We knew it was coming. The Detriot Tigers sent a handful of players to the minor leagues today as the team slowly trims to 25 men. And, a few other things happened on the mound and at the plate.
The latest round of players sent to the Detroit Tigers minor leagues includes Mike Gerber, Preston Guilmet, Drake Britton, Miguel Gonzalez, Dominic Ficociello, Tommy Field, and Jason Krizan. Many of these players filled roster spots in the late innings in Lakeland. It is highly unlikely that any of these men will reappear in any roster spot with the Tigers. Gonzalez will most likely become the third catcher in line after James McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, so he could be called up occasionally throughout the season. The other players will stay in the minors unless something extremely unexpected occurs.
One more player was sent down: JaCoby Jones. While this comes as no surprise, the fact that he was sent down with so much time left in spring training does. He will be serving the remainder of his 50-game suspension for his drug charge as soon as the regular season starts. But, during his time in Lakeland and the rest of the Grapefruit League, the infielder (and occasional outfielder) was putting on quite a show. I, for one, was hoping to see some more of him before the season started and he disappeared for 38 games. He is a player who could show up from time-to-time with the Tigers – most likely not until September.
In other news, Justin Verlander has finally earned an ERA, all thanks to Bryce Harper. While a 1.93 ERA and a WHIP of 0.86 is nothing to be embarrassed by, the way he earned those stats was a bit of a surprise. The 2015 NL MVP had a day yesterday hitting two bombs off of the Tigers ace. Even Al Kaline had something to say about the home runs:
At the other end of the pitching mound, home plate remained a hot spot for the power hitters on the team. Those hits translated into a seven-game winning streak that just ended today. Those games have been thoroughly enjoyable to listen to and watch, especially since those games have had a combined 10 home runs. Considering that on Sunday, Bryce Harper hit his first (and second) home run of the season, Tigers fans are in for a special season.
This past week, the Tigers home run leader has been J.D. Martinez. He hit three in a three-game stretch from March 12 to March 15. During the seven-game winning streak, Martinez has had at least one hit in all but one of the games. He started out a bit slowly – much like the beginning of the 2015 season, but it appears that Martinez has found his groove. With only 15 games left before the big show begins, Martinez should be able to maintain a similar pattern when the team moves into the games that count.
The last bit of news was some of the best, so far. Anibal Sanchez actually pitched – today. He threw in four innings and did not allow any home runs. After his performances in 2015, that is good news. But, of course, this is only spring training. In other good news, Francisco Rodriguez also performed brilliantly following Sanchez’s four hitless innings. Unfortunately, Blaine Hardy had another disappointing outing, allowing another home run.
Could Hardy start the season in with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens? With pitchers like Matt Boyd, Shane Greene, Buck Farmer, and Drew VerHagen having significantly better outings, Hardy might not have a guaranteed spot in the bullpen.
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