Tigertown tidbits: Cabrera gets day away from treadmill
Lakeland, Fla. — Some news bits from a slow-ish Friday at Tigertown.
■ Alex Avila did not participate in any drill work Friday. Manager Brad Ausmus said he's dealing with back tightness.
"It happened last year in Chicago," Ausmus said. "It tightened up and he missed a couple games.
Ausmus didn't think it was a serious concern. He termed Avila's availability day to day.
In other injury news, the Tigers gave Miguel Cabrera a day off from the AlterG (anti-gravity) treadmill.
"Today was more of a rest day based on how he felt," Ausmus said. "(The surgically repaired foot and ankle) was a little cranky today. Nothing major. He felt it was a little cranky, so (trainer) Kevin Rand decided to just give it a day."
Cabrera did some weight lifting and he threw outside.
"I talked to him and he's not concerned about it," Ausmus said. "But it's a little sore, so why push it?"
■ Left-handed reliever Ian Krol, in a fierce fight to win a roster spot, has a new weapon in his arsenal.
He is in the process of adding a cutter to his hard-throwing repertoire. He debuted it against hitters in batting practice Thursday and Tyler Collins, especially, was impressed by it.
Krol said he learned the cutter grip from righty Alex Wilson.
■ Ausmus was asked what he's seen of lefty reliever Tom Gorzelanny.
"I haven't seen him much yet, but I faced him so I know what he throws," he said.
To his credit, Ausmus didn't go any further until a reporter, knowingly, asked how he fared against Gorzelanny.
"It's well documented," he said.
Ausmus went 4 for 8 with two doubles and five RBIs against him.
"If I faced him now, he'd get me out every time," he said.
■ Jose Iglesias will most likely make his exhibition debut at shortstop Tuesday, though there is a chance Ausmus might use him as the designated hitter on Monday.
"He won't be out there long," Ausmus said. "But he is full-go."
Iglesias was busy Friday.
"He ran bases today, then he took grounders, did the fundamental and he hit," Ausmus said. "When he got done hitting, I sent him inside. I didn't want him standing out in the outfield shagging.
"I don't want to say that's going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back, but any little bit of time we can get him off his feet early helps. I sent him in about 10 minutes early."
Iglesias missed last season with stress fractures in both legs.
■ Hernan Perez, battling to be the Tigers' super utility player this season, looks like he's built up his upper body over the offseason, but that may not translate into hitting with more power.
"I think he'll be able to hit the gaps, but I don't know that I would ever predict that he'd be a power hitter," Ausmus said. "But he can get stronger."
If Perez could add a dimension of power, of course, it would be a boon for the Tigers, who lack a run-producing bat off the bench.
"If I were looking at him and scouting him, I don't know that I'd ever say he'd be a power hitter," Ausmus said. "But he can be a good baseball player."
■ On the opposite end of that spectrum, Ausmus said he could see catcher James McCann finding his power stroke sooner than later.
"It wouldn't shock me if he started hitting with more power," he said. "Sometimes power comes last. Especially if you are young and learning how to hit. Once you grasp how to hit, the power comes later. He certainly has the frame to hit the ball farther."
McCann is another player that looks noticeably bigger and stronger than last year.
"It's not uncommon for player to look bigger at this time of year," Ausmus said. "Because they've been doing nothing but lifting weights in the offseason."
■ Ausmus has been answering a lot of questions about players who had second-half slides last season — Ian Kinsler, Blaine Hardy, Joba Chamberlain, etc. It's not his favorite.
"It kind of irks me a little bit when people want to split players' seasons up," he said. "Say Player X had a good year, but he really struggled in the second half. Well, he still had a good year. Guys are going to struggle at some point in the season and it's probably more likely they'll struggle in the second half because they tire.
"You can't discount what they did in the first half. Those games are just as important to win as they are in the second half."
Ausmus said the opposite complaint doesn't hold water either.
"You hear it the other way, too," he said. "Pitcher X struggled, but he finished strong. Yeah? So?"
■ Joel Hanrahan was and still is the Tigers ragball champion for 2015. He won the team competition the day before Joba Chamberlain re-signed with the club. Chamberlain won the title last year and demanded (playfully) a chance to defend his crown.
Hanrahan obliged and, despite some pretty hilarious distraction attempts by Chamberlain, beat him.
"He cheated," Chamberlain said, laughing. "It's under protest."
To which Ausmus said, "That protest isn't going anywhere."
Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky