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Tigers in no rush to add another center fielder

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. – Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Tigers to sign or acquire another center fielder.

Cameron Maybin is expected to be out four to six weeks with a non-displaced, hairline fracture in his left wrist and other than Wynton Bernard, who played in Double A last season, there is no other true center fielder other than Anthony Gose in camp. 

Not a cause for overreaction, manager Brad Ausmus said.

“The guy is out four to six weeks,” Ausmus said Friday. “In four weeks the season won’t even have started. I said yesterday that Al (Avila, general manager) would do whatever he thinks is necessary to help the team. But I don’t think going to get a center fielder is something we’d even consider at this point.

“Then all of a sudden you have three center fielders in the middle of April.”

In the meantime, it is likely that Tyler Collins will get some extended playing time in center field. He has played primarily corner outfield in his time in the big leagues, but he’s played a lot of center field in the minor leagues.

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“What do you have to do, run after fly balls? That’s it,” Collins said. “I actually like it from that aspect — there’s more space. You don’t have to worry about anything or anyone. You’re the leader out there and you have priority over everybody else.

“It’s easier almost.”

Going home

Jordan Zimmermann will make his Tigers spring debut Saturday against his old mates the Nationals at his old stomping grounds in Viera. 

“It’ll be fun,” he said. “I am sure they’ll be up there hacking. It’ll be good to go over there and see those guys again and get them out for the first time.”

Zimmermann spent the first seven years of his career with the Nationals. The only time he’d been in the visitor’s clubhouse was on photo day, which they set up as the studio.

“I am sure it will be fun to face Ryan (Zimmerman), Jayson Werth, Bryce (Harper), all those guys,” he said. “I don’t know who all will be in the lineup, but we’ll see.”

Around the horn

Another Tigers player stricken with an illness: The Tigers sent pitcher Anibal Sanchez home Friday — to his home in Orlando, not Venezuela, as Ausmus humorously pointed out — because of a bronchial infection. He was scheduled to throw his first bullpen since Feb. 22. That is now on hold for at least a couple of days. “He sounded terrible,” Ausmus said.

… Reliever Alex Wilson said he still felt some tightness in his right shoulder after a light toss on Thursday. “We told him not to pick up a ball for another two days,” Ausmus said.

… Closer Francisco Rodriguez was scheduled to throw his second bullpen of the spring on the back fields Friday. He threw his first on Wednesday. There is no timeframe for his first game action. “He’s done this many times and he knows what he needs to do to get ready,” Ausmus said. “We are kind of letting him steer his own ship right now.”

… Left-hander Matt Boyd will make his second spring start on Sunday against the Marlins. Mike Pelfrey will start Monday against his former team the Mets in Port St. Lucie.