Detroit Tigers Links: New bullpen hope, no catching for Martinez, maybe for Romine & Perez


Without a victory in a Spring Training game in seven tries, Detroit Tigers fans will have to search for hope elsewhere.

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Search no further than the right arm of Angel Nesbitt.

The 24-year-old Venezulan has pitched extremely well in his five appearances this spring. He has allowed one run on three hits in his five innings of work. Nesbitt also has one walk and three strikeouts.

With Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain struggling, Nesbitt could be a key addition to the Tigers bullpen.

Although Victor Martinez is ahead of schedule recovering from offseason knee surgery, manager Brad Ausmus admitted Martinez would not catch this season. With his knee issues at 36 years old, the risk is not worth the reward.

For that reason, super-utility men Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez worked out catching bullpen sessions on Wednesday. In case of an emergency, Ausmus wants those guys comfortable behind the plate.

This Angel of an arm can wing it for Tigers – Lynn Henning, The Detroit News

"The Tigers need another strikeout pitcher. At the very least, they need a chucker who can make at-bats uncomfortable and ideas of big-inning rallies seem remote.Nesbitt potentially is the man. He throws a mid-90s fastball that can easily hit 98. He has a heavy slider. And he throws an OK change-up. It’s the same repertoire featured by Rondon, whose comeback from Tommy John surgery has been so smooth he can be mentioned with Cabrera, Martinez, and Iglesias as one of those happy spring-camp recovery tales.“I think he’s extremely close,” Ausmus said Tuesday when asked how soon Nesbitt might be showing up at Comerica Park. “Generally, with an arm like that, the challenge is to throw strikes. But quite frankly, he’s impressed everybody with all his pitches and the way he’s thrown strikes.”"

Victor Martinez not expected to catch at any point this season – James Schmehl,

"Martinez has appeared in 858 career games at catcher in his 12-year career, including 31 games with the Tigers, but Martinez only caught two games last season and hasn’t started a game behind the plate since April 13, 2013.Martinez has previously been considered an option to start at catcher during interleague road games when the DH spot isn’t available. With catching no longer an option, Ausmus will likely need to start Martinez and first base and shift Miguel Cabrera to third base in order to keep both players in the starting lineup."

Romine, Perez work out at catcher in case of emergency – Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

"Both players caught bullpen sessions – Romine caught righty Josh Zeid and Perez caught righty Tim Melville – as the team explores their ability to serve in an emergency catcher’s role if need be.“If there’s an emergency, you’re just hoping there’s someone back there that can catch the ball,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “You have your back against the wall, you need to get through the game and if need be, you can call somebody up the next game if you needed another catcher.”Ausmus said Romine has caught once before and Perez, too, before he signed with the Tigers in 2007 out of Venezuela."

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