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 Castellanos heads list of Tigers' 2012 Spring invites

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PostSubject: Castellanos heads list of Tigers' 2012 Spring invites   Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:49 pm

Castellanos heads list of Tigers' Spring invites
By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 01/10/12 12:44 PM EST

DETROIT -- Tigers top position prospect Nick Castellanos is heading to Spring Training with the big club. So are Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year Drew Smyly and most recent top pick James McCann.

It wasn't a lengthy list of non-roster invites the Tigers released for Spring Training on Tuesday -- just 18 players long -- but it's a significant one.

The Tigers have benefited from having young prospects in Major League camp in recent years, even if only for a short stretch, and they've shown a willingness to give their youngsters that experience a year or two before they're ready to compete for a spot in Detroit. Top prospect Jacob Turner has been in camp the last couple years under terms of his Major League contract, and Rick Porcello did the same before he won a rotation spot in 2009.

Castellanos had that experience in small doses last spring, having been added to the Spring Training roster as an extra player for a few different games. Now, the Tigers' 2010 top pick will get his chance to be there day in and day out, including for his 20th birthday on March 4.

Castellanos' first pro season was a strongly encouraging one after a rough opening month. The third baseman batted .312 at Class A West Michigan, to go with 36 doubles, seven home runs, 76 RBIs and an .803 OPS. He committed 23 errors over 129 games.

Unlike Castellanos, the Tigers drafted McCann out of college last year, having selected the 21-year-old after a successful career at the University of Arkansas. He signed in time to get in 14 games between the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Tigers and West Michigan, but this will essentially be his first pro season. He'll start it out in big league camp as one of the extra catchers Detroit brings in every year to help catch the many pitchers in camp as they progress through their side sessions.

McCann will join returning catcher Omir Santos as well as fellow prospects Bryan Holaday, Rob Brantley, Patrick Leyland and Curt Casali as the extra catchers in camp to support All-Star Alex Avila and backup Gerald Laird.

Smyly pitched to McCann during his career at Arkansas before the Tigers drafted him in the second round in 2010. His first pro season last year surprised many, combining about four months at Class A Lakeland with a season-ending promotion to Double-A Erie for an 11-6 record and 2.07 ERA. He struck out 130 batters over 126 innings while allowing just two home runs out of 103 base hits.

Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski has mentioned Smyly in recent days as a dark-horse candidate to compete for the open spot in Detroit's rotation, punching his ticket to spend Spring Training with the big club. He could end up being among the most intriguing players to watch in camp, whether he wins a job or not.

No other pitching prospects not on the 40-man roster were invited. Minor League free agent signings Darin Downs and Chris Bootcheck will join Smyly in camp.

Joining the trio in camp will be versatile hitter Justin Henry, who went from an infielder who can play the outfield in 2010 to an all-around everyday player who spent time at every defensive position last year except for pitcher and catcher. At the same time, he blossomed as a hitter, batting .314 with 26 doubles, 47 RBIs and 23 stolen bases between Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Henry joins Minor League signing Eric Patterson as potential super-utility options in camp. Other infielders receiving invites include middle infielder Argenis Diaz, utility infielder Audy Ciriaco and first baseman Ryan Strieby.

All three outfielders invited to camp were Minor League free-agent signings. Jerad Head brings his Triple-A power from the Indians organization, while Quintin Berry and Matt Young are potential speed options in Toledo.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Castellanos heads list of Tigers' 2012 Spring invites   Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:47 am

Nick Castellanos among 18 players invited to Tigers' major league camp
10:16 PM, Jan. 10, 2012
By John Lowe
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer

The Tigers gave another sign today of how fast third baseman Nick Castellanos might advance to the big leagues.

The club said Castellanos will open spring training in major league camp. Castellanos, the Tigers’ top hitting prospect, will turn 20 on March 4, the day of the Tigers’ first home exhibition game.

Castellanos delighted the organization last year at Class A West Michigan in his first full pro season. The right-handed-hitting third baseman batted .312 with seven home runs and 76 RBIs. During spring training, the club will decide whether he opens this season at Lakeland (high Class A) or Erie (Double-A).

Castellanos clearly has become the third baseman of the future. The Tigers don’t have another long-term candidate at that position.

If he has a chance to make next year’s team, he won’t have any first-time awe about camp. He can get right to work.

Without alluding to any possible timetable for Castellanos’ arrival in Detroit, general manager Dave Dombrowski said: “He is a very talented player. However, our main reason in inviting him is to give him exposure to the major league atmosphere in spring training.”

The Tigers have invited 17 other nonroster players to spring training. They include left-hander Drew Smyly (perhaps a candidate for the open rotation spot) and several catchers (to work with all the pitchers all over camp).

But the most interesting of the invitees to watch will be Castellanos. Last year, summoned from minor league camp, he received his first and only plate appearance in exhibition play. He flied out. This spring, he will be around until at least the first roster cut, and he might receive a lot more than one at-bat.

Tigers spring training opens Feb. 20, when pitchers and catchers report in Lakeland, Fla. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 24.

Here are the 18 nonroster players the club has invited to spring training, as announced this morning:

Right-handed pitcher: Chris Bootcheck.

Left-handed pitchers: Darin Downs, Drew Smyly.

Catchers:
Rob Brantly, Curt Casali, Bryan Holaday, Pat Leyland, James McCann, Omir Santos.

Infielders: Nick Castellanos, Audy Ciriaco, Argenis Diaz, Ryan Strieby.

Infielders/outfielders: Justin Henry, Eric Patterson.

Outfielders: Quintin Berry, Jerad Head, Matt Young.

Contact John Lowe: 313-223-4053 or jlowe@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @freeptigers.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Castellanos heads list of Tigers' 2012 Spring invites   Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:12 am

Tigers send pair of catchers to Minor League camp

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 03/04/2013 6:44 PM ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The first roster cuts of Tigers camp came early this year, but they were the same type of moves that have initially thinned out the roster each spring. Extra catchers Curt Casali and James McCann were reassigned to Minor League camp after Monday's win over the Astros.

Simply put, they weren't going to get enough playing time going forward to further their development before the season opens. They were in camp primarily to help catch the many pitchers in camp during early workouts before games began.

"This is much better for working purposes," manager Jim Leyland said.

Both will have Tuesday off before reporting to Minor League camp on Wednesday.

McCann was the Tigers' top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arkansas. The 22-year-old split last season between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, combining for a .237 average with 22 doubles, two home runs and 39 RBIs. He's expected to return to Erie for this season.

The 24-year-old Casali, a 10th-round pick in that same 2011 Draft out of Vanderbilt, split last season between West Michigan and Lakeland. Between the two levels, he hit .270 with 25 doubles, nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 94 games. Most likely, he'll return to Lakeland.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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