Friday, March 08, 2013

Tigers Send Non-Roster Pitchers to Minor-League Camp

The Tigers announced this morning that two pitchers - right hander Michael Morrison and  lefty Ryan Robowski haven been sent to their minor-league camp.  Earlier in the week,the Tigers had moved catchers Curt Casali and James McCann to the minors.  This leaves the Tigers with 53 players in the major-league camp including all 40 rostered players and 13 non-roster invitees.  

With the extended spring training this year due to the World Baseball Championship, it's going to take longer than usual to reduce the roster to 25 players, but there really isn't a lot of suspense.  Their nine starters are locked in along with catcher Brayan Pena and back-up infielder Ramon Santiago if healthy.  If Santiago isn't ready for opening day, then Danny Worth would make the roster.  Some think Worth will win a spot over Santiago regardless, but I believe Santiago is safe due to his $2.1 million guaranteed salary. 

That leaves two spots for Quintin Berry, Brennan Boesch, Jeff Kobernus or Worth.  There is also an outside shot that Nick Castellanos or Avisail Garcia comes north, but only if one is ready to play full-time.  Some are guessing Don Kelly will be back again, but that would require them removing someone from the 40-man roster which seems unlikely. 

The main questions on the pitching staff are who will be the fifth starter and who will close, but most of  25-man roster guys seem set - starters Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and relievers Al Aburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel and probably Brayan Villarreal.  The fifth starter - Rick Porcello or Smyly - will bring it to 10 pitchers.  If it's Smyly, that would probably mean that Porcello was traded.  If it's Porcello, then Smyly would likely start the season in Toledo.  The Tigers are hoping Bruce Rondon is their closer, but that is certainly up in the air.  If all goes as planned that would leave just one more spot, which might be a lefty reliever such as Duane Below Darin Downs or Kyle Lobstein. 

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