BRADENTON, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers suffered their first loss of spring training 2022, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park, 6-3.
The Tigers rolled out the middle of their starting infield for the first time this spring training.
Or at least what they hope it is.
Javier Baez started at short for the first time for the Tigers, and Jonathan Schoop started at second.
“It feels great,” Baez said. “Really excited to be out there on the field and get moving.”
With practice time limited because of the shortened spring training, Baez and Schoop will have to get most of their work together in games.
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“It’s easy to like Javy when he’s out there and the interactions in the dugout,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said.
It does not appear the lockout has hurt Baez.
“I thought I was gonna be a little late with the ball,” Baez said. “I’m seeing the ball pretty good. So hopefully I keep my timing and then I just keep getting better.”
Spencer Torkelson got his second straight start at first base. If Torkelson can make the club out of spring training, the infield will be set.
Casey Mize started for the Tigers, which puts him on track to start the second game of the regular season.
Mize pitched two innings, allowing just one hit. He had three strikeouts and one walk.
“I feel great,” Mize said. “Stuff was coming out good, around zone. I got behind a couple guys, which I wasn’t happy about, but both coming out good, I felt good.”
He threw 39 pitches, 24 for strikes.
“Quality misses and I was happy about that,” Mize said.
When he tried to go inside, he missed a little down. “It was all around the plate, which is better than spraying,” Mize said.
The Tigers wanted him to throw approximately 45 pitches. After he was pulled, Mize went to the bullpen and threw 10 more pitches to complete his day. “I think I threw some good disadvantaged-count fastballs that I was able to get some swing misses on so I was happy with that for sure,” Mize said.
At the plate
Robbie Grossman and Daz Cameron both homered.
“He came out today and put some good swings on the ball,” Hinch said of Cameron.
Riley Greene, one of the Tigers’ top prospects, stayed productive. A day after homering in his 2022 spring training debut, Riley batted second and singled to center.
Pitcher Mitch Keller started the game for the Pirates. But in the top of the second, Daz Cameron hit a line drive off Keller, which knocked him out of the game.
The Pirates brought in Cam Vieaux, a 2016 draft pick out of Michigan State. Vieaux got Dustin Garneau to pop out to end the second inning.
One of the most impressive players — at least defensively — was Ryan Kreidler, who played third.
“He’s such a good baseball player,” Hinch said. “Doesn’t shock me when he makes great plays.”
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On the mound
Beau Brieske was outstanding. He threw two innings, recording four strikeouts and one walk.
“Beau is good,” Hinch said. “He’s a good young prospect that is getting his first taste of this. To come out ready — it was pretty impressive… A lot to like out of him.”
Alex Lange, who is expected to pitch out of the bullpen, took over for Mize. On his 14th pitch, Lange threw a 96 mph fastball over the middle of the plate. Ben Gamel crushed it for a home run.
Jason Foley also gave up a long ball to the Pirates’ top prospect. Oneil Cruz, a 23-year-old phenom who made his MLB debut in 2021, crushed a home run in the bottom of the fourth. Cruz finished his swing on his left knee as the ball sailed out of the park.
Cruz is the Pirates’ version of Akil Baddoo. Cruz started off his pro career with a magical beginning, hitting a home run in his MLB debut — also off one knee.
Former Tigers pitcher Beau Burrows, now a Pirate, threw a scoreless, hitless inning.
1. Mize; 2. Grossman, 3. Brieske
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Sunday vs. New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida.
Contact Jeff Seidel: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.