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Tigers trim spring training roster

Eight players have been assigned with one being released from the Detroit Tigers organization.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT--Wednesday marked the first round of cuts for the Detroit Tigers who assigned eight players down to the minors. The Tigers also unconditionally released one player, right handed pitcher Luis Marte to free agency.

Marte was a non-roster invitee to spring training and missed all of last year due to shoulder surgery. During his 2012 season he had a 2.82 ERA and with a career 2.77 ERA in 17 games with the Tigers.

Manager Brad Ausmus told reporters he didn't believe it was fair to hold Marte any longer because he wasn't going to make the major league team. Ausmus believes that by releasing Marte it gives him the chance to grow elsewhere.

The eight players being assigned to minor league camp are left-handed pitchers Robbie Ray and Duane Below, right-hander Drew VerHagen and catcher James McCann.

Left-handed pitcher Casey Crosby and righty Melvin Mercedes were optioned to Triple-A Toledo while right-handed pitcher Jose Valdez and catcher Ramon Cabrera were sent to Double-A Erie.

Originally reported by the Detroit Free Press' Anthony Fenech, Ausmus said of Ray: "He’s one of the few guys that has kind of a swing and miss fastball that plays up a couple miles an hour on the radar gun."

Ausmus went on to say that Ray's fastball is good to go at the major league level and just needs to work on his secondary pitches at this point. The faster Ray can command his other pitches, the sooner he will make an appearance in Detroit.