Lakeland, Fla. — The Tigers sent five more players to minor league camp Wednesday morning.
Right-handed pitcher Myles Jaye, who was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in three spring appearances, was optioned to Triple A Toledo. He is expected to be in the Mud Hens' starting rotation this season.
“He didn’t really have that much time,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “This was his first big-league camp and he’s not in midseason form, either. Hopefully it was a positive experience for him and he goes down, gets more innings and has a good season.”
Optioned to minor-league camp were catchers Austin Green and Grayson Greiner, plus outfielder Jason Krizan and Mike Gerber.
The Tigers need to decide where the two catchers are going to start the season. John Hicks is expected to start at Triple A Toledo. Miguel Gonzalez, who is having a strong camp, may also start the season there. Both Greiner and Green have had Double A experience and are primed to move up.
“Greiner just needs to gain experience and get at-bats,” Ausmus said. “Gain experience behind the plate working with pitchers. I like the way he receives. For a big guy, he receives well, he moves well, he throws well and his bat has come around this last year.
“But the most important thing is going to be learning to work with pitchers, understand how to get hitters out and help pitchers get through games.”
Ausmus said the same for Green, who is 27. Good arm, strong physically, but needs to get better at calling games and handling pitchers.
“I talked to him; he’s been in Double A for a couple years and he needs to take that next step,” Ausmus said. “And that’s handling the game from the catcher’s box.”
Krizan, 4 for 11 with a home run this spring, and Gerber (1 for 18) are also on the fence between Double-A and Triple-A.
The Tigers have 54 players in camp.
Andrew Romine started the game Wednesday at first base. He later moved to shortstop for a few innings. Then, he finished the game in left field.
Just another day for the baseball version of a Swiss Army knife.
Oh, and he also contributed a two-run home run and a 400-foot sacrifice fly.
“He’s swinging the bat as well as anyone in camp,” Ausmus said.
The fact that he got reps in left field is significant, too. The Tigers could be considering him as a possible fourth outfielder. On Tuesday, Ausmus indicated that there have been organizational discussions about Romine being a semi-regular in center field.
“It’s been discussed with the idea that, with defense being a premium (in center field), and if we think he’s our best or one of our best center fielders, then it’s been discussed about him playing there on a regular basis,” Ausmus reiterated after the game Wednesday.
Romine’s main value to the team has been his versatility, his ability to play multiple positions at a high level. But Ausmus said that wouldn’t necessarily be compromised if he played more regularly.
“If he’s in the game, you couldn’t pinch-run him, but you can still move him anywhere else,” he said. “You would just miss that ability to pinch-run him late in a game.”
Around the horn
Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson seem to be rounding into form. Both threw scoreless innings against the Braves. Wilson walked two but he struck out the side.
Lowe, who has allowed runs in just one of his seven outings, retired the Braves in order with a strikeout.
… Mikie Mahtook, who came in 3 for 30 this spring with no extra-base hits, slapped an RBI triple off the chalk down the right field line off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey.
…Twice this season, Nick Castellanos has stretched singles into doubles. On Wednesday, he got caught. Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna gunned him down at second in the third inning.