| Detroit Free Press
Right-hander Jose Urena breaks down first start with Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers right-hander Jose Urena talks about his performance Sunday, March 7, 2021, in spring training.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
The Tigers improved to 5-2 in Grapefruit League play. The game only lasted 7½ innings.
Three potential members of the Opening Day rotation pitched Sunday: Jose Urena, Casey Mize and Julio Teheran. All three logged two innings, but they differed in consistency and success. Still, they combined to allow one run on one hit through six innings. The Tigers scored their first run in the first inning on a double by Willi Castro, driving in Robbie Grossman. It marked Castro’s fourth extra-base hit this spring. Grayson Greiner went down in the batter’s box after taking a 94 mph fastball to the face from Elvis Luciano in the sixth inning. He walked off the field next to trainers, covering his face with a towel.
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After signing a one-year, $3.25 million contract this winter, Urena took the mound for the first time in a Tigers uniform. And it was a wild outing. His fastball reached 95 mph early but dropped to between 92-93 mph in his second and final inning. The 29-year-old plunked two batters — Alejandro Kirk and Marcus Semien — and walked three more. His sinker played well early, but without command of the strike zone, it wasn’t worth much. He threw 39 pitches (18 for strikes) in his first outing.
At the plate
The Tigers added three runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-1 lead. Harold Castro dropped in a run-scoring single — misplayed by left fielder Breyvic Valera — to give the Tigers a one-run lead. The inning continued with bases-loaded walks from JaCoby Jones and Jacob Robson. The final run of the game was tacked on in the seventh, for a 5-1 margin, when Danny Woodrow slapped a single to right field. The Tigers drew nine walks (and were hit by two pitches), including two walks worked by Jones. Jake Rogers, who is 1-for-9 this spring, took a free pass in the seventh frame.
On the mound
Mize took over for Urena in the third inning, and reached 96-97 mph with his fastball. He cruised through the third, only using 18 pitches and getting help from a diving Greg Garcia at second base. The fourth inning wasn’t as sharp; Mize walked three batters before striking out Rowdy Tellez with an 86.6 mph slider near his hands to escape the jam. In all, the 23-year-old needed 47 pitches (25 strikes) for two scoreless innings. Right-hander Julio Teheran retired all six of the batters he faced, striking out two, in his pursuit of a roster spot. His sinker sat at 92 mph. Veteran reliever Jose Cisnero pitched the seventh inning. He has been solid through his two appearances this spring and is vying for the closer role. Derek Holland got the top of the eighth inning.
Spencer Torkelson started at first base and finished 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts. The 21-year-old is 0-for-8 this spring with three walks and five strikeouts. Catcher Dillon Dingler took a walk in his lone at-bat in the seventh inning. Kody Clemens went 0-for-1.
1. Teheran, 2. Cisnero, 3. Jones.
Tuesday vs. New York Yankees in Lakeland.