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.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Krause's scouting ability evident with Gibson

Bulls' championship-winning GM worked for Mariners, pointed out future walk-off hero

Krause's scouting ability evident with Gibson

Jerry Krause made his name in the NBA as the general manager of a Chicago Bulls franchise that won six championships.

It was no surprise to longtime baseball executive Mel Didier. He knows firsthand that when it came to evaluating talent, one of the best in sports was Krause, who died on Tuesday at the age of 77.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Upton finding feel for Tigers stripes in Year 2

Outfielder looks to pick up swing from end of last season

Upton finding feel for Tigers stripes in Year 2

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Upton didn't care that it was a fifth-inning at-bat amid the dog days of Spring Training. As his popup off Mets reliever Fernando Salas sailed harmlessly toward first base with runners at the corners and two outs, Upton slammed his bat into the base line with regular-season authority.

It was one Spring Training at-bat -- and this spring, he's had a lot. He doesn't take them off.

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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.

3 big decisions facing Tigers as season nears

3 big decisions facing Tigers as season nears

LAKELAND, Fla. -- For years, the Tigers have had an off-day scheduled with about a week and a half to go in Spring Training. It gave former general manager Dave Dombrowski a chance to look over the team and the remaining decisions with his staff and coaches. That tradition has continued under current GM Al Avila.

The Tigers have 11 more games this Spring Training. They don't have a bunch of decisions to make, but the ones they have are weighty -- as are some of the contracts 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.

Anibal's gem vs. Mets backed by homers

Anibal's gem vs. Mets backed by homers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez outdueled Matt Harvey in the battle of returning starters, tossing four scoreless innings with five strikeouts in a 5-1 win over the Mets on Monday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Sanchez, battling for a roster spot in the final guaranteed season of his contract after a disappointing 2016 season, posted his second consecutive effective outing as he transitions to a finesse approach. He retired nine in a row from Michael Conforto's first-inning single to Wilmer Flores' two-out single in the fourth. He struck out four of his first eight batters before finishing his outing with a 92-mph fastball on the corner to catch Dominic Smith looking.
 

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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.

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Mets on Monday.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Tale of the fantasy tape: Royals vs. Tigers

Which American League Central rival has superior fantasy assets?

Tale of the fantasy tape: Royals vs. Tigers

Though the Indians ran away with the American League Central last season, the Royals and the Tigers should both serve as formidable challengers to the Tribe this year.

But which club has the best chance of ending Cleveland's reign atop the division? By using fantasy value to assess the key players on the Detroit and Kansas City rosters for 2017, we can get a head start on determining the answer to that question.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tweaked delivery helps Sanchez keep rolling

Righty notches five strikeouts over four scoreless innings

Tweaked delivery helps Sanchez keep rolling

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The drive off the bat of Mets first baseman Dominic Smith landed all the way on the right-field party deck at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, but it was barely foul. It was an impressive drive off an Anibal Sanchez fastball in his start Monday, but no damage done.

After another pitch and a less impressive foul, Sanchez had to figure out a way to finish him off. He went inside on him, close enough to risk hitting him.

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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.

Challenge laid out for Castellanos to bat 2nd

Ausmus wants young 3rd baseman to maintain consistent approach

Challenge laid out for Castellanos to bat 2nd

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus hasn't yet granted Nicholas Castellanos the precious real estate of his batting order, the open second spot in front of Miguel Cabrera.

"Nick hasn't hurt his case, I'll say that," Ausmus said.

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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.

Pipeline report: Prospects in Tigers' camp

Pipeline report: Prospects in Tigers' camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camps, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com is visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Detroit Tigers.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The past two years have seen the Detroit Tigers steadily add youth to what has been an aging starting rotation, acquiring Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris in separate deals in July 2015 and then signing free agent Jordan Zimmermann, 29 at the time, in November 2015.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Q&A with Tigers prospect Matt Manning

Q&A with Tigers prospect Matt Manning

As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Tigers camp, it was No. 1 prospect Matt Manning (MLBPipeline.com's No. 74 overall prospect).

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Matt Manning was the Tigers' top pick in the 2016 Draft, going ninth overall and signing for $3.5 million. The 19-year-old right-hander impressed during his professional debut in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, posting a 3.99 ERA with 46 strikeouts and just seven walks in 29 1/3 innings while making 10 starts.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

As season nears, Tigers' roster not quite set

As season nears, Tigers' roster not quite set

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A month into Spring Training, with just over two weeks left before the Tigers break camp and head north, their projected roster doesn't looks much different than it did before camp began.

Part of it has to do with the number of players -- stars and prospects alike -- playing in the World Baseball Classic. Another part is a low number of breakout performances in key positions. Center field is no clearer than it was a month ago. The bullpen might be even murkier, with some seemingly established names requiring some thought while starting options have to be pondered as alternatives.

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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.