Tigers Spring Training Roundup March 11th
Justin Verlander sizzles in spring debut
Tigers’ fans can take a huge sigh of relief after watching the team’s ace in his first appearance this spring. Coming off core muscle surgery this offseason, Verlander dominated Blue Jays’ hitters in 3.2 scoreless innings, striking out two and allowing one hit and two walks, but not one runner advanced passed first base. Verlander faced 12 batters while tossing 52 pitches and said after the game that he was happy with his outing, but not quite where he wants to be with mechanical adjustments. Verlander is on track to not miss a start when the season opens but it seems less likely he’ll get the nod on opening day.
Good news/bad news for Jose Iglesias
Good news, Iglesias took batting practice yesterday and today as he recovers from shin splits. Bad news, he’s still not running and the Tigers are prepared to start the season without their 24-year old shortstop. If Iglesias is not ready to go on opening day, expect Hernan Perez to start the season at short with minor-leaguer Eugenio Suarez a long-shot to make the team.
Don Kelly’s long ball only runs Tigers score
A day after torching St. Louis Cardinals pitching for 17 runs, the Tigers’ offense was held in check by Blue Jays. Everyone’s favorite Tiger Don Kelly was the only source of runs in the Tigers’ 3-2 10 inning loss to the Jays, as Kelly hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field in the second inning with Austin Jackson on base. Kelly is 8 for 19 this spring (.421 BA) and has scored six runs while driving in five.
Bullpen gets extensive look
Five potential members of the Tigers’ bullpen took the mound against the Blue Jays. Phil Coke, who needs to right the ship to keep his spot on the roster, struck out two but did allow a double in the fifth inning. Tigers’ closer Joe Nathan allowed a hit to the first batter he faced in the sixth but set down the next three Blue Jays in order. Newcomer Joba Chamberlin was less than stellar during his inning of work in the seventh. The former Yankee allowed a single to the first batter he faced then gave up a two-run shot, tying the game at two. Joba walked two more Blue Jays before getting out of the inning. Joba had not allowed a run in four innings this spring. Al Alburquerque pitched the eighth and struck out two, while Bruce Rondon gave up two singles but forced a double-play without allowing any runs.
Melvin Mercedes took the loss for the Tigers after he allowed a solo home run in the top of the 10th…Torii Hunter had two hits, a double and a single...Ian Kinsler, Raja Davis, Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson all went 1-3 with a single…The Tigers take on the New York Yankees on Wednesday.