Dunedin, Fla. — It was another day of auditions for relievers trying to win one of two or possibly three open bullpen spots.
Right-hander Lendy Castillo, who has been one of the pleasant surprises this spring, pitched a scoreless 1⅔ innings. His fastball topped out at 96 with a clever array of breaking and off-speed pitches.
“He’s opened some eyes, for sure,” Ausmus said before the game. “He throws hard and his ball moves in both directions, plus it sinks.”
He’s allowed two runs in 7⅔ innings this spring.
For right-hander Bobby Parnell, though, it was another rough outing. His fastball was ringing 96 mph, but he walked two, gave up a single and wound up being charged with two runs in the sixth inning.
“In talking to him, he’s pressing too hard to throw strikes early,” Ausmus said. “He not just letting it go.”
Bruce Rondon, very much in the mix, pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out one.
Drew VerHagen, a veritable lock to be on the Opening Day roster, pitched a scoreless eighth.
Around the horn
Designated hitter Victor Martinez (strained left hamstring) took batting practice and did some light running back in Lakeland Thursday. There is still no timetable for him to get live at-bats.
... A report by MLB Network indicated the Tigers had attended a showcase for right-handed free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse. That may be true, but according to Ausmus, the Tigers haven’t discussed the possibility of signing him for several weeks. That doesn’t mean they won’t, it’s just not been on their radar recently.