Herndon given Tigers African American Legacy Award

DETROIT -- Larry Herndon visited Comerica Park on Sunday to be honored for his playing career, receiving the annual Tigers African American Legacy Award. However, he was happier talking about his coaching work and the Tigers prospects he has worked with as the hitting coach at Class A Lakeland.

It's the perfect job at the perfect level, he believes, and he feels rewarded watching players blossom.

"I came up here for the playoffs last year," Herndon said, "and I'm sitting right behind home plate and I saw Avisail Garcia throw out Coco Crisp at the plate [during the American League Division Series]. I worked with Avisail before, and to see him grow into a big leaguer like that, it's kind of hard to describe the feeling of seeing him grow. And that's the kind of player he is, and will be. Just to see these guys grow is a big deal for me, very rewarding."

He thinks a lot of Garcia, one of his favorite players to watch. He also thinks a lot of Nick Castellanos, whom he coached for the first half of last season.

"Actually, that's all I needed Nick for. He hit .400 for us," Herndon said. "Fantastic hitter, just a natural. He has the stuff to be quite an outstanding big leaguer. He follows pitches. He watches the game. You can't fool him too much. He's just young. He's fantastic."

The Tigers African American Legacy Award concludes the Tigers' three-day Negro Leagues Weekend.

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.