Detroit Tigers observations: Riley Greene looks like future star

Anthony Fenech
Detroit Free Press

Here are five observations from the Detroit Tigers’ intrasquad game on Monday morning at Comerica Park:

1. Starting off: In his second intrasquad appearance of the past week, right-hander Michael Fulmer started off slow, throwing plenty of pitches and allowing enough hits in the top of the first inning before finding more command as his outing went on. Though it seemed unlikely he would pitch three innings after a long first frame, Fulmer ended up throwing 57 pitches. Remember: Fulmer began facing live hitters for the first time in 16 months last week.

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2. The other side: While Fulmer could be a logical fit to step into the Tigers’ open starting rotation spot, Monday showed two things: First, that he might not be there just yet; the team could probably find lower-leverage situations to ease him in. Second, lefty Tyler Alexander might be the leader in the clubhouse. Alexander pitched well, throwing three scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Alexander was a small surprise last year — it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he cracked the rotation.

3. Riley Greene’s day: Greene, 19, has been the most impressive young player in camp — Spencer Torkelson included. Part of this is because he has received more action than Torkelson but Greene looks like a potential star. After ripping a two-run single off Franklin Perez, he made a ridiculous catch in left field, taking a C.J. Cron home run back from beyond the outfield fence.

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4. Frank Schwindel: The little-known first baseman signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason made a big impression in spring training. The easiest way to describe Schwindel is that it seems like most of the balls he hits are hard. Schwindel hit his second home run of intrasquad competition, taking a Franklin Perez pitch into the Tigers’ bullpen in left field on a line. Still, Schwindel is probably facing an uphill climb to make the team.

5. Jimenez in form: Closer Joe Jimenez pitched a near-perfect inning in relief in the top of the third, retiring the side on 11 pitches — 10 of them strikes. Entering his first full season as Tiger closer, Jimenez has an important year ahead of him. Though it remains to be seen how much trade value he may have, Jimenez could make enough strides to cement his status as closer going forward.

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