Detroit Tigers Links: Vizquel’s influence, Avila misses time & Daniel Fields


Omar Vizquel during a team practice at Joker Marchant Stadium. Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers spring training: Infield lessons from a master, coach Omar Vizquel – John Lowe, Detroit Free Press

"Jim Leyland said that Vizquel was the best shortstop he’d ever seen, ranking him ahead of even Ozzie Smith. When the Tigers got Jose Iglesias last season, general manager Dave Dombrowski said Iglesias had been compared to Smith and Vizquel — the double gold standard at shortstop.In his first year after he retired as a player, Vizquel became a coach last year in the Angels’ farm system. This off-season, shortly after Brad Ausmus became the manager, the Tigers went to work on recruiting Vizquel as their infield and baserunning coach."

Vizquel has one true goal for his post-playing career and that’s to be a manager. This likely means his time in Detroit will be brief. Hopefully the young infielders like Iglesias and Nick Castellanos will soak up Vizquel’s skills while they can.

Alex Avila, Duane Below miss Saturday workouts as injury-free streak ends for Detroit Tigers – Chris Iott, MLive

"Alex Avila missed workouts Saturday morning due to a sore back, while left-hander Duane Below, a non-roster invitee, sat out with a sore elbow. Below was scheduled to throw a live bullpen session Saturday morning but had that pushed back a day due to a sore elbow."

A few of us talked about the lack of depth at catching in our staff roundtable Friday. So this news is a bit concerning, though Avila and the Tigers are downplaying it, saying he’s suffering from “cramps,” an ailment he usually gets twice per year. Still, a sore back/cramps just a week into Spring Training is not a great thing. While Avila sat out on Sunday as well, he said if it was the regular season he’d be playing.

He’s slated to be back on the field today.

Five Tigers hitters who need better stroke of fortune in 2014 – Lynn Henning, Detroit News

"1. Austin Jackson2. Alex Avila3. Nick Castellanos4. Andy Dirks5. Jose Iglesias"

It would be great if all five of these players could have better years at the plate (though Iglesias was good at the plate before coming over from Boston and Casty had limited action after his September call-up), but AJax and Avila returning to form would help the lineup immensely. We don’t expect too much at the plate out of Jose and Nick (at least not yet), and Dirks–well let’s just say expectations are low.

Better know a Tiger: Daniel Fields – John A. McGeehan, Bless You Boys

"Daniel Fields is a familiar name to many, as he is a hometown product. Fields was born in Detroit and played for the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Tigers in 2009. Fields negotiated a signing bonus of over $1.5 million and turned pro rather than accept a baseball scholarship from the University of Michigan.Fields should spend the season at Toledo working on pitch selection. The Tigers have plenty of options in center field, so do not expect to see him as a replacement yet. And as a native Detroiter, do not expect a trade."

Fields had a good year in Erie in 2013, but with a crowded outfield in 2014, it’s unlikely we’ll see him in Detroit this season aside from a September call-up.