Written by Dick Scanlon
LAKELAND, FL (AP) – Miguel Cabrera appeared Sunday morning for the start of his 20th spring training camp for major competitions, his 15th with the Detroit Tigers.
It’s a little different. For the first time since 2016, the fortified “Tigers” are thinking about victory, maybe even fighting.
“I think we have the opportunity to do that here, so I’m very excited and ready to work,” said the 38-year-old Cabrera, who needs just 13 strokes to reach 3,000 for his career.
The Tigers went 77-85 last season in their first year under manager AJ Hinch. It was a big jump from four seasons in a row with a payout percentage below 0.400.
The Tigers of 2021 had a record after May 7, and then added three veterans to their list before the 99-day lockout in MLB.
“Our manager and organization last year sent a new message that it’s time to win, and they showed that last offseason by signing two great guys to our team,” Cabrera said. “I hope we can stay healthy and compete.”
In November, Detroit traded for Tucker Barnhart of Cincinnati, then signed long-term contracts with left-handed pitcher Edward Rodriguez and short stop Javier Baes.
These acquisitions and arrival prospects Riley Green and Spencer Torkelson gave the Tigers a different look and different expectations as they prepared for Monday’s first organized workout.
“We need to set a high bar,” Hinch said. “When we came to this camp, we felt we won a little, not a lot, and I think we need to continue the same message.”
Outfielder Robbie Grossman remarked.
“There’s noise in the club,” he said. “We brought in some really good players. We will only get better, so our expectations are getting higher and higher. ”
Green, a 21-year-old outfielder, was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft. The 22-year-old Torkelson, first overall in 2020, is first base. They are among 17 non-listed players who have been in camp for weeks while Premier League veterans waited for the lockout to end.
“I think these are huge prospects,” Hinch said. “They will have the opportunity to demonstrate what they are capable of and how they fit.”
Whether Green and / or Torkelson will be on the roster on the first day will affect other decisions in the lineup, such as whether Detroit will start the season with five outfielders or three catchers, how many Cabreras play at first base and whether Jonathan Schup plays at first base or at second base, Hinch said.
Cabrera reached 0.256, making 15 home runs and 75 RBIs in 130 games last year. He finished the season with 502 homers in his career.
The 28-year-old Rodriguez joins Casey Mize, Tariq Scoobal and Matt Manning in the rotation of the starting serve. Tyler Alexander has a domestic track in fifth place, although Hinch said he “could also be a very valuable Swiss Army knife from the bullpen.”
There are also one or two places for bullpen.
Due to the rapid turn after the lockout in MLB spring training was compressed in less than four weeks. The Tigers are scheduled to begin the regular season on April 8 at home against the Chicago White Sox.
“Obviously, the cast has to get up and work pretty fast,” Hinch said. “You look at four starts on the starter. You look, trying to condense how many guys are leaving. We need to incorporate them into the game a little faster. We’re not going to look much at our younger guys at camp. But there are 30 teams that have the same thing. ”
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