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Watch Tigers prospect Riley Greene homer in his spring training debut

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Greene also walked twice and made a great defensive play.

First round pick Riley Greene made his spring training debut with the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, and could not have looked more impressive. The 19-year-old, who made it all the way up to Single-A West Michigan in his professional debut last summer, walked twice and hit a home run in the Tigers’ 8-4 split-squad victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While I’m sure the walks displayed a keen eye and good plate discipline, let’s watch Greene go boom.

Greene also showed off his defensive chops when he made a nice running catch in deep right field late in the game.

Other stuff from the Pirates game:

  • Casey Mize struggled in his lone inning, allowing three hits, two runs, and a walk before even recording an out. He was eventually able to retire the side — he retired big leaguers Colin Moran and Gregory Polanco along the way — but did not appear to be terribly sharp.
  • Righthander Alex Faedo fared a little better, retiring five hitters while allowing just two hits. He did well to work around a one-out triple in the fourth, and struck out two hitters in his 1 23 innings.
  • Outfielder Derek Hill hit an opposite field home run in the fifth, his first of the spring. He added a second hit later on, and scored twice. Hill struggled with injuries earlier in his career, but had a promising season with Double-A Erie last year. If he can continue to hit for power and get on base at a reasonable clip, he could have a future in Detroit.

The Tigers beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 in their other split-squad game.

Detroit jumped on Braves starter Bryse Wilson for two runs in the first, both of which came via a Jordy Mercer RBI single. Kody Clemens drove in a run on a groundout in the third, and Brady Policelli drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth. Shortstop Cole Peterson rounded out the Tigers’ scoring with an RBI single in the ninth.

The highlight of the game was Matt Manning’s 2020 debut. Manning allowed a hit and an unearned run, but generated plenty of weak contact against the heart of the Braves’ lineup. Ronald Acuna reached base on a throwing error from Harold Castro, who was playing shortstop (Jordy Mercer playing first base didn’t help), and pinch runner Shane Robinson stole second base when Castro was unable to field a throw from catcher Eric Haase. Robinson moved to third when Ozzie Albies’ single barely snuck through the hole between short and third, and then scored on a fly ball to center off the bat of Freddie Freeman. Manning’s second inning went smoothly once his defense started to cooperate.

In other prospect news, Daz Cameron went 1-for-2 while playing right field. Kody Clemens was 1-for-3 with the aforementioned RBI. He also scored a run after hitting a one-out single in the first. Outfielder Jose Azocar also singled and scored a run. Ulrich Bojarski made an appearance, but struck out in his only at-bat.

Other quick observations that don’t fit anywhere else:

  • Victor Reyes looked much more comfortable and confident in center field. He made a nice catch in deep center with the sun in his eyes earlier in the game, and looked assertive when calling off a couple of other Tigers defenders when fielding a shallow fly ball later in the game. How rangy he ultimately is remains to be seen, but this was a solid game for him.
  • The rest of the Tigers’ defense was a mess, committing four errors on the day. Dawel Lugo whiffed on what looked to be a routine chopper from Acuña in the first, and we already mentioned Castro’s errant throw in the third. Gregory Soto committed an error of his own when on the mound in the seventh, and the normally sure-handed Cole Peterson committed an error of little consequence in the ninth.
  • Dario Agrazal looked good in his two innings of work, allowing just a single. He also snared a sharp comebacker for an out.

With the victories, the Tigers are now 3-0-1 against all competition this spring, and still undefeated in 2020.