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Tigers announce a round of roster cuts from spring camp

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They also added Jarrod Saltalamacchia to their catching depth.

MLB: Detroit Tigers-Media Day Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

With the regular season inching closer, spring camp is ramping up as players increase their workloads in preparation for a season that is now just three weeks away. The Detroit Tigers have begun the process of winnowing the roster down to the 25 players destined to head north with the club. Numerous reassignments were announced on Friday.

Right-handed pitchers Artie Lewicki and Zac Reininger have been optioned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Reininger was thought to be in the mix for one of the final spots in the bullpen, but a rocky spring sees him on his way to the Mud Hens for more seasoning. Lewicki provides a modest bit of depth for the starting rotation, and could also be in play for a middle relief role as the season progresses. The Tigers also reassigned second baseman Dawel Lugo to the Mud Hens earlier this week.

Starting pitching prospect Spencer Turnbull has been reassigned to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, along with reliever Gerson Moreno. Turnbull’s challenge this season is simply to stay healthy and continue to hone his command. He’s liable to see his first major league action this year if he’s able to make modest progress in the first half of the season. The hard-throwing Moreno impressed many in camp this spring, but needs refinement before getting his first cup of coffee. Still, he’s another big arm who is probably just a good stretch of baseball from consideration for his first call-up.

Finally, left-hander Gregory Soto, who was a consensus choice for Pitcher of the Year in the Tigers’ farm system last season, appears destined to stay in Lakeland a while. He was reassigned to the Lakeland Flying Tigers, and will look to get out to a good start in Advanced-A ball before getting the opportunity to make the jump to Erie.

Tigers getting Salty

The Tigers also added another potential backup catcher into the mix to compete with Derek Norris, John Hicks and Brayan Pena on Friday. Veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia showed up in camp on Friday as, apparently, another piece of catching depth. The 32-year-old catcher played for the Tigers in 2016, but struggled to produce at the plate after a hot start. The club confirmed a minor league deal with a non-roster invite to camp not long after beat writers were surprised to Saltalamacchia show up in Lakeland.

In 2017, he saw action with the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate, and saw brief action in the majors, but struggled mightily. It’s difficult to imagine him unseating even Derek Norris or John Hicks for a backup role, but the Tigers’ options are so poor it may be worth giving Saltalamacchia a look. To this point, the veteran catcher had been working out at the free agent spring camp in Bradenton, Florida, which closes on Friday.

Who’s left?

Leaving aside those seemingly assured a role on the major league roster, the Tigers still have numerous decisions to make on a host of players still vying for a job. The Tigers have 52 players in camp as of Friday, with Saltalamacchia included.

Note: Players with an asterisk are non-roster invitees

Starting Pitchers

RHP Michael Fulmer
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
LHP Daniel Norris
LHP Matthew Boyd
RHP Mike Fiers
LHP Francisco Liriano
RHP Buck Farmer
LHP Ryan Carpenter
RHP Sandy Baez
RHP Warwick Saupold

Relievers

RHP Shane Greene
RHP Alex Wilson
LHP Daniel Stumpf
RHP Drew VerHagen
LHP Blaine Hardy
RHP Kevin Comer*
RHP Mark Montgomery*
RHP Johnny Barbato
RHP Joe Jimenez
RHP Eduardo Jimenez
RHP Enrique Burgos*
LHP Chad Bell

Catchers

C James McCann
C Derek Norris*
C/1B John Hicks
C Jake Rogers*
C Grayson Greiner
C Brayan Pena*
C Arvicent Perez*
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia*

Infielders

1B Miguel Cabrera
3B Jeimer Candelario
SS Jose Iglesias
SS Dixon Machado
SS Sergio Alcantara
SS Pete Kozma*
2B Alexi Amarista*
IF Ronny Rodriguez*
IF Niko Goodrum*
1B Edwin Espinal*
1B Dominic Ficociello*
3B Kody Eaves*
2B Harold Castro*

Outfielders

OF Nicholas Castellanos
OF Mikie Mahtook
OF Leonys Martin
OF JaCoby Jones
OF Victor Reyes
OF Mike Gerber
OF Jason Krizan*
OF Jacob Robson
1B/OF Jim Adduci*
OF Chad Huffman*

Designated Hitter

DH Victor Martinez