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 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule

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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:02 pm

Fister struggles with command in Grapefruit start

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/19/2013 4:11 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Longtime Tigers nemesis Luke Scott carried his home-run history against Detroit into Spring Training, belting a fourth-inning grand slam to complete a Rays onslaught against Doug Fister and send Tampa Bay on its way to an 11-5 win Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

The Rays' offense had scored three runs over its previous two games combined, but came out of its final off-day swinging against the Tigers and Fister, who battled fastball command troubles well before his fateful fourth inning. He wasn't completely wild with his location, but he missed enough to pay for it.

"Basically, he struggled all game with it, but that happens," catcher Alex Avila said. "I actually thought he did a decent job up until that fourth inning. He was still able to get outs without having his command. …

"When a pitcher is struggling with his command a little bit and is constantly behind, if he's not able to make the adjustment, normally it'll catch up and result in a few runs. Big league hitters, you might be able to get away with it here and there, but getting away with it two or three times is a little tough. But Doug will be just fine."

The Rays milked 49 pitches out of Fister in the second and third innings, but had only one run to show for it. Jack Cust's double off the left-field fence leading off the fourth and Prince Fielder's error on Ryan Roberts' ensuing ground ball set up the breakout inning.

Jose Lobaton and Desmond Jennings both singled in runs and were on base when a two-out walk to Matt Joyce brought up Scott, owner of 10 career home runs in 24 games against Tigers pitching. Fister tried to bury a sinker against him and induce a ground ball, but Scott jumped it and sent it over the right-field scoreboard for his third homer of the spring.

Just two of the seven runs off Fister were earned, but he still dealt with seven hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings and about 83 pitches. He has given up 17 runs, 12 earned, on 21 hits over 14 2/3 innings with eight walks and 14 strikeouts.

Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson, making just his second official start of the spring, overcame early damage on first-inning RBI singles from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson's second-inning RBI double to cruise from there. He gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings with three strikeouts.

Tigers Minor Leaguer Devon Travis brought the Tigers a little closer in the eighth with a two-run homer off Brandon Gomes, who yielded his first runs of the spring.

Up next for the Tigers: The Tigers on Wednesday have their second and final off-day before gearing up for the home stretch of Spring Training with a 6:05 p.m. ET game against the Astros on Thursday at Joker Marchant Stadium. Justin Verlander will make his next-to-last start of the spring after pitching in a Minor League game his last time out. Closer candidate Bruce Rondon is also scheduled to pitch along with Joaquin Benoit and Al Alburquerque. FOXSports Detroit will have the broadcast in Michigan and Northwest Ohio, while MLB.TV will have it online.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:50 pm

Uncommonly generous Verlander allows three homers

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/21/2013 8:55 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Maybe Justin Verlander will shut down the Astros when the Tigers go to Houston in May. On Thursday, though, they put on a home-run display under the lights at Joker Marchant Stadium, homering three times in Verlander's 5 2/3 innings for a 7-2 Astros win.

Carlos Corporan homered twice, once off Verlander. His drive to right leading off the fifth inning was the first of back-to-back homers against Verlander, who said after the outing that he left a couple of fastballs up while struggling to get a feel for his slider.

Those back-to-back blasts came an inning after Brandon Laird had put Houston ahead for good with a two-run homer. Laird, who replaced Brett Wallace after Wallace left the game with a pinched nerve in his left trap in the first inning, is the younger brother of former Tigers catcher Gerald Laird.

Verlander had a text message waiting from Laird by the time he left the game with two outs in the sixth.

"As soon as he hit that ball, I thought, 'I'm never going to hear the end of this,'" Verlander said.

He might see more of Laird soon enough. The homer was the fifth Laird hit this spring as he tries to claim a spot on an Opening Day roster for the first time in his career.

Corporan hit his second home run off Al Alburquerque, lofting a ball high into the night sky.

Verlander doesn't know many of the Astros hitters he faced aside from the veterans in the middle of the order. Given the possibility of a regular-season matchup in a month and a half, he said he'll keep hitters' reactions in his memory bank.

"I'm just trying to get a feel for these guys," he said. "I'll take this start and log away a lot of information."

Corporan added a third hit with a ninth-inning single through the right side off Tigers closer candidate Bruce Rondon. J.D. Martinez added two hits.

Astros starter Lucas Harrell held a lineup of Tigers regulars to three hits over five innings of two-run ball. Alex Avila singled in Quintin Berry for a run in the fifth after Prince Fielder walked and scored on a double play in the second. Victor Martinez went 2-for-3.

Up next: Drew Smyly gets another chance to try to win the fifth starter's job on Friday with a rematch against the Nationals in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla. Prince Fielder, Omar Infante and Jhonny Peralta are among those scheduled to make the trip. Luke Putkonen, Phil Coke, Brayan Villarreal and Jose Alvarez are also scheduled to pitch.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:50 pm



Tuiasosopo's solo shot

3/22/13: Matt Tuiasosopo launches a solo home run to center field to put the Tigers up 1-0 on the Nationals in the second inning

Tigers prevail over Strasburg in Smyly's strong start

By Bill Ladson / MLB.com | 3/22/2013 4:15 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

VIERA, Fla. -- Left-hander Drew Smyly outdueled right-hander Stephen Strasburg as the Tigers edged the Nationals, 4-3, at Space Coast Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Smyly was solid for five-plus innings, allowing a run on four hits and striking out five batters. The one run was scored in the fifth inning on an Ian Desmond home run.

Strasburg pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, and striking out five batters. The Tigers were able to get Strasburg in the second inning, when Matt Tuiasosopo homered over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the spring.

The Nationals received a scare in the fourth inning when Strasburg was hit on the left wrist by a line drive off the bat of Prince Fielder. With a runner on first base, Fielder hit a line drive up the middle. Strasburg tried to catch the ball, but it hit his left wrist and went into center field for a single. Strasburg was seen shaking the wrist, while manager Davey Johnson, catcher Kurt Suzuki, pitching coach Steve McCatty and athletic trainer Lee Kuntz came to his aid.

Strasburg would stay in the game and allow two runs in the fifth inning. Fielder and Victor Martinez had RBI singles.

The Tigers added another run in the top of the seventh inning off reliever Henry Rodriguez. With the bases loaded and one out, Jordan Lennerton hit the ball to the right-center-field gap. Roger Bernadina made a nice diving catch, but Kevin Russo scored on the sacrifice fly.

Washington scored its final two runs of the game off Tigers reliever Phil Coke. Suzuki and Steve Lombardozzi each hit sac flies to make it a one-run game.

Up next: Detroit returns to Lakeland for its only home game in a stretch of four days to take on the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium (1:05 p.m. ET). Andy Dirks could be back in the lineup for the Tigers, who will send Anibal Sanchez to the mound to start against New York's Andy Pettitte.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:59 pm

Miggy's blast highlights Tigers' win vs. Yanks

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/23/2013 3:51 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera's mammoth two-run home run over the batting eye behind center field punctuated a go-ahead five-run seventh inning, overcoming a two-homer game from Ben Francisco to send the Tigers to a 10-6 win over the Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

On a day when Torii Hunter made the highlight play by keeping a ball in the park, scaling the right-field fence to take back Kevin Youkilis' fly ball in the third inning, Jhonny Peralta, Cabrera and Kevin Russo drove the ball where all the Yankees' outfield could do was watch.

Peralta's drive to the left of the backdrop in center, his second home run of the spring, led off a three-run fifth inning against Andy Pettitte after the left-hander held Detroit to a run on two hits over the first four innings.

Three more hits after Peralta's homer, including an Alex Avila double off the left-field wall and a Hunter RBI double, tied the game. Pettitte rebounded to last 6 1/3 innings in his second start of the spring, more than doubling his innings from his previous outing.

The five-run seventh came after Pettitte was relieved by Cody Eppley, who failed to retire any of the five batters he faced. Hunter greeted Eppley with a one-out single before Cabrera cleared the estimated 30-foot high backdrop in straightaway center for his fourth homer of Grapefruit League play. Victor Martinez, Matt Tuiasosopo and Avila added RBI hits.

The Yankees whittled their deficit when Francisco jumped a fastball from Tigers closing candidate Bruce Rondon for a two-run homer in the eighth, but former Yankees farmhand Russo slugged an eighth-inning homer to pad the lead.

Francisco's fourth-inning solo homer to the left-field berm was one of four Yankees runs off Anibal Sanchez in their first meeting with the right-hander since he shut them down for seven innings in last October's American League Championship Series. Youkilis gained some measure of revenge for his robbery with a two-run double into the left-field corner in the fifth inning.

The announced crowd of 10,084 is the fourth-largest in the Tigers' 48-year history at Marchant Stadium.

Up next: The Tigers will bring all their regulars with them when they start a two-day trip to the Atlantic coast of Florida with a 1:10 p.m. ET game against the split-squad Mets in Port St. Lucie on Sunday (Watch on MLB.TV). Doug Fister will make his next-to-last start of the spring, while Al Alburquerque, Darin Downs and Jose Alvarez make their pitches for bullpen spots. Matt Harvey is scheduled to start for New York.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:26 pm

Tigers overcome Fister's command issues, rout Mets

By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com | 3/24/2013 4:09 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Doug Fister's inconsistent spring continued on Sunday in a 9-4 Tigers win Sunday over the Mets at Tradition Field.

Fister, who entered the game with a 7.36 Grapefruit League ERA, walked four batters and allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings. Though he was able to limit the overall damage, Fister has now walked 12 batters over 19 1/3 spring innings.

The Mets scored their only runs off Fister on a wild pitch in the second inning and Ike Davis' RBI single in the third. Al Alburquerque later struck out three New York batters in an impressive inning of relief.

Though Mets starter Matt Harvey looked sharp early, striking out the side in the first, he walked in a run in the second inning and gave up four runs in total. Two of those came during a fourth-inning rally that saw Omar Infante triple in a run and Austin Jackson double home another.

"It wasn't the easiest day to pitch," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That guy for them [Harvey] is really good. That kid is really impressive. The ball was just jumping out of his hands. Doug goes about it a little different way, but pitched very effective today."

Don Kelly blew the game open with a two-run homer off Mets reliever Brandon Lyon in a five-run seventh inning, shortly after outfielder Matt den Dekker left the game with an apparent right wrist injury.

Up next: Detroit will stay over on Florida's east coast and make the short trip from Port St. Lucie on Sunday to Jupiter on Monday to take on the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. ET. Most of the lineup of regulars will continue on, with Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez the only players heading back to Lakeland on Sunday night. Rick Porcello, fighting to keep his spot as the Tigers' fifth starter, gets the start, with Brayan Villarreal, Alburquerque and Luke Putkonen expected in relief. Wade LeBlanc will start for Miami.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:13 pm


Outfielder Don Kelly is batting .304 with four homers and seven RBIs. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
Kelly notches four hits, won't opt out of deal
Outfielder falls triple shy of the cycle, has informal agreement for trade

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/26/2013 5:57 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Don Kelly hit just about everything over the plate in the Tigers' 6-5 loss to the Braves on Tuesday. The only thing he didn't hit was the open market.

On the day Kelly could've exercised the opt-out clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent if the Tigers don't add him to their Opening Day roster, he went 4-for-4, hit his fourth home run of the spring, doubled twice and fell a triple shy of the cycle to add some pressure to his case for the final spot on Detroit's bench. He could've added some contractual pressure as well, but the outfielder said he won't.

"I'm not going to take the opt-out," Kelly said.

Instead, Kelly said, he has an informal agreement with the front office that team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski will try to find him a destination with a Major League job and trade him there if he doesn't make the 25-man roster later this week.

If no such destination was available, Kelly said, he'll accept an assignment at Triple-A Toledo.

Kelly is locked in a competition with speedy outfielder Quintin Berry and utility infielder Danny Worth for the last positional spot. More games like Tuesday will make that roster competition moot.

Kelly's highlight was his drive over the right-field fence off Braves lefty Jonny Venters. It marked Kelly's second homer in three days since breaking out of an 0-for-11 slump, and it brought the Tigers back into a tie game off a pitching duel between starters Shawn Hill and Tim Hudson.

Both Kelly doubles were driven into the right-field corner.

"I'm seeing the ball real well and trying to put good swings on it," Kelly said. "I've been going through this [with roster competitions] since 2006. It does get intense towards the end, and you just have to try to find a way to go out there and compete."

Manager Jim Leyland said Kelly has shortened his swing this spring, allowing him to hit for better contact. It's also a swing that lends itself to reserve duty, when at-bats can be tough to come by in stretches.

"That usually plays more into somebody who's not going to be a regular," Leyland said.

Ramon Santiago tripled in Brayan Pena before scoring on Venters' wild pitch for a 4-2 Tigers lead for Octavio Dotel to protect in the seventh. Venters retired only one batter before he left with a left elbow sprain.

Dotel struck out the side in his first Major League Spring Training game since returning from the World Baseball Classic, but he paid for a two-out single from Matt Pagnozzi and a fastball to Ramiro Pena, whose first home run of the spring hit high off the right-field scoreboard put the Braves back in front.

Atlanta's advantage lasted an inning before Worth singled in the tying run in the eighth. With the game tied in the ninth, Juan Francisco's sixth home run of the spring broke the deadlock. It was his third homer off Tigers pitching this spring, and his second off Brayan Villarreal.

Hill faced one batter over the minimum through his first three innings before Jason Heyward doubled and scored in the fourth. Gerald Laird, getting his first at-bats in more than a week, singled in a run in the fifth.

Hill was assigned to Minor League camp immediately after his outing, and he'll start the season in Triple-A Toledo's rotation.

Hudson allowed a run on four hits over four innings in his final spring start.

Up next: Justin Verlander will make his final Grapefruit League start Wednesday on MLB.TV when the Tigers take on the Phillies in a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Closing candidate Bruce Rondon is also scheduled to pitch for the second straight day. Luis Marte and Darin Downs fill out the list of relievers for Detroit against Philadelphia, which will send Cole Hamels to the mound in his final start of the spring.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:11 pm

Verlander increases workload in final spring tuneup

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/27/2013 4:03 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels engaged in the kind of pitching duel, albeit a brief one, that one would expect from them in their separate games on Opening Day. The Phillies, however, manufactured a pair of runs that stood up as Philadelphia's bullpen tamed the vaunted Tigers lineup from there for a 4-1 win Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Torii Hunter's first-inning double was the only hit Hamels allowed over his three innings of work, a shorter outing by design as he wrapped up his spring work. By contrast, Verlander worked nearly twice that long, leaving with two outs in the sixth as he tried to ready himself for a 100-pitch workload when the season begins next Monday.

Hamels struck out three of the 10 Tigers batters he faced, including new Tigers lefty killer Matt Tuiasosopo with one out in the second inning. Hamels' only other baserunner was Miguel Cabrera on a walk immediately after Hunter's single. Hamels escaped it by inducing an inning-ending double play from Prince Fielder.

Hamels' performance, as well as scoreless work from relievers Chad Durbin and Zach Miner, held off Detroit's offense until Alex Avila singled and scored on an Austin Jackson sacrifice fly off Miner in the sixth. Miner stranded the potential tying run on second base when he struck out Fielder to end the inning.

Jackson's sac fly halved the lead that the Phillies held since the opening inning, when Jhonny Peralta's fielding error and Verlander's errant pickoff set up Ben Revere to score on Michael Young's sacrifice fly. The advantage grew to 2-0 in the fourth, when Carlos Ruiz singled and scored on a single to right from Ender Inciarte.

Two more runs in the seventh put the game all but out of a reach in a wild outing for Tigers closing candidate Bruce Rondon, pitching his second consecutive game. Back-to-back singles set up Inciarte to score on a groundout before Rondon balked in Laynce Nix. Manager Jim Leyland pulled Rondon after a four-pitch walk to Ruiz, Rondon's second walk of the day.

Up next: The Tigers could have their Opening Day lineup ready to roll by the time they take the field for Thursday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Astros at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee. Anibal Sanchez will finish up his Spring Training by facing a familiar former National League foe before Joaquin Benoit and Al Alburquerque pitch in relief. Philip Humber is scheduled to start for Houston.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:07 pm

Prince's homer makes noise, but Anibal shaky

By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com | 3/28/2013 3:46 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The Astros hit four home runs, including two by top prospect Jonathan Singleton, to race past the Tigers, 11-4, on Thursday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium in their Grapefruit League finale.

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez gave up three homers in five innings of work, with Astros catcher Jason Castro walloping a two-run shot to right-center field in the fifth inning that made it 9-4. Castro's six homers this spring are a team-high and match his regular-season total of last year.

Sanchez allowed 11 hits and nine runs in five innings, throwing 101 pitches.

Singleton, who will begin the season at Triple-A, homered to right field in the first inning and belted a second homer in the Astros' five-run third inning. Rick Ankiel also had a two-run double in the third and added a homer in the sixth.

Astros starter Philip Humber was rolling through the fourth before the Tigers took advantage of some poor defense and scored four times, including a three-run homer by Prince Fielder, to cut the Houston lead to 7-4. Humber pitched a 1-2-3 sixth.

"I don't think I could have asked for a better Spring Training as far as how I threw the ball and the results I got," said Humber, who will start Wednesday against the Rangers. "I couldn't be in a better position going into the season, but it's one day at a time. I feel healthy and feel I have all my pitches where I want them."

Up next:
The Tigers bid farewell to Lakeland, Fla., with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Rays at Joker Marchant Stadium, starting off a home-and-home series against Tampa Bay to close out Grapefruit League play. Max Scherzer will make his final start of what has been an outstanding spring for him when he takes the mound opposite Jeremy Hellickson. Brayan Villarreal, Phil Coke and Octavio Dotel are also scheduled to pitch; the game is available live on Gameday Audio.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:43 pm

Scherzer dominant in final Spring Training outing
Strikes out nine in six scoreless, backed by homers from Fielder, Avila, Infante

By Zack Meisel / MLB.com | 3/29/2013 4:20 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers appear ready to lunge out of their cage upon the first pitch of the regular season. In Friday's 8-3 win over the Rays, they pounced on right-hander Jeremy Hellickson before a single-game record 10,451 fans at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Max Scherzer tossed six dazzling innings for Detroit. The righty allowed only one hit -- a fifth-inning double to Kelly Johnson -- and struck out nine. In four Grapefruit League starts, Scherzer posted a 0.57 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.

Miguel Cabrera commenced the offensive barrage with an RBI double in the first inning. Prince Fielder, the ensuing batter, then socked a two-run homer off the branches of a palm tree beyond the right-field fence.

In the second, Alex Avila clubbed a Hellickson pitch into the jet stream, and it carried over the wall in left for an opposite-field, two-run homer. The Tigers (19-14-1) tacked on another pair of runs on an RBI triple by Austin Jackson and a sacrifice fly by Fielder to take a 7-0 lead through two.

"I didn't execute very many pitches today," said Hellickson, who surrendered eight runs (six earned) on seven hits in three innings.

Omar Infante was responsible for Detroit's eighth run, as he belted a solo homer with two outs in the third.

Hellickson wrapped up his spring with a 6.75 ERA, and Friday's outing marred what had been a solid showing in recent weeks. The right-hander had better success in his previous appearance against the Tigers on March 19, when he limited Detroit to three runs in six innings. On this cloudless Friday, however, he needed 72 pitches to get through three innings.

Sam Fuld provided the Rays' first scoring with a two-out, two-run homer off Octavio Dotel in the eighth. James Harris Jr. followed with an RBI single later in the inning.

With the loss, Tampa Bay fell to 15-17-1 this spring.

Up next: The Tigers and Rays will reconvene at Tropicana Field for a final spring game at 1:10 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game can be heard live on Gameday Audio. Doug Fister is expected to start for Detroit. The Tigers open the regular season on Monday at Target Field against the Twins.

Zack Meisel is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @zackmeisel. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: 2013 TIGERS' SPRING TRAINING Grapefruit League Schedule   Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:27 pm

Fister efficient, Pena homers in final spring game

By Adam Berry / MLB.com | 3/30/2013 4:19 P.M. ET

BOX SCORE

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays lefty Matt Moore and Tigers right-hander Doug Fister didn't put up dazzling Spring Training numbers, but Saturday, both could say that they went into the regular season on a relatively high note, as Detroit tied Tampa Bay, 3-3, in both teams' final spring game.

Making their last spring appearances, Moore logged four scoreless innings and Fister gave up two solo shots in six frames.

It looked like Moore's rocky, inefficient spring might have ended on a similar note after a 25-pitch first, but he quickly turned it around and needed only 29 pitches to get through his final three innings of work. Moore, who entered the game with a 4.67 ERA this spring, exited after four innings having allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five on 54 pitches, 37 of them for strikes.

Fister, meanwhile, started the day with a 6.52 ERA in spring games, prompting a reporter to ask Tigers manager Jim Leyland before the game if Saturday was an important start for Fister. Leyland fired back that it wasn't nearly as important as Fister's next start, Detroit's home opener against the Yankees, but Fister pitched well either way, allowing seven hits and no walks on 96 pitches, 63 for strikes.

"It's another step in the right direction for me," Fister said. "I felt like today was much better timing-wise and just that feel. Working on a few pitches here and there, just trying to get fine-tuned ready for six days from now."

When Moore left, the Rays began a parade of one-inning appearances for several of their top relievers. Jamey Wright gave up a two-run homer to Brayan Pena with no outs in the fifth inning, breaking the scoreless tie. Wright allowed four homers over 11 innings in spring games despite allowing only two over 67 2/3 innings in 2012.

Tampa Bay got one back in the bottom of the fifth, when James Loney clubbed a line-drive solo homer, his first of the spring, to right field off Fister. They got the second back in the sixth, as Ryan Roberts hit a solo shot of his own, also off the Tigers' starter.

In the top of the seventh, the Tigers scored their third run on a triple from Pena and an RBI bunt single from Don Kelly. In the bottom of that inning, the Rays tied it up again on a Sean Rodriguez homer off Tigers' reliever Will Clinard.

Up next: Detroit will head north to begin the regular season. The Tigers will hold a voluntary workout on Sunday's off-day, then kick off their regular season Monday with an Opening Day matchup against the Twins at Target Field at 4:10 p.m. ET. Justin Verlander, fresh off receiving his five-year contract extension, will take the ball for Detroit and face Minnesota right-hander Vance Worley.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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