April 03, 2015

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) Miguel Cabrera hit his third home run of the spring, doubled and drove in three runs Friday for the Detroit Tigers in an 11-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Sanchez, slotted to be the team's No. 2 starter, gave up a grand slam to Brandon Guyer in the first inning.

''I'm ready to go for my first game of the season,'' Sanchez said.

Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi went four innings and gave up three runs and five hits. The righty was recently chosen as the Rays' third starter for the regular season.

Rays reserve Boog Powell hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth off Al Alburquerque.

The Tigers and Rays will close out their exhibition seasons on Saturday with a game at Tropicana Field.

VERLANDER DECISION

Tigers star Justin Verlander was recently sidelined by a strained right triceps and is expected to open the season on the disabled list. Manager Brad Ausmus said the team would wait until the Sunday afternoon deadline for submitting regular season rosters before choosing who will take Verlander's place on the roster.

''That will be the final move, but that hasn't been made yet,'' Ausmus said.

Ausmus said Verlander ''felt good today'' and he would throw a bullpen session either on Saturday or Sunday. The Tigers hope the 35-year-old righty will miss just one start and that he will be ready to go when his spot in the rotation comes up again on April 12.

STARTING TIME

Rays: Rays manager Kevin Cash said he wanted Odorizzi to go four innings or 60 pitches. He threw 57 pitches and did not record a walk or a strikeout.

''It was a nice little tuneup,'' Cash said.

Tigers: After allowing five runs in the first two innings, Sanchez settled down and retired 12 straight batters to finish his outing.

''I think my tempo in the first inning was a little off,'' he said. ''After the third inning, I figured out my tempo and did something different to quicken up my innings.''

TOUGH CUTS

Ausmus said the competition between lefty relievers Blaine Hardy, Kyle Ryan and Ian Krol led to some of the toughest roster decisions he and his staff had to make.

''The toughest call was for the left-hander spot. All three of them you could make a case for,'' Ausmus said. ''Ultimately, I and the staff felt the way Krol pitched this spring, he kind of refocused himself, and if he stays on that track, he has the chance not just to be a very good left-handed pitcher, but potentially a setup-type arm at some point in the future at the back end of a bullpen.''

''But it was a tough call because Blaine Hardy did a nice job for us for the vast majority of the time he was up there, so that was not easy. He took it very well, but that was probably the toughest decision that we made,'' he said.

COMFORTABLY NUMB

When Krol was told he had made the team, it ended a period that's difficult for every player who has been on the roster bubble.

''It's weird because you don't hear anything for so long, you don't know what's going to happen, you kind of just have a numbness about you,'' the 23-year-old said. ''You don't really have any emotion, you just kind of go about your day and do everything you can.''

NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION

Detroit RHP Angel Nesbitt, a native of Venezuela, was told he made the club following his start on Thursday. The rookie was excited to hear the news, but first he had to make sure he heard it right.

''I wanted to cry but I just smiled,'' he said. ''They went to tell me in English a couple of times and they said would you like us to translate into Spanish, and I said no, I understand.''

KINSLER CONNECTS

Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler kept up his strong spring, going 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles. He's gotten a hit in 11 of his last 12 games and is batting .415.

''All the situations that I came up to hit in were perfect situations to try to continue an inning,'' he said. ''So I just wanted to get on base and let Miguel come up to hit.''

UP NEXT

In their spring training wrapup, Alfredo Simon is set to start for Detroit and either Erasmo Ramirez or Matt Andriese will pitch for Tampa Bay.

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