Tigers news and notes: Romine and Perez catching, V-Mart not, and more!

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The Detroit Tigers are about halfway through their spring training stint down in Lakeland, Florida. This is where you see all thirty big league clubs start to make moves such as assigning players to the minors and figuring out roles and positions for their key players. For Detroit, the pitching is still a question mark, particularly the bullpen. They also have an emergency catcher plan if a situation were to arise. We’ll look into those more as we cover the news and notes today.

NEW ROLES FOR SUPER UTILITY MEN?

Tigers backup infielders Andrew Romine and Hernan Perez are Detroit’s new pair of utility players for the 2015 season. The two have been playing not only a lot this spring, but virtually everywhere on the field. They will be called upon throughout the season by manager Brad Ausmus to fill in some gaps, give other players rest, replace an injured Tiger, etc. On Wednesday, they expanded their role a little more.

Don’t expect this to ever really happen *knock on wood*. The only time Detroit fans would see either of these two catch is if catchers Alex AvilaBryan Holaday, and James McCann all went down with injuries. Hence the term “emergency catchers”.

One guy who definitely will not be catching this season or in the next few seasons in designated hitter Victor Martinez. Martinez is a former catcher himself, but his injuries over the past few seasons have basically kept him from being the backstop.

V-Mart is still rehabbing and working his way back to full strength after his knee surgery in February.


 

BULLPEN TAKING SHAPE?

Brad Ausmus has had a lot of work to do this spring, trying to figure out who will pitch out of the bullpen in 2015. He has said that he feels pretty comfortable with at least six guys so far. We learned today that there may be just one spot remaining, but there is a possibility he may have eight pitchers come out of the bullpen.

The six “safe” players are Joe NathanJoakim SoriaBruce RondonJoba ChamberlainAl Alburquerque, and Tom Gorzelanny. Of the six, only the new Tiger, Gorzelanny, is left-handed. Rondon is slowly working his way back to old form after missing all of 2014. Nathan’s troubles have been well-documented to say the least, and it has shown the last couple weeks.

It will be very interesting to follow who will get the final bullpen spot, or spots.


 

ALL-STAR VOTING DONE ONLINE NOW

In baseball news today, MLB announced that their voting for the All-Star game in July will take place only online. The league now becomes the last of the professional sports in the United States to handle the vote in such fashion.

According to a report, over 80% of ballots last season were filled out online and over 16 million paper ballots were left unused. This is more than a trend, it is the way things are done nowadays.

So remember fans, when you fill out your All-Star ballot with Tigers players during the season, make sure you have working Internet access to do so.