Tigers spring camp, which annually beats anything the groundhog might say about winter’s end, is a scant three weeks away.
Invitations already have been sent to various newcomers who will report to the big-league clubhouse at Lakeland, Fla.
Gordon Beckham, who for years dueled against Detroit during his days with the White Sox, is getting a shot with the Tigers as manager Ron Gardenhire’s team sorts out its infield situation. Beckham signed a minor-league contract with Detroit.
Also invited to big-league camp are a trio of outfield prospects — Daz Cameron, Jacob Robson, and Danny Woodrow — as well as last year’s first-round draft pick, pitcher Casey Mize.
Tigers pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13 to the Tigertown complex, with a full squad workout set for Feb. 18.
Beckham, 32, has played in only 36 big-league games the past three seasons, working mostly in the minors with the Braves, Giants and Mariners.
He was a first-round draft pick by the White Sox in 2008 and played in 839 games for Chicago from 2009-2015.
He has a career batting average of .239, with 74 home runs and a .669 OPS.
Last season he worked in 94 games at Triple-A Tacoma and batted .302 with an .858 OPS. He walked 57 times as part of a .400 on-base average.
The Tigers have asked minor-league free agents as well as some select farm prospects to join their Lakeland tuneups.
The group includes pitchers Jose Cisnero, Louis Coleman, Kyle Funkhouser, Zac Houston, Eduardo Paredes, Chris Smith, and Paul Voelker, as well as Mize.
A typically full collection of catchers, necessary because of the surplus pitchers summoned in February, is also set: Brady Policelli, Jake Rogers, Hector Sanchez, Kade Scivicque, and Bobby Wilson will join Grayson Greiner and John Hicks, as will a group of infielders, in addition to Beckham: Harold Castro, Kody Eaves, and Pete Kozma.
The Tigers’ first preseason game is Feb. 22, against Southeastern University at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, while their first Grapefruit League game is Feb. 23 against the Blue Jays at Dunedin.
The regular season begins March 28 at Toronto, with Opening Day at Comerica Park set for April 4 against the Royals.