Lakeland, Fla. — He has to do it because all clubs do.
But before the exhibition games begin next week, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will have to watch a part of spring training he doesn’t like.
And that will occur when his own hitters step into the cage for live batting practice against his own pitchers.
“Unless you are coming out of winter ball,” Ausmus said, “you haven’t seen 90 miles an hour in a while.
“And there’s just this little bit of discomfort for the pitchers and the hitters when you are facing your own teammates.”
It can be the mental discomfort of worrying that a pitch might get away.
Or it can be the actual discomfort of a pitch hitting a teammate — such as the one that hit Miguel Cabrera a few years ago.
“Pitchers don’t want to hit the hitters,” said Ausmus. “Hitters don’t want to get hit by the pitchers, either.”
So why go through the uncertainty of it all?
“It’s a necessary evil,” Ausmus said. “You have to do it because pitchers need to see a batter in the box.
“Plus it’s good for a hitter to at least see a ball coming out of the pitcher’s hand at that velocity.
“But it’s not a very comfortable situation — especially for veteran players. You try to figure something out.”
But there is no way around it.
“I wish you could rent hitters and have pitchers throw to them.”
Sometimes they come trickling in at this time of year. Sometimes they come in bunches.
On Monday, the Tigers announced a bunch of signings — six, in fact — to increase the number of signed players on their 40-man roster to 25.
Those signing included pitchers Casey Crosby and Jose Valdez, catcher Ramon Cabrera, infielders Jordan Lennerton and Eugenio Suarez, and outfielder Daniel Fields.
The Tigers will hold their annual tryout camp at the Tigertown complex in Lakeland on Monday, March 3 for players age 18-23 or those players with previous professional experience.
There is no registration fee.
The workout begins at 9 a.m. Resistration begins at 8 a.m. Those trying out must bring their own gloves, but bats, balls and helmets will be provided.
No back and forth
Now that’s he moved back to third base, Nick Castellanos is not a candidate for outfield time this spring.
Ausmus doesn’t anticipate using him in left for the purpose of him keeping in touch with the position.
“That’s not really being considered unless something changes,” the manager said.
This is not an update of how Justin Verlander threw in his latest session — because he did not throw on Monday.
The Tigers were glad, however, to find out that he came out of his first drills of the spring on Sunday without feeling any different.
“No tightness, nothing, from PFP (pitchers fielding practice),” said Ausmus. “Nothing has changed.”
And last ...
... but not least, will the Tigers have any intrasquad games at any point?
“Given my disdain,” said Ausmus, “for facing our own pitchers, I’d rather not have any.
“None are planned right now.”