Relay throw highlights Castellanos' progress in right field

By Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Tigers starter Francisco Liriano is visited on the mound by pitching coach Rick Anderson in the fourth inning.

Toronto — This seemed fitting, geographically speaking.

It was in Toronto last September that Nick Castellanos officially moved from third base to right field.

It was a move that, at the time, seemed unnatural, even if Castellanos had played the outfield for nearly two seasons in the minors.

But it was no disaster. Castellanos made all the plays that weekend. He made plays the remainder of the season. And he has done the same in 2018.

Friday night at Rogers Centre, where the Tigers lost to the Blue Jays, 3-2, for a 10th straight tumble, Castellanos showed a heavier caliber arm than perhaps has been on display in the 10 months since he relocated.

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 It happened in the fourth inning after Randal Grichuk led off with a single and decided it would be safe strategy to sprint into third following Yangervis Solarte's one-out single.

Castellanos had other thoughts.

He charged Solarte's ball, gloved it, and deftly whistled a clothes-line throw to Jeimer Candelario at third.

Grichuk was dead on arrival.

"Man, that first step to the ball was awesome," Candelario said. "Then he makes a good, good, good throw."

Castellanos was asked afterward if any particular regimen had turned his arm noticeably stronger.

"I think it's just from elongating my arm," he said. "It plays a little longer now."

Castellanos had more than a few critics cringing when he shifted last year from his old perch at third base to right field.

Now, it seems like the most natural of all defensive job-swaps.

"It feels good every time a good play happens," Castellanos said. "I take pride in becoming a good right fielder."

Liriano passes

He wasn't always sharp, but he often was good, quite good, Friday night against the Jays.

Francisco Liriano remains one of those Tigers players who could warrant a phone call or two from an inquiring general manager during the coming month's trade talks.

He was in and out, as Liriano often can be: a four-pitch first inning, a 24-pitch second, a 10-pitch third, a five-hit, two walk, fourth when the Jays scored all three of their runs.

"He gave us a great opportunity," said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, who acknowledged that a pitcher making only his second start after a long stretch on the disabled list had reason to have a choppy inning or two.

The Tigers bullpen was satisfactory. Buck Farmer threw 29 pitches but put together a scoreless seventh. Louis Coleman threw a no-hit eighth, with a strikeout and a walk.  


Tigers vs. Blue Jays

First pitch: 1:07 Saturday, Rogers Centre, Toronto

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Scouting report

LHP Matthew Boyd (4-6, 4.15), Tigers: Couple of rough days at the office of late, which the Tigers expect will reverse in relatively short order. Boyd needs that secondary stuff to gyrate as it was earlier.

RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-2, 3.98), Blue Jays: He's a sinker-slider chucker who can be a mess for a team in a losing streak. In other words, if you've been off-balance, this isn't the guy to face.