Tigers halt instructional camp in Lakeland as Hurricane Ian approaches

Detroit News

Hurricane Ian’s churning path toward Florida has ended the Tigers’ plans for Instruction Camp, which began last week and was to extend through Friday at their TigerTown complex in Lakeland, Florida.

The Tigers have discharged all 45 players who had been invited for drills and specific instruction. They were sent home beginning Monday when it became clear that a major hurricane was brewing, and Florida, including the Polk County region in which Lakeland rests, was targeted for likely heavy rainfall and potentially serious winds.

Managers, coaches, and minor-league staffers — about 40 people — have also largely been sent home.

Some staff will remain, said Ryan Garko, Tigers’ vice president of player development.

“We’ve prepared the complex as best we can for the storm,” Garko said Tuesday. “Our local Lakeland employees are taking care of their homes and making preparations to ride out the storm.”

Tigers minor-leaguers, apart from the Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie clubs, finished their season schedules earlier this month.

They began checking into Lakeland a week ago for an eight-day refresher course on specific areas of schooling designed to give pitchers and position players a jump on 2023.

There are no plans for bringing players back to Lakeland ahead of January, when, typically, minor-leaguers and big-leaguers begin returning to TigerTown for individual workouts and physical training.

Spring camp convenes in February for big-leaguers, and in March for the Tigers’ farm prospects.

Lynn Henning is a freelance writer and retired Detroit News sports reporter.

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