Lakeland, Fla. — Don't try telling Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins this is a big spring for him. He's not getting caught up in that.
"Every year is a big year," he said. "It's just baseball. That's all I can control. Just go out and play the game that I love."
The Tigers would love for Collins to seize the fifth outfielder role. He would provide a much needed left-handed bat with some power off the bench, plus he's got some speed and is athletic enough to play all three outfield positions.
But as always, it becomes a numbers game with the 25-man roster. The Tigers could elect to keep an additional infielder (either Andrew Romine or Hernan Perez, who could be a fill-in outfielder, as well), or perhaps a third catcher.
"I can't think about that, I can't," he said. "It's just as simple as it sounds. Just control what you can control and play the game hard. Everything else is out of my hands."
Collins made the team out of spring training last year, but scuffled in six scattered appearances through April. Then J.D. Martinez emerged and Collins was sent to Toledo. He was called up in September.
"That got me comfortable," he said. "But it's just baseball. Nothing changes."