Tigers send five to minor league camp
With at-bats beginning to come at more of a premium, the Tigers sent a handful of players to minor league camp on Monday to get them some work there.
Infielders Dixon Machado and Eugenio Suarez, outfielder Daniel Fields, catcher Ramon Cabrera and right-handed pitcher Melvin Mercedes were all sent across the street at TigerTown.
The Tigers' sixth-round pick out of Detroit U-D Jesuit in 2009, Fields might have been the most recognizable name among those prospects. Injuries have slowed his progression some in recent seasons, and he spent most of 2012 at Class A Lakeland, before bumping up to Double-A Erie for 29 games.
Fields did not get a hit in 13 plate appearances this spring, but stood out with the glove in center field, making several splashy plays.
"I don’t know where he’s going to end up, whether he’s going to be a center fielder, or corner guy. He’s certainly a top prospect, and he handled himself pretty well this spring, to be honest with you," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He’s a high school kid that played a couple of years now. It takes time. That’s why they’re in camp as prospects. That’s what they are. Take a look at them, and get them exposed to a little bit of the atmosphere, and the big-league competition.
"I like all those kids.
"But they need to go play. They’re not ready for this yet."
"I know my son played with Suarez last year, and was telling me about him. I was looking forward to seeing him, and I thought he made a good impression.
"Machado looked much stronger. The Cabrera kid looks like he can hit, which is what our reports were. Fields is a talent. Struggled a little bit this spring, but ... excellent talent. Big kid, Mercedes, just needs to learn a little bit about the art of pitching, to go along with his equipment.
"Good experience for those kids to come into camp, but playing time starts to get cut down for some of the younger guys. We’re still in pretty good shape, so that’s why we made the move."