Schierholtz maintaining focus as roster cuts loom

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Non-roster invitee Nate Schierholtz

Lakeland, Fla. — Sometime next week the Tigers have to decide whether they want to keep non-roster invitees Casey McGehee and Bobby Parnell in camp until the end of spring training.

If they do, it will cost them a $100,000 retention bonus for each player.

No such decision is required for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who will have the right to opt-out of his contract with the Tigers at some point if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster.

“I’m not thinking about any of that right now,” Schierholtz said Friday morning. “All I can control is playing well, being consistent and showing what I can do. As for anything else, I haven’t really thought about it.

“I will cross those bridges when I come to them.”

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Still, he sees the reports. The Indians are looking for outfield help. The Orioles are, too. The Phillies have gone back and forth about seeking another veteran outfielder. Given that his chances of winning a spot with the Tigers are slim, you’d expect he would keep his eyes on the want ads.

“I pay attention to what is going on, but I don’t analyze things too much,” he said. “I signed with the Detroit Tigers to play for the Tigers. That’s my main focus right now.”

Schierholtz, 32 with eight big-league seasons under his belt, spent last season in Japan. He signed with the Tigers thinking he’d be able to fight for what looked to be an open left field spot.

A month or so after he signed, the Tigers signed Justin Upton to a $132.75 million deal. You’d expect that to sour Schierholtz on the Tigers. It did not.

“It changed things (his situation), but as I keep saying, it’s out of my control,” he said. “All I can do is focus on what I can control and try to make a positive impact…I’ve had a positive feeling about this camp and about the organization.”

He’s having a good spring, hitting .276 with two homers, two doubles and a triple. But as it stands now, he seems to be ticketed for Triple A Toledo. He’s a corner outfielder with no experience in center, so his status was not impacted by Maybin’s wrist injury.

He’s not sweating that.

“I enjoy being back playing baseball in the United States,” he said. “Every day is a special day being able to go out on that field and play this game. My goal was to treat every day like it was my last and have fun.”

Twitter @cmccosky