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 Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees for 2013

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PostSubject: Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees for 2013   Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:03 pm

Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 01/16/13 3:00 PM ET

DETROIT -- The list of Tigers non-roster invites to Spring Training released Wednesday had so many familiar names, it was easy to miss the new addition. But then, Don Kelly is about as familiar in Detroit as some superstars.

When the Tigers were leaving Comerica Park after being swept out of the World Series, Kelly looked like a goner, having been told by team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski that he'd be taken off the 40-man roster. Three months later, he's back, having signed a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite.

In the end, Kelly looked around and found some enticing teams, but nothing could match the opportunity he had coming back with the Tigers.

"I had other opportunities, and there's really only one other club that I was seriously considering," Kelly told MLB.com in a phone conversation. "But at the end of the day, when you look at it, [in] Detroit, we have a chance to go back to the World Series and win it. And to have the chance to be a part of it is huge."

Kelly is one of 17 non-roster players invited to Spring Training. The list includes top prospect Nick Castellanos, listed as an infielder and outfielder, as well as outfield prospects Tyler Collins and Daniel Fields. The catching ranks will include prospects James McCann, the Tigers' second-round Draft pick in 2011, and Curt Casali. They'll work with pitching prospects such as left-handers Kenny Faulk and Ryan Robowski and right-hander Michael Morrison.

More than a half-dozen other Minor League signings fill out the ranks, including righties Trevor Bell and Shawn Hill, lefty Jose Alvarez, catcher Brad Davis, infielder Argenis Diaz and utility men Kevin Russo and Matt Tuiasosopo.

Diaz, who turns 26 next month, has spent the last two years at Triple-A Toledo, playing around the infield. Both Russo and Tuiasosopo have spent time in the big leagues, as have Bell and Hill.

Alvarez could have a chance to compete for a lefty relief spot sometime during the season, if not out of Spring Training. The 23-year-old was a Minor League free agent this winter after seven seasons in the Red Sox's and Marlins' farm systems, the last year and a half at Double-A Jacksonville.

Though Alvarez has not been a high-strikeout pitcher over the last two seasons, he has a relatively strong arm. He went 6-9 with a 4.22 ERA with Jacksonville last year, but countered with a good season of winter ball in his native Venezuela, going 2-4 with a 2.49 ERA as a reliever and starter.

None of them have as much time in the big leagues as Kelly, an eighth-round Draft pick in 2001 who finally stuck as a utility player in 2010. He spent the next two years as a versatile part of the Tigers' bench, even catching and pitching in a game in 2011, before struggling last season to a .186 average in limited playing time as a late-inning replacement.

The Tigers designated Kelly for assignment in August, giving him the option of becoming a free agent. He elected to stay in the organization for a chance at a September callup. He went through the same process at season's end; he would've been eligible for arbitration had the Tigers kept him on the 40-man roster.

"David [Dombrowski] made it clear when we talked that they'd be interested in bringing me back [on a Minor League deal] if the opportunity presented itself," Kelly said. "All along, we knew it was a possibility."

Kelly owns a .232 batting average in 363 career Major League games, with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs.

Another key, Kelly said, was an opt-out clause to keep his options open if he doesn't make the 25-man Opening Day roster and another opportunity opens up on another team. Kelly will have the right to ask for his release if he isn't on the team out of camp.

His fit on the 25-man roster in Detroit could be iffy; the Tigers are still looking at a right-handed bat to mix into left field with Andy Dirks. Still, having somebody in the organization who can play just about every position can't be a bad thing. With Miguel Cabrera set to miss time in March to play for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, Kelly could get some spring starts at third base along with Tuiasosopo.

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: Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees for 2013   Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:23 pm

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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PostSubject: Re: Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees for 2013   Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:26 pm

Tigers assign Robowski, Morrison to Minors camp

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 03/08/2013 7:26 PM ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers made their second batch of roster cuts this spring, assigning pitchers Ryan Robowski and Michael Morrison to Minor League camp.

Both pitchers were non-roster invitees who were in big league camp for the first time. While the Tigers wanted them to get the experience with Major League instruction, they didn't expect either of them to compete for a roster spot. With other pitchers needing to stretch out their workload as camp rolls on, there weren't enough innings to go around.

Morrison, a 25-year-old right-hander, pitched in three games, allowing three runs on two hits last Saturday in a split-squad game against the Yankees. He struck out four and walked three.

Robowski, also 25, gave up six runs on four hits in two innings. He last pitched on Feb. 28 against the Rays.

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: Kelly, Castellanos among 17 non-roster invitees for 2013   Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:00 pm

Garcia will begin season on disabled list
Young outfielder's training camp cut short by bruised heel; Tigers send four to Minors

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 3/26/2013 5:34 P.M. ET

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Avisail Garcia, who is ranked the Tigers' No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, will open the season on the 15-day disabled list, the team announced Tuesday as part of a handful of Spring Training moves.

RelieverLuke Putkonen was optioned to Triple-A Toledo, while left-hander Jose Alvarez, catcher Brad Davis and utility man Kevin Russo were all assigned to Minor League camp. All of them are expected to be part of the Mud Hens' roster when their season opens.

Once right-hander Shawn Hillwas reassigned to Minor League campfollowing his start Tuesday, the Tigers' Spring Training roster was down to 29 players. Manager Jim Leyland still hopes to have it down to 25 by Thursday.

Garcia was a late-season hero for the Tigers as a September callup and postseason platoon player last year, appearing in 12 games, including making two starts in the World Series. However, his chances of making a Major League Opening Day roster for the first time seemed long from the outset of camp in February.

For one thing, team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said that Garcia would have to earn more playing time than just select starts against left-handed pitching, the role he had down the stretch last year, to make the 25-man roster. From a pure developmental standpoint, the thought process went, Garcia would benefit more from regular playing time at Triple-A Toledo.

In addition, the bruised right heel Garcia sustained a week ago pretty much eliminated his chances. He didn't begin putting weight on his right foot again until late last week, and the 21-year-old hasn't played in any sort of competition since the injury.

Garcia hit .206 (7-for-34) with one home run and three RBIs in 34 at-bats before the injury.

The Tigers could keep Garcia in Lakeland to work his way back into playing shape and then send him out on a rehab assignment sometime in April.

Putkonen will reprise his relief role with Toledo in hopes of getting an in-season callup. The 26-year-old allowed six runs on 14 hits in 13 2/3 innings this spring, walking five batters, hitting three and striking out 14.

Alvarez earned some consideration as a second lefty in the Tigers' bullpen, but he is expected to begin the season in the Mud Hens' rotation as an insurance starter. He allowed three earned runs on 13 hits over 9 2/3 innings, with a walk and six strikeouts.

Add in Hill, who allowed five earned runs on 21 hits over 19 innings this spring with a Triple-A start mixed in, and Leyland is feeling slightly more confident about his starting depth than he did a couple weeks ago. It's not enough depth to justify dealing Rick Porcello, who was announced to fill the open spot in the Tigers rotation, but it's enough to suggest Detroit isn't headed for disaster if it gets past six starters this year. "If [Hill] can do what he has shown me this spring, and Alvarez can do what he has shown me this spring, maybe we do have more than what we thought," Leyland suggested.

Russo quietly had a pretty good camp, batting .308 (12-for-39) with four doubles, two homers and five RBIs despite a 2-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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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