Tigers prospect Jones homers in 7-2 win over Fla Southern
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) Detroit infield prospect JaCoby Jones hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Tigers beat Florida Southern 7-2 on Monday for their 11th straight victory over the Moccasins.
Florida Southern is located in Lakeland, where the Tigers hold spring training.
Detroit played most of its expected opening day lineup but pulled the regulars early. Ian Kinsler had a single in his only at-bat to open the game for the Tigers, and he scored on an infield single by Nick Castellanos.
The Tigers didn't use any of their top pitchers. Kevin Ziomek started and pitched two innings with two strikeouts.
Detroit acquired Jones from Pittsburgh last year when the Tigers traded reliever Joakim Soria. During the offseason, Jones was suspended 50 games following a positive test for a drug of abuse under baseball's minor league drug program.
Miguel Cabrera walked in his only plate appearance.
Shortstop Dixon Machado had two hits for the Tigers after coming in as a backup. He hit .235 in 24 games for Detroit in 2015.
Drake Britton, a 26-year-old left-hander who pitched in the majors for Boston in 2013 and 2014, pitched a perfect seventh to earn the win.
Detroit C Austin Green has little chance of making the team out of spring training, but he is turning some heads. The 26-year-old Green hit a solo homer Monday.
''He has a great chance to be a major league catcher,'' said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who was himself a longtime major leaguer catcher. ''He looks like he has what it takes.''
Green, a non-roster invite at spring training, hit .259 in 86 games at Double-A Erie last year.
The competition between Anthony Gose and Cameron Maybin for playing time in center field will be worth watching this spring. Gose went 0 for 2 on Monday as the starter, while Maybin came in off the bench in the designated hitter spot. Maybin also went 0 for 2.
Matt Boyd will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday in Detroit's official Grapefruit League opener. Boyd went 1-6 in 12 starts for the Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays last season. He was acquired in the deal that sent David Price to Toronto. Kyle Lobstein, who went 3-8 for the Tigers last season, will pitch for the Pirates.
Tigers RHP Montreal Robertson is still recovering from what Ausmus described as a fluke injury where he ''popped'' his shoulder. There is no timetable on his recovery.