DETROIT -- For a player who spent the past two years in the Minors, Matt Tuiasosopo is certainly exceeding the expectations the Tigers had when they signed him to a Minor League contract this offseason.
Tuiasosopo drilled a 438-foot three-run home run to straightaway center field in the first inning of Saturday's rout against the Phillies, his seventh home run of the year to raise his slash line to .294/.410/.569.
"It's a nice story really, because he really hadn't done much in the big leagues and really didn't get a whole lot of opportunities," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's one of those guys, it doesn't really happen very often, but he was one of those guys that actually opened our eyes up in Spring Training and earned a spot."
Tuiasosopo struggled at the beginning of the spring, going hitless in his first 13 at-bats with seven strikeouts.
"His swing was real long and he wasn't doing very well," Leyland said. "Then we had some guys that were out -- [Andy] Dirks was down, the World Baseball Classic -- and he got some opportunities. As the spring went on, he shortened up his swing and started hitting the ball really hard. He really deserved to make the team."
Tuiasosopo says he's simplified his approach at the plate and tries not to think too much. He's also received pointers from Miguel Cabrera after he began hitting with him in batting practice.
"He's helped me a lot," Tuiasosopo said. "Here and there he's seen a couple of things that he's mentioned to me. His swing from the right side is so perfect, so I just like watching that and try to emulate it as much as I can by staying inside the ball and driving it.
"I'm looking for a fastball right down the middle of the plate, anything else I'm just reacting to it. Anytime I've tried to do more than that, add any other thought process to it, I haven't been so good. So I'm just trying to keep it like that."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.