Lakeland, Fla. – Right-hander Jose Valdez, who pitched in seven games for the Tigers last season, was among nine players cut Monday morning.
Valdez, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo, has an upper-90s fastball and struck out 11 hitters in 6.1 innings this spring. But he also was hit around a fair bit – 12 hits and five runs.
Eight players were optioned to the minor league camp: right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet, left-hander Drake Britton, catcher Miguel Gonzalez, infielders Dominic Ficociello, Tommy Field and JaCoby Jones, and outfielders Mike Gerber and Jason Krizan.
Several of those players made a positive impression.
“There were some guys that we heard about or seen a little bit of that impressed us,” manager Brad Ausmus said.
Gerber and Ficociello were two that he mentioned. Gerber hit .313 with a 1.103 OPS, including a home run off Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Ficociello hit .250 but hit the ball hard throughout the camp. He had the game-winning hit against the Nationals on Sunday.
“We saw Ficociello a little bit last spring,” Ausmus said. “He’s got some life in his bat.”
Jones also impressed, hitting .313 with a 1.026 OPS.
All three of those players are likely ticketed for Double-A Erie.
The Tigers have 43 players still in camp.