Prior to Tuesday's spring training game, the Tigers announced that they optioned center fielder Wynton Bernard to Triple-A Toledo. This move, combined with today's lineup against Toronto consisting of Tyler Collins in center field, gives us a clearer picture of who we can expect to see on the 25-man roster. With today's news, it's safe to assume that Collins will make the opening day roster and serve as Anthony Gose's backup while Cameron Maybin recovers from a fractured wrist.
After an underwhelming spring where Bernard hit .212/.257/.212, he will see plenty of playing time as the primary center fielder for the Mud Hens. When Maybin went down with his injury, Bernard was immediately thrust into the conversation to take over in Maybin's absence. However, Bernard was never able to get into the swing of things.
Collins, on the other hand, has had an extremely productive spring at the plate. With an OPS of 1.048 coming into Tuesday, he is getting on base and hitting for power, leading the Grapefruit League with five triples.
On defense, Bernard is considered to be a rangy center fielder, while Collins is best reserved for the corners. Still, with Gose assured to get the majority, if not all, of the starts while Maybin is on the disabled list, Collins presents a legitimate left handed bat to pinch hit in a heavy right handed lineup.
On another slightly related note, the lineup for today's game looks to be what we will see on Opening Day. With the return of Victor Martinez to the cleanup spot, the lineup looks to be set. The only exception here is that Anthony Gose will most likely start over Tyler Collins.
#Tigers lineup vs. TOR:— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) March 29, 2016
V. Martinez DH
J. Martinez RF
Whether or not Victor Martinez stays in the cleanup position will depend on his productivity, which will depend on his health, which really hasn't been all that dependable lately. Still, with all things seemingly normal, this is what is to be expected to be rolled out next Tuesday against the Marlins.