Innings at premium as pitchers fight for roster spots

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Pitcher Buck Farmer will start against the Yankees Monday.

With only six spring games left, the Tigers are scrambling a bit to get enough innings to settle some of roster battles (fifth starter, last two bullpen spots) and get the final work in for their starting pitchers.

As a result, Jordan Zimmermann will pitch a minor-league game Monday, while Buck Farmer starts against the Yankees.

"Sometimes we do it because the guys we throw on the big-league side are competing for jobs and we want to see them against big-league hitters,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It could also be because we’re playing a team that we play early in the season and that pitcher might be pitching against them.”

That’s true both ways Monday. Farmer is in the hunt for a roster spot and Zimmermann’s debut will be Opening Day at Comerica Park against the Yankees April 8.

Pelfrey’s sinker doesn’t dip in Tigers’ loss

Justin Verlander will make his final spring start on the minor-league side on Thursday while Anibal Sanchez starts against the Yankees.

Left-hander Matt Boyd starts Tuesday and Shane Greene on Wednesday.

Injury updates

Designated hitter Victor Martinez (left hamstring strain), went 3-for-4 in his second game on the minor-league fields. He batted right-handed all four times and got three singles.

He is expected to get five minor-league at-bats Monday and if all goes well, he could rejoin the big-league club Tuesday.

Right-hander Alex Wilson, who will start the season on the DL with a lat strain, threw to hitters for the first time this spring. He threw 26 pitches of live batting practice to Anthony Gose, Wynton Bernard, Andrew Romine and Raffy Lopez. He struck out three and allowed two hits.

“Everything went well,” Wilson said.

His next outing will either be another simulated game or a live game.

Around the horn

The Tigers sent infielder-outfielder John Mayberry Jr., and Lopez to the minor league camp after the game Sunday.

… James McCann is having a productive spring. He had a double and a two-run homer (his third) Sunday and is now hitting .351. Seven of his 13 hits are for extra bases.

Twitter @cmccosky