Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Francisco Rodriguez to Reportedly Make 2017 Spring Training Debut Wednesday

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Sep 14, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) pitches in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Detroit won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 14, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) pitches in the ninth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. Detroit won 9-6. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez will reportedly make his Spring Training debut on Wednesday. The closer will once again play a key role for Detroit as the team chases a World Series title.

Detroit Tigers fans saw the team retain a number of key veterans in the offseason.

Essentially, only Cameron Maybin was traded from a roster that just missed out on postseason play in 2016.

With the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler back, Detroit looks poised to once again contend for the playoffs.

One other veteran who will be key to Detroit’s hopes in 2017 is Francisco Rodriguez.

The 35-year-old, who the Tigers picked up via trade from Milwaukee, logged 44 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 58.1 innings in his debut season in Detroit.

He’ll once again be closing games for Brad Ausmus in 2017.

Rodriguez will head up an improving bullpen that will likely include some combination of Bruce Rondon, Justin Wilson, Shane Greene, Alex Wilson, Joe Jimenez, Mark Lowe, Kyle Ryan, Blaine Hardy, Chad Bell, Daniel Stumpf and Victor Alcantara.

According to the latest tweet from the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, the future Hall of Famer will reportedly make his Spring Training debut on Wednesday.

McCosky tweeted on Monday afternoon:

"“Closer Francisco Rodriguez on the schedule to make first outing Wednesday in Lakeland.”"

Trade Win

The acquisition of Rodriguez is looking more and more like a slam-dunk win for Tigers general manager Al Avila.

Avila brought in the veteran for infield prospect Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later.

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Betancourt was blocked by the likes of Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and Dixon Machado on the organizational depth chart, making him somewhat expendable.

He went on to play in 110 games for the Brewers’ Double-A affiliate last season, hitting only .224 with 43 RBI, 23 runs scored, 12 doubles, five home runs, three triples and three stolen bases.

The infielder’s on-base percentage for the 2016 season finished at .285 playing against competition on average three years older than him.

Catcher Manny Pina would turn out to be the player to be named later.

Detroit previously acquired him from Seattle in a minor deal in June of 2014.

Pina served as a solid depth piece before being dealt to the Brewers.

All told, the 29-year-old hit .254 with a .740 OPS in 33 games for Milwaukee last season. He threw out 28% of would-be base stealers.

The Detroit Tigers will play two games on Wednesday. Half the squad will host the Washington Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.

Meanwhile, the rest of Detroit’s team will travel to Dunedin to take on the Toronto Blue Jays.

Next: Moya Is Intriguing Trade Chip If He Doesn't Make Team

Mike Pelfrey is starting against the Nats, while Michael Fulmer will take the hill versus the Jays.

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