LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers reached agreements on contracts with the final five unsigned players on their 40-man roster on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Ryan Perry, Alex Avila, Don Kelly, Brennan Boesch and Austin Jackson.
Wednesday was essentially the deadline for getting a deal done. It's the first day teams can unilaterally renew contracts for players on their roster at a certain salary. The Tigers haven't had to do so for a few years, and while they had a handful of players who went down to the final day, they avoided the process again.
Avila, Boesch and Jackson were all rookies last season. Perry and Kelly are a year away from arbitration.
Santiago pays homage to Lima
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers fans will remember the late Jose Lima for his flamboyant mound mannerisms, his music career and occasionally his pitching. Ramon Santiago, among others, will remember Lima for getting a lot out of life and giving a lot to younger players coming up.
"Some people see him and say, 'Ah, he's crazy, flashy.' No, he was a really good person," Santiago said. "Some people don't know that. They only see what they see on the field. They don't know the real Jose Lima. The guy was always happy, always singing, always enjoying, always laughing at everybody."
2010 Spring Training - Detroit Tigers
News & Features
- Torii set to visit Minnesota as division rival
- Leyland, Tigers preparing for cold weather in Minnesota
- Tigers know not to take division-rival Twins lightly
- Quick hits
- Fister to start Tigers' home opener
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Santiago was remembering Lima on Wednesday while taking the mound for the ceremonial first pitch before the Tigers lost to the Astros, 6-3. It was a fitting tribute for a man who became a well-known pitcher in Detroit and Houston.
Lima passed away suddenly last May in Los Angeles, just a day or two after visiting the Tigers on their road trip to Dodger Stadium. He was just 37 years old. The news not only hit Santiago hard, but also their native Dominican Republic.
Santiago remembers Lima buying him a suit after the Tigers called him up early in the 2002 season, Lima's final year as a Tiger.
"He was a very caring guy for the rookies," Santiago said. "He always took care of rookies. To me, he said, 'Whatever you need, you let me know.' That's big when you have somebody like that. When you're a rookie, you don't know what's happening. He always gave support."
Santiago still owns the suit. He and Brandon Inge are the two Tigers remaining who were teammates with Lima in Detroit.
The first pitch was part of the celebration of the Tigers' 75th Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla. Lima spent parts of five seasons as a Tiger over two different stints during his 13-year career.
Cabrera yet to find rhythm at plate
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Statistically, Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-3 on Wednesday in his third game back in the Tigers' lineup and his first game back at first base. But it might have been the most encouraging day for his swing and timing.
"Good contact," Cabrera said. "No luck."
After a first-inning groundout, Cabrera centered two pitches for drives that sent Astros center fielder T.J. Steele in retreat. Both of them stayed in the park, thanks in part to a breeze that was blowing in, almost from straightaway center.
"Without the wind, they're probably off the wall," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "And with the wind [blowing out], they're probably over the backdrop."
That's encouraging for Cabrera. He's 1-for-9 so far this spring, with the lone hit a three-run double he lined to the fence in left-center field on Monday. But his contact has grown increasingly more solid.
"Today, I felt much better," Cabrera said.
Thomas' arm a plus for Tigers
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers picked up their first loss of Spring Training on Wednesday, losing to the Astros, 6-3, but it was an encouraging day for outfielder Clete Thomas. He doubled in a run at the plate and took away another with his throw home from right field.
It was good news for somebody who was the final cut out of camp last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury in mid-April that required microfracture surgery.
Thomas' throw reminded some of his strong-armed reputation while he was coming up through the system. His low line drive skipped off the infield grass and took a perfect hop to catcher Alex Avila, who had just enough time to turn and tag Hunter Pence trying to score on the Brian Dopirak fly ball.
So far, manager Jim Leyland likes what he has seen.
"I don't think there's any restrictions at all," Leyland said. "He looks fine. He put a charge on that ball his last time up there. He's got a lot of talent."
Brad Penny will pitch three innings in a camp game on Thursday at 10:40 a.m. ET at Joker Marchant Stadium. The shift allows him and Max Scherzer to get their needed innings on the same day after having pitched in the same game on Sunday. Scherzer will pitch in the regular game at 1:05 p.m. against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Manager Jim Leyland said the two will pitch on different days going forward. ... Leyland said that his son, Patrick, could get an at-bat against the Braves.