Tigers’ top pick Max Clark makes ‘awesome’ visit to Comerica Park

Detroit News

Detroit — In the scorching summer heat, with a full suit under his new Tigers jersey, Max Clark was cool.

Part of that is the lightweight material — “They’re like Lululemon material,” he said — but the other part might just have to do with the fact that he’s pretty dang cool himself. Clark, the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft, was a visitor at Comerica Park Friday, but if you didn’t know any better, you might think he owned the place.

Clark started his day with a meal at the Hudson Cafe, went over to tour Little Caesars Arena and had another meal at Union Assembly before taking the tour of his future home.

“Had my first taste of Detroit pizza, which is phenomenal by the way,” he said. “So that was great. … Talked to a lot of the guys. Michael Lorenzen and I are relatively close. We’ve been chatting over the last two or three months, and then sure enough, now we could potentially be teammates, so that’s great.

“Got a chance to talk to (Miguel Cabrera), which is awesome, and now we’re just hanging out.”

While Clark, a native of Franklin, Indiana, may not own the place just yet, he might very well be on his way. Nobody was more disappointed to learn Clark wasn’t taking batting practice more than the future Hall of Famer Cabrera.

“I’m under just a little bit of workload protection, so he starts giving me a little bit of heck for it. He’s like, ‘Why aren’t you taking BP?’ He was a little upset about it because his son is apparently a big fan of mine,” Clark said. “He’s been following me on social media for awhile, knows who I am. He was upset he didn’t get to see me hit and (so was) his son.”

Clark may not have the Detroit connection, but he has loved Cabrera going back to the release of the video game MLB 2K10.

“I used to play with him on MLB 2K10 every single day and just rake with him,” he said.

Regarding the red carpet being rolled out for Clark, Tigers manager AJ Hinch said jokingly, “I didn’t get a full day and I didn’t get a name on my scoreboard. I got a plane ticket to Modesta.”

Jokes aside, Hinch can see there being value in Clark’s visit outside of just being a cool experience.

“The players, I think they can relate to his experience of — there’s only one first time. Obviously, it’s been an emotional couple of weeks for him and a lot of work. Now he comes here, he can see Riley Greene’s not too much older than him,” Hinch said.

“He can see (Spencer Torkelson), who was a first overall pick. He can relate with some of our guys in our clubhouse, so I think that’s cool.”

Hinch used Greene as an example of a high draft pick maturing without going to college. Clark was previously committed to Vanderbilt before signing with the Tigers.

“A really underrated part of Riley’s development is how he’s well-rounded in his personality and how he interacts with people,” Hinch said. “He’s grounded in his work ethic, his approach, his reaction to success and failure. There’s so much maturity that goes on in college that is missed by the travels through the minor leagues.”

Even all the way in Detroit, on the cusp of his dream, he’s still thinking about his hometown of Franklin.

While Clark’s social media has been the topic of some jokes, there is a method to the madness. Clark said he hopes to be an inspiration for kids who don’t have anyone else to look up to.

“There were times when I was kind of young in my relatively advanced baseball career, where I needed somebody to reach out to, I needed to hear something from a big-time player, whatever that may be,” Clark said.

“I wanna be that voice for those kids. So I’m really transparent on social media, (whether) it’s about my family, my relationship, my friends, baseball, basketball, football, fishing, whatever it may be. So to be able to kind of give them that transparency, have them comfortable to come to me and ask questions, I think is really, really special.”

Medical update

The Tigers provided injury updates on a handful of players prior to this weekend’s series against the San Diego Padres.

Right-handed starter Casey Mize (elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session before Saturday’s game. Right-handers Spencer Turnbull (neck) and Will Vest (leg) completed bullpen sessions Friday.

nbianchi@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @nolanbianchi

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