Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Weather and a sloppy field forced the Tigers to cancel their open tryout both Monday and Tuesday, and yet, they still managed to unearth a former big-league utility man looking for one last opportunity.
The Tigers on Wednesday signed 29-year-old Taylor Motter to a minor-league contract.
Motter has played parts of three seasons with the Rays, Mariners and, last season, the Twins. He has played every position except catcher, even pitching in a couple of games. He has a career batting average of .191 with a .263 on-base percentage.
Motter joins a very crowded house of utility players at the Triple-A and Double-A levels. Just in big-league camp right now, not including Niko Goodrum, who is a virtual lock to the make the 25-man roster, are Brandon Dixon, Ronny Rodriguez, Gordon Beckham, Dustin Peterson, Harold Castro, Kody Eaves, Sergio Alcantara and Pete Kozma.
The Tigers also are planning on prospects like Josh Lester, Dawel Lugo, Isaac Paredes and Willi Castro to play regularly this season.
So, it’s not clear where Motter will begin his climb back. It’s conceivable he could start in extended spring training.
Robson shut down
Outfield prospect Jacob Robson continues to be held out of baseball activity. He has been dealing with a hip strain for several days.
“We’re just being proactive about it,” said Robson, who is ranked No. 18 on the Tigers prospect list by MLB Pipeline. “I just don’t want it to get worse. Ultimately, I don’t want it to bleed into the season, just want to iron it out now and hopefully it’ll be good.”
Robson, in his first big-league camp, is hitless in 10 at-bats this spring.
“I’ve been here long enough to where the staff and front office guys know who I am and the type of player I am,” Robson said. “Of course I’d like to be out there getting better, getting more reps against really good pitching.
“But health comes first. There is no point in pushing it now and making it worse.”
Perez making progress
It continues to be another frustrating spring, health-wise, for the Tigers No. 3-rated prospect pitcher Franklin Perez. After missing a couple of days with a stomach virus, he still hasn’t been back on the mound after experiencing a spasm in his right trapezius muscle.
“To be honest, it was just a precaution,” said Perez through Tigers interpreter Carlos Guillen. “I’m already back throwing, just trying to get ready for the games.”
On Tuesday, Perez long-tossed out to 120 feet, but no bullpen sessions have been scheduled. He has thrown one scoreless inning this spring.
“On Saturday (March 2) I just woke up and felt a little tightness,” he said. “I thinks it just a situation where it’s soreness because I haven’t been throwing in a long time. So right now, the thing I am doing is just stretching it out.”
Perez missed most of last season with a shoulder issue.
“We’re just being careful,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re slow-playing it; about as slow-playing it as you can get.”