Boesch returns to crowded outfield mix

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As Tigers players piled into the buses heading for Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, Torii Hunter -- who was not on the trip -- was back in the clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium, trying on a Brennan Boesch outfield glove. Boesch had given it to him to try to work in, Hunter said.

Boesch hasn't had much playing time in the outfield thanks to his early spring oblique injury, but that's now changing. He was in the Tigers' lineup Thursday for the first time all spring, starting in left field.

Boesch went 1-for-2 with a ground ball through the middle in the fourth, eventually scoring the game's opening run when Prince Fielder singled through the infield shift. Boesch left after five innings for Nick Castellanos.

Boesch's return adds to an already crowded outfield mix that manager Jim Leyland is trying to judge. Leyland has had to use Jeff Kobernus at second base more than the outfield simply to get him regular at-bats, while acknowledging that Kobernus will have to play left field to make the team out of camp.

"He's only in the lineup [at second] right now for one reason -- to get him some at-bats to see how he looks hitting," Leyland said of Kobernus. "Because the better he hits, the better chance he has of looking pretty good in left field.

"I can't play Boesch and [Quintin] Berry and [Andy] Dirks and Kobernus and [Avisail] Garcia and everybody else in left field. I just don't have enough games for that. It's tough right now when you talk about the left field situation. … I'm not a miracle worker. I do the best I can to get them all at-bats."

Jason Beck is a reporter for 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.