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Worth making a case for roster spot


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Danny Worth made the Tigers' Opening Day roster last year, but it was a short stay until the team needed a fifth starter. It was also one of six different stints he spent in the big leagues over the course of the season.

He'd like to find a better fit. The more he hits like he has this spring, the better chance he gives himself to make the club. His double off Jays reliever David Bush on Saturday was his fifth of the spring, tops in the Grapefruit League, and it reinforced the theme that his simpler approach at the plate is paying off.

It has the manager's attention.

"Without question, he's definitely in the mix, depending on how you carry your team," skipper Jim Leyland said. "That versatility sure helps him."

Part of that quote suggests that the final roster might not have to be limited to one utility infielder.

With the Tigers committed to a 12-man pitching staff, they'll have a four-man bench, with one spot going to backup catcher Brayan Pena. Another is expected to go to Ramon Santiago, who's under contract for $2.1 million this year as a utility infielder. Add in one spot for a fourth outfielder, potentially a right-handed hitter to mix into left field with Andy Dirks, and the Tigers still have one spot to play with, depending on their needs.

It could be an outfielder, especially if Brennan Boesch isn't traded. It could also be an infielder, if Detroit wants another late-inning option on defense. The more Worth can offer offensively with hitting or baserunning, the better his case.

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.

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