| Detroit Free Press
TAMPA, Fla. — Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch is trying to instill an aggressive approach this spring.
And nobody embodied that more than outfielder Jacob Robson on Friday against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
In the eighth inning, the Tigers were down, 1-0, when Robson went to work, creating a run from his speed and heads-up play. Robson, a non-roster invitee, drew a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Then, he scored with ease when Danny Woodrow ground out.
“Opportunities come at funny times, especially in spring training,” Hinch said. “It’s one thing to send the message. I’m kind of sitting back and seeing guys take advantage of that, either when they go on their own. Sometimes, I put it on. It’s pretty refreshing to play a pressure-style offense, even in spring training.”
It’s all part of his plan.
“We have to build an identify of pressure, either with the bat or our legs,” Hinch said.
They did it with their legs on Friday. And it worked out fine.
Boyd just missed his spot
Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd threw two scoreless innings, walked two, struck out one and gave up no hits.
Boyd threw 26 pitches in the first inning. He wasn’t wild, really. Just barely missing his spots.
“I was missing by about two balls,” he said.
He took that as a positive. “I was missing in the same spot for me that’s going OK, I’m consistent,” he said.
Boyd made an adjustment and tried to hit more of the plate. He blew through his second and final inning of work on just 11 pitches.
“It was good,” he said. “I was happy with it. Lots to build off of and we’re gonna just, you know, keep going forward.”
Torkelson impresses at third
Spencer Torkelson, the Tigers 2020 first-round pick, made his first start for the Tigers at third base this spring. And he made a couple of fine plays. He snagged an Aaron Judge line drive. Then, he had to dive to the dirt to come up with a grounder by Luke Voit. The throw was off. But first baseman Harold Castro scooped it up and secured the out.
“It’s fun to get him some action,” Hinch said. “It’s also nice to get him in an environment where Aaron Judge hit a bullet right at him. He got the big diving play to end the inning.”
And it was enough to impress Boyd.
“I told him that he looks good over there,” Boyd said. “He made some really good plays him and it’s impressive.”
MORE FROM SEIDEL: Here’s when Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson could arrive in MLB
It also impressed shortstop Willi Castro.
“He’s a great player — a great person,” Castro said. “He’s amazing.”
He will start at first base Saturday.
“Very happy with him,” Hinch said.
Still looking comfortable
Akil Baddoo, the Rule 5 draft pick, continues to impress in every way.
He looks comfortable. He looks like he belongs. And he keeps contributing, going 1-for-2 against the Yankees.
“We’re just trying to get him as good of competition as he can and see if it’s even possible to make him uncomfortable,” Hinch said. “He looks great. It looks like he’s been in and around big league camps his whole life and he is blending right in with our projected major league outfield. So great first impression.”
In five at bats this spring, he has two hits and has driven in three runs.
“It’s just been a first impression,” Hinch said. “He’s got a lot of work to do to make our club but I do like the ingredients. I like the makeup I think he is versatile enough.”
While everyone focuses on his offense, Hinch has been impressed with the little things.
“The game awareness has been very interesting,” Hinch said. “He’s always in the right position. So his game awareness has been very good.”