a leadoff game. The annual matchup between the longtime Lakeland snowbirds and the city's largest school, an NCAA Division II power over the years, will ease the Tigers into Grapefruit League play later in the week, including a matchup of aces Friday against the Mets.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.