LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers have put on their share of power displays during batting practice this spring. Brennan Boesch became the first casualty of one.
Boesch was scratched from Wednesday's Tigers starting lineup against the Mets with what was characterized as general soreness. But manager Jim Leyland's explanation of it was simple enough.
"He hit one up over the scoreboard [in batting practice] and just felt a little tweak," Leyland said Wednesday after the Tigers' 7-6 win over the Mets. "He's fine. He's just a little sore. I just didn't want to take any chances ... He'll probably be ready to play tomorrow."
Trying to keep up with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in BP might do that.
Leyland's explanation did enough to calm some nerves that grew out of the general soreness terminology, not to mention Boesch's early exit a couple days ago. Boesch said Monday afternoon that he was fine, and that he was a healthy exit early on that game.
That said, it's still something worth following. Boesch left the ballpark Wednesday before the clubhouse reopened.
With the game schedule in full swing, the Tigers are taking batting practice in the main stadium, not on the back fields. The timing of the gates opening means they have a crowd filing in around the tail end of batting practice. For those who feed off crowd reaction, it's a delight.
"They're bombing them," Leyland said. "People get in here around the time they're taking that last round [of swings]. He just felt a little twinge, and I got nervous about it. But he's fine."
Leyland did say later, though, that Boesch has been dealing with soreness in his lower back.
Between Wednesday's scratch, Monday's early exit and Sunday's rainout, Boesch has had one plate appearance over the last four days, and four plate appearances in six days. It isn't the ideal way to build up at-bats, though the Tigers have just under three weeks of Grapefruit League games left before they head north.
Schlereth works on curveball in outing
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Daniel Schlereth is still a fastball-curveball reliever, but he's working on making his curveball into two different pitches. So far, it's paying off.
With the Tigers in a draw with the Mets heading into the late innings, Schlereth entered in the ninth counting on an inning of work. He ended up pitching well enough that he got a surprise when he was called on to pitch the 10th as well. Except for a walk, he had a perfect outing with two strikeouts, adding to what might be his best spring since coming over to Detroit in the Edwin Jackson trade.
The young lefty now has 5 2/3 innings of one-hit, one-run ball. Just as impressive, he has struck out eight batters against just two walks. It's Spring Training, of course, but the results are encouraging.
Several of those strikeouts have come by mixing his curveballs.
"I take a little bit off early in the count, take a few miles an hour off the breaking ball," Schlereth said, "and I think it helps me in the end when I want to bury it. It's hard for guys to lay off when they see it for a strike, and then you come back with it harder. More often than not, I get swings and misses [with it].
"That's the big thing for me, throwing strikes early in the count."
Tigers hope Worth returns soon
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers were again without the services of infielder Danny Worth, who missed his sixth straight game with soreness around his right oblique and lower back. But they're hoping to get him back into some action soon.
Worth said before Wednesday's game against the Mets that he was feeling better and was hoping to test out his back in pregame batting practice and infield work.
"He still felt it a little bit [in batting practice]," manager Jim Leyland said, "but he was better."
Whenever Worth does return, he'll be trying to grab some at-bats, though it seemingly makes the Tigers' roster decisions a bit easier. Brandon Inge has gotten a steady diet of playing time at second base alongside Ryan Raburn, while Ramon Santiago has been Jhonny Peralta's main substitute at shortstop before playing an entire game at short on Wednesday. Meanwhile, non-roster infielder Audy Ciriaco has been taking Miguel Cabrera's place for the later innings in recent days.
Crosby bounces back after rough inning
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Casey Crosby's first few batters Wednesday spelled trouble. His recovery after that made a much better impression on Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Crosby, one of the Tigers' dark-horse contestants for the fifth-starter job, entered Wednesday for a lefty specialist type of appearance once Max Scherzer hit his pitch limit in the third inning. The Mets had the bases loaded with three consecutive left-handed hitters coming up. All three reached base safely -- Mike Baxter on an infield single, then Josh Thole and Adam Loewen on back-to-back bases-loaded walks.
It took a runner getting thrown out at the plate for Crosby to get out of that third inning. But Leyland left Crosby in to get his innings after that. Once Crosby took the mound for the fourth, he settled in to retire six of New York's next seven batters, with only one ball getting out of the infield.
"I thought he really threw the ball," Leyland said. "He came back throwing strikes pretty good. He caught a little bit of a tough break there, but I was impressed ...
"I think after the [infield single] he got a little frustrated and took time to get settled back in. He's really got good stuff. I like him a lot."
• With Boesch scratched from the lineup Wednesday, Matt Young got his second start in four days, this time in right field. He went 0-for-4.
• Leyland raves about non-roster invite Quintin Berry's speed, saying "his legs can cause problems for a lot of people." However, Berry's big damage so far is his bat. His hot spring continued with a walk-off hit in the 10th inning to cap a two-hit game and raise his average to .438.
• With starter Max Scherzer having hit his pitch count earlier than expected, big right-handed relief prospect Bruce Rondon ended up making his Grapefruit League debut by pitching the eighth. The highly-touted Venezuelan hit 100 mph on the Joker Marchant Stadium radar gun, but walked three of the four Mets hitters he faced before giving way to Brayan Villarreal. "He's got a big arm," Leyland said.