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Yoenis Cespedes flashes skills on offense, defense

The Detroit News
Yoenis Cespedes cranked a homer more than 400 feet Thursday against the Orioles.

Lakeland, Fla. -- Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, quietly, is having a strong spring.

"He runs hard all the time," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Whether he's running bases, running down the line or in the outfield. He runs hard. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played."

He also hits the ball hard. He blasted his third homer of the spring, hitting the first pitch he saw from Tommy Hunter more than 400 feet to left center Thursday in the Tigers' 6-4 win over the Orioles. The ball landed just to the left-field side of batter's eye in center field.

In addition, he made two superb athletic catches in left field. One was a line drive hit directly over his head that he leaped for and caught. The other was a ball that was slicing away from him down the line that he ran down.

Iglesias ready

Ausmus has checked off one injury concern off his list – shortstop Jose Iglesias.

"I am not, at this point, concerned about Iglesias," he said before the game. "He may need days off during the season but he is not on my overly-concerned list."

Iglesias, who missed last season with stress fractures in both legs, has played shortstop for three straight games. He will be off Friday, though he is expected to take swings in the minor league games.

Ausmus said he is also keeping an eye on Iglesias' tendency to hot-dog some plays at short.

"I want any player to be themselves and he has a lot of fun playing defense – he's got a lot of style to him, which is fine," he said. "But there is for each case a scenario where you've got to wipe a little bit of the mustard off it.

"But he's been fine so far."

Twitter@cmccosky