With only three games remaining on their Grapefruit League calendar, the Detroit Tigers entered their contest with the New York Yankees on Monday just looking to get those last reps in. Pitchers and hitters should be dialed in and conditioned for the season by now, so it’s more about the finer points. However, in the case of Akil Baddoo and Miguel Cabrera, Monday’s contest offered a chance to flex.
For Cabrera, this was his second home run of the spring. And it was a classic Miguel Cabrera home run. This opposite field laser beam screamed off his bat at 105 mph, and victimized former Tigers farmhand Chad Green. Green started Cabrera off with three straight curveballs. The first two missed the zone, but he landed the third for a called strike. Green lost a fastball low to make it 3-1, and then tried to dot the bottom of the zone one more time. It went…poorly for him.
But before Cabrera’s blast, it was the hero of spring camp, Rule 5 pick Akil Baddoo who went yard again. The shot, Baddoo’s team leading fifth of the spring, was a punctuation mark on an eye-opening rampage through Grapefruit League play to earn a spot on the Tigers’ Opening Day roster. It was also perhaps the most impressive one yet.
With the Tigers down a run in the top of the second, Baddoo was behind in the count 1-2 to Yankees starter Domingo Germán. Germán had just hit Isaac Paredes with a pitch to put him at first base, and he tried to come inside on Baddoo as well, busting a 93 mph fastball in on his hands. Look at how quickly the young outfielder adjusts to this pitch and pulls his hands in to barrel the heater down the line. We’re all trying to stay level-headed about him, but Baddoo continues to thrill with the promise of a true breakout campaign.
Check out that reaction and bat flip as well. That is pure swag, folks. The kid has it. He’s feeling it. Hopefully he can sustain it.
Jose Ureña got the start for the Tigers in this one. He went 4 2⁄3 innings, allowing just one run on one hit, while collecting three strikeouts. However, he did walk five. This is how it goes with him some games. He’s hard to hit, but often his own worst enemy. Ureña had already walked Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton to start the fourth inning when he got a little help from his defense. Harold Castro makes a nice diving stop here, and Paredes a fine bare-handed catch and throw at second base to turn the double play. Ureña promptly walked Jay Bruce after this play, but ultimately got Clint Frazier to ground out to escape.
In other news, Derek Holland was deadly sharp once again. He allowed a single while striking out three in 1 1⁄3 innings of work. We’re pretty excited to see what Holland can bring to the Tigers’ bullpen pitching like this. Jose Cisnero was also very sharp in this one, punching out tow in a perfect inning of work, while Buck Farmer allowed a solo shot in the eighth inning.