DETROIT – Baseball!
The Detroit Tigers will play an actual game for the first time Friday, kicking off spring training with an exhibition against Southeastern University.
Game details: 1:05 p.m. ET at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida.
Pitchers and catchers reported Feb. 11 and the rest of the squad reported Sunday. After Friday’s exhibition, the team will play 33 games -- including four of the split-squad variety -- against fellow MLB teams over the next 32 days.
Rising prospect Tarik Skubal is set to start against Southeastern. The 23-year-old lefty is the No. 34 overall prospect according to Baseball America and the No. 46 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline. Since being selected by the Tigers in the ninth round of the 2018 draft, Skubal has dominated the lower levels of the minor leagues and risen to the organization’s No. 3 prospect.
Jason Beck, of MLB.com, tweeted that Rony Garcia, Nolan Blackwood, Anthony Castro and Gerson Moreno are also scheduled to pitch in the game.
Tarik Skubal will start Friday's Tigers exhibition vs. Southeastern University. Rony Garcia, Nolan Blackwood, Anthony Castro and Gerson Moreno also slated to pitch. Jordan Zimmermann starts Saturday's Grapefruit League opener vs. Phillies.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) February 19, 2020
He struck out 82 of 170 batters in Double-A last season with a 2.13 ERA, 1.016 WHIP and 4.56 K/BB.
Here’s how Ron Gardenhire’s lineup will look:
- Harold Castro, 2B
- Willi Castro, SS
- Brandon Dixon, 1B
- Jorge Bonifacio, LF
- Dawel Lugo, 3B
- Travis Demeritte, DH
- Daz Cameron, RF
- Eric Haase, C
- Derek Hill, CF
Willi Castro and Daz Cameron are the most notable prospects in the lineup. Cameron is hoping to crack the MLB roster at some point this season after spending all of 2019 in Triple-A. He’ll have to cut down on his strikeout issues to take the next step, though.
Willi Castro is likely to battle Niko Goodrum and Jordy Mercer throughout the spring as the Tigers search for a starting shortstop. Goodrum figures to have the inside track, but he could also take on an everyday utility role if Willi Castro earns a starting spot.
Dawel Lugo will duke it out with Jeimer Candelario this spring for the starting spot at third base.
Brandon Dixon, Jorge Bonifacio and Travis Demeritte are long shots to break camp as starters, though they could all fight for a spot on the 26-man roster.
The Tigers brought in Eric Haase to compete with Jake Rogers and Grayson Greiner for the right to backup new starting catcher Austin Romine.
Harold Castro can play anywhere in the infield or outfield, so Gardenhire will likely keep him on the roster. With the signings of Jonathan Scoop and Cameron Maybin, Harold Castro seems destined for a utility role.
Derek Hill is a former first-round pick and was once the organization’s top prospect. He’s never even had an average offensive season in the minors, though, so if he makes the team, it’ll be a product of his defense in center field and speed on the base paths.
Detroit will host the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. Saturday. That game will be available on the radio at 97.1 FM.