Right-hander Logan Kensing has the final spot after Lendy Castillo was sent to minor-league camp this morning
LAKELAND, Fla. – Barring something unforeseen, the Detroit Tigers’ 25-man roster is set for the regular season.
The Tigers assigned right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo to minor-league camp this morning, leaving 31 players in major-league camp. Six players will soon be placed on the disabled list to start the season, which will set the roster at 25.
The final spot came down to Castillo and right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing, who were both non-roster invitees.
“Kensing pitched better, quite frankly. He was able to throw more strikes,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said today.
“(I) feel good,” Kensing said this morning. “It’s kind of bittersweet. You have friends. Everyone here is competing, but at the end of the day, most of the time it’s not up to you who goes and who doesn’t go.
“Yeah, I was just glad to get the opportunity.”
Kensing, 33, was 1-1 with a 2.61 ERA in nine games this spring. He allowed 11 hits and one walk over 10.1 innings with five strikeouts.
Castillo, 26, had a 3.48 ERA in nine games. He allowed seven hits and seven walks over 10.1 innings with seven strikeouts.
Kensing had a 5.87 ERA in 19 appearances last season for the Seattle Mariners and manager Lloyd McClendon, who now manages the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate in Toledo. Tigers general manager Al Avila said Kensing came recommended by McClendon.
“The numbers weren’t there as far as I was concerned,” Kensing said of last season. “I had bad three outings that pretty much set those numbers in motion.
“It just helped me realize I could still pitch at this level, get outs and be a value to somebody.”
Kensing has pitched in April on a big-league team twice before, with the Florida Marlins in 2008 and 2009. He has a 5.80 ERA in 177 career innings in the majors with the Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals and Mariners.
Kensing said he made some changes in the off-season, which have helped.
“Went back to pitching the way I used to pitch with more sinker-slider kind of deal, instead of trying to power by guys,” Kensing said. “Kind of get out of your comfort zone, but it’s one of those things where you either go with it or you don’t. There’s no in between. We went with it and it just seemed to work.”
Kensing and Castillo each pitched in Thursday’s 10-6 exhibition win over the New York Yankees. With Kyle Ryan scratched due to illness, Kensing started and pitched two scoreless innings with no hits or walks with three strikeouts.
Castillo also pitched two innings, giving up two hits – including a two-run home run – and one walk with no strikeouts.
“Honestly, I didn’t notice, I still don’t know,” Kensing said about making the roster spot. “You guys are the first people to tell me. I wasn’t paying attention to the numbers because I’ve been in camps where guys who weren’t even invited to camp make the team. So you kind of just sit there and try to have tunnel vision and do your thing.”
Kensing said he knew guys who played in the organization and they spoke highly of the Tigers.
“They said it’s still a baseball team,” Kensing said of agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Tigers in December. “It’s fun to play for guys that really still know the game.
“I know there’s a bunch of teams out there that don’t. The people that are running it aren’t really baseball people. It’s not in their blood. I know this is a huge baseball family, so it’s always fun to play for those kind of guys.”
Contact George Sipple: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @georgesipple.
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