Detroit — Where, exactly, they will be stationed — and when — is still something the Tigers are mulling.

It has to do with that steady stream of new draft picks the Tigers are signing and distributing throughout their farm system.

Casey Mize, the first overall pick from this year's sweepstakes, signed Monday and is heading for the team's minor-league headquarters at Lakeland, Fla. He is expected to work among the 100 or so kids who are training on Tigertown's back fields or playing for a pair of Gulf Coast League rookie teams.

Whether he moves to Single-A Connecticut, or to Single-A West Michigan, for an early taste of higher-level professional games, the Tigers haven't yet decided. That was the word Tuesday from Dave Littlefield, the team's vice president of player development.

Littlefield said he would talk with general manager Al Avila, assistant GM David Chadd, and others who all would decide how soon, and where, the new recruits would be sent.

Kody Clemens, a left-handed-hitting second baseman and the Tigers' third-round pick,  also has signed and is expected to get acclimated at Lakeland before he is sent either to Connecticut or West Michigan.

Less clear is what happens with Parker Meadows, the Georgia prep and second-round pick who has also agreed to a contract ahead of results from a physical that will make the deal official.

Meadows almost certainly will work with the GCL teams, at least in the early weeks of a minor-league season that ends, formally, on Labor Day weekend.

Littlefield said early reviews were strong after one of the Tigers' best prospect pitchers, Franklin Perez, pitched two innings Monday in his first start of 2018. Perez had missed the previous 12 weeks with a torn LAT muscle.

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Perez allowed on hit, one run, and struck out two in two innings, with no walks in the GCL start.

Overall, the new draft crop, Littlefield said, had a different flavor from some past groups. It's consistent with what the Tigers' draft overseers, such as Scott Pleis, the director of amateur scouting, have said about the 2018 class.

 "Some good-looking kids," Littlefield said. "Big, strong, athletic guys."

Bullpen blues

Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire conceded there aren't a lot of great options these days. Starting pitchers either will get deeper into games than they've of late been pitching, or a bullpen that has its incendiary moments will sometimes blow up. 

You can't have relief pitchers compensating for innings starters need to work.

"It's constant," he said, "trying to figure out what we can do."

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Gardenhire mentioned another fact of life in a bullpen that Monday saw two of its better representatives, Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene, get slapped for four runs in the final two innings of a 5-4 A's victory.

"We don't have a left-hander," said Gardenhire, who is dealing with Daniel Stumpf's hiatus on the disabled list, as well as with a practical matter: Blaine Hardy has been one of the team's best and most consistent starters rather than the bullpen option he had been in previous seasons.

It was why Gardenhire all but prayed Tuesday that Hardy might hang in for at least six strong innings on behalf of a team that had lost its last six games.