Detroit Tigers observations: Newcomer aiming for rotation throws, update on late arrivals

Detroit Free Press

Evan Petzold | Detroit Free Press

LAKELAND, Fla. — For the first time since last year’s spring training was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Joker Marchant Stadium — the home of Detroit Tigers spring training — felt baseball’s presence.

Miguel Cabrera at first base.

Spencer Torkelson at third base, with Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal on the mound. They went through fundamental fielding drills, and Cabrera took hacks in batting practice.

New manager AJ Hinch roamed around, checking on his players and assistant coaches. Pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 17, with the first full-squad workout last Monday.

[ Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in spring training: ‘I feel like I did back in 2014’ ]

Next up is a 29-game Grapefruit League slate, which begins Sunday.

“I’ve been very happy with their work,” Hinch said Friday. “The attention to detail has been pretty good. The feeling out process is almost over. We’ve got to get to the games. We’ll have some dugout interactions and things like that. They’re pretty big sponges on trying to learn and grow. … We’re throwing a lot of information at them quickly.”

TORK’S CUT: How Spencer Torkelson’s injury will affect his debut and Tigers’ position battles

MANAGING MIGGY: How Cabrera, chasing milestones, will be directed by AJ Hinch

OBSERVATIONS: An injured finger, get ready for Kody Clemens & a ‘weapon’ in bullpen

Fresh faces

This year’s spring training features additional hoops players must jump through before they can participate in camp activities.

Everyone must undergo multiple COVID-19 tests, quarantine for five days in Lakeland and complete a physical.

MIZE LEARNS: The lessons Tigers prospect Casey Mize discovered from watching film

SKUBAL’S SPLITTER: Tigers’ Tarik Skubal learns Casey Mize’s splitter: ‘I want it to be a plus pitch’

Three of the four players cleared Friday dealt with visa issues, forcing them to arrive late to camp: right-handers Jose Urena and Gerson Moreno and first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez. Urena went through stretches and pitching fielding practice at the ballpark.

The other player cleared was right-hander Julio Teheran. He has been in Miami this offseason, so travel hasn’t been a problem. But he had to quarantine after the Tigers signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Getting closer

The Tigers are still waiting for clearance on outfielder Nomar Mazara, outfielder Victor Reyes, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, third baseman Isaac Paredes, first baseman Renato Nunez and right-hander Wily Peralta.

“They’re not going to be in the first few games until we get them into camp,” Hinch said.

As Paredes gears up for a weekend arrival, the 22-year-old has appeared at the team’s facility each afternoon — following the completion of team workouts — for personal training sessions.

“He’s doing as much as he can,” Hinch said. “The key in these five days is to stay quarantined, except for the baseball stuff and be a little bit more prepared once you come to camp a little late to then get on the field right away. … I don’t want to wait four or five days to physically have him be able to do that. We expect him soon, and he’s in the middle of that process.”

Peralta, after inking a minor-league contract Feb. 18, won’t arrive until later than expected.

[ Why Wily Peralta believes he’ll make the Tigers roster in spring training ]

Teheran throws bullpen

A former two-time All-Star, Teheran pitched a bullpen on his first day in camp. Hinch doesn’t think it will be long before Teheran and Urena settle in, meaning they should get reps in early spring training games.

For subscribers: Why former All-Star Julio Teheran believes his career revival starts with Tigers

“They’re going to throw live BPs soon,” Hinch said. “We’ll obviously have it scheduled out. Hopefully, before the off day (March 8), they’ll each have thrown at least one, if not two, games. We’re going to get them up and running pretty quickly.

“It’s mostly because of the work they’ve done prior to coming to camp. They’re ready to go.”

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.


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