Detroit Tigers' Javier Betancourt beats the tag of New York Mets' T.J. Rivera to steal second base during the eighth inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game in Lakeland, Fla., Saturday, March 21, 2015. The Tigers defeated the Mets 6-4. (AP Ph
Carlos Osorio
March 21, 2015

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) A day after being named the Tigers' opening-day starter, David Price allowed eight hits and two runs in 4 1-3 innings of Detroit's 6-4 win over the New York Mets on Saturday.

Price also walked a batter, but struck out seven and stranded seven baserunners. He has a 4.38 ERA in four starts this spring for the Tigers.

''I don't feel any extra pressure,'' Price said of pitching after learning he got the opening day nod. ''It was (manager) Brad Ausmus decision. I can't put any more pressure on myself. It's an honor.''

Justin Verlander had started the last seven opening days for the Tigers. The two former Cy Young Award winners have adjacent lockers in the Detroit clubhouse.

''He came up to me and said if anybody had to get the start besides him, he was glad it was me,'' Price said.

Mets top lefty prospect Steven Matz allowed one run in 2 2-3 innings in his second start of the spring.

J.D. Martinez hit his fourth home run for the Tigers and Rajah Davis and Alex Avila had two hits. Avila, who has been in a slump all spring, lifted his average to .222.


Mets: Matz is a longshot to make the Mets' starting rotation out of spring training, but manager Terry Collins likes how Matz has looked in his two starts this spring. ''If he keeps going out with confidence and his control, he's got all it takes,'' Collins said.


Mets: Matt Harvey will start in Tampa against the New York Yankees on Sunday. He'll be followed by Erik Goeddel, Chase Bradford, Buddy Carlyle and Chasen Shreve.

Tigers: The Tigers have split-squad games on Sunday. Verlander will make his fourth start of the spring, against the Washington Nationals in Lakeland, and Kyle Lobstein will make his third start, against the Atlanta Braves in Kissimmee.


Tigers: Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez came out swinging in minor league games Saturday, their first live pitching of the spring. Cabrera singled in three at-bats and Martinez hit a long home run against Houston Astros prospects. Both are expected to be designated hitters in Sunday's split-squad games with Martinez going to Kissimmee to face the Atlanta Braves and Cabrera staying at home against the Washington Nationals.

Ausmus wasn't putting any timetable on when either could take the field.

''I'm not concerned about their hitting,'' Ausmus said. ''They hit well today but I'm not ready to throw a parade. We have two weeks to go and I am more concerned about their agility and their running.''

Cabrera had surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle and had a stress fracture repaired in his right foot. He said he was just happy to get on the field against a real opponent.

''I felt good,'' he said. ''My timing was good but my eyes were almost going too fast. I just have to see how it feels (Sunday).''

Martinez, who had surgery after tearing his meniscus in his left knee while playing catch in January, said the home run felt great.

''I think I am ready now for major league pitching,'' Martinez said. ''I remember how it feels now.''


Ausmus laughs at the numbers posted on the Tigers scoreboard and Joker Marchant Stadium that are supposed to register pitch speeds. ''Sometimes it's off by at least six miles per hour,'' Ausmus said. ''I know we don't have anyone throwing the ball at 108 miles-per-hour. It is way inaccurate.''


Anthony Gose was one of the hottest hitters in the Grapefruit League for the first two weeks, but he is in a slump that has lowered his average from a high of .675 to .342. Gose was picked up from the Toronto Blue Jays over the offseason and Ausmus said he isn't concerned. ''I never expected him to bat .500 this season,'' Ausmus said.

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