Tigers invite 17 players to spring training, including Don Kelly and Nick Castellanos

Jason Miller

You know spring training is just around the corner when the Tigers announce their non-roster invitees.

The Detroit Tigers have announced the 17 non-roster invitees who will be in Lakeland for spring training. Some names of which you are quite familiar, a few are young prospects we are quite eager to see in action and others are warm bodies needed for workouts.

The 17 invitees:

Right-handed pitchers: Trevor Bell, Shawn Hill, Michael Morrison

Left-handed pitchers: Jose Alvarez, Kenny Faulk, Ryan Robowski

Catchers: Curt Casali, Brad Davis, James McCann

Infielders: Argenis Diaz, Eugenio Suarez

Infielders/outfielders: Nick Castellanos, Don Kelly, Kevin Russo, Matt Tuiasosopo

Outfielders: Tyler Collins, Daniel Fields

Obviously, the most intriguing name is the 20 year old right-hand hitting Castellanos, the Tigers' consensus number one prospect. His 2012 season was Jekyll and Hyde to the extreme. Castellanos hit .404 and slugged .553 in 55 games at Single A Lakeland, but tailed off to .265 with a .296 OBP when promoted to Double A Erie. Though his struggles in Double A may have been exacerbated by learning to play a new position, right field.

Other names of interest:

Tyler Collins, a 22 year old left-hand hitting outfielder with speed, who hit .290 with 20 stolen bases in Single A Lakeland in 2012.

Daniel Fields, a player whose stock has dropped over the past couple of seasons. The 21 year old right-hand hitting outfielder is coming off a season split between Lakeland and Erie, hitting .266 with 23 stolen bases combined in the two stops.

James McCann, the the team's second round (76th overall) selection in the 2011 draft and top catching prospect. Like Castellanos and Fields, McCann split the 2012 season between Lakeland (.288 BA) and Erie (.200 BA).

Matt Tuiasosopo, a 26 year old utility man who spent parts of three seasons with the Mariners, posting a line of .176/.234 /306 in 71 big league games. He was signed as a minor-league free agent this past November.

And of course, utility man Don Kelly.

Jason Beck reports Kelly has signed a minor-league deal with an opt-out clause. The 32 year old utility man had turned down other offers in order to return to the Tigers, but can ask for his release if he’s not on the 25-man roster coming out of spring training. We can expect to see quite a bit of Kelly early on in the spring due to the possibility of a few Tigers, including Miguel Cabrera, playing in the World Baseball Classic.

The Tigers also announced which staff members will be working with the team this spring.

In alphabetical order:

Kevin Bradshaw, Jeff Cox, Manny Crespo, Chris Cron, Bill Dancy, Joe DePastino, Leon "Bull" Durham, Bruce Fields, Jaime Garcia, Phil Nevin, Al Nipper, Dave Owen, Gerald Perry, Brian Peterson, Gene Roof and A.J. Sager.

Some things never change, which is good. In this case, it means both Willie Horton and Al Kaline will be back in uniform this spring.

Also assisting the MLB staff are Corey Tremble, Matt Rankin and Chris McDonald. Chris Walter, Steve Chase, Kyle Bergman and Fred Murphy will work with the Tigers strength and conditioning coordinator Javair Gillett.

Most interesting of all the above names is Jeff Cox, who joins the Tigers organization in a new position of base-running consultant. The Tigers must have realized if you can't run the bases fast, you should at least run them smartly.

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