Posted March 12, 2012 on AP on Fox
Andy Oliver might have an early lead in the three-man race to be the Detroit Tigers' fifth starter. Although Tigers manager Jim Leyland says a decision isn't near, Oliver staked his claim Monday in a 7-7 tie with the New York Mets that lasted 10 innings. Leyland bristles when asked about the spot, one of the few openings on the Tigers' roster. Oliver worked four innings on Monday and allowed only one hit. He struck out two. Oliver is in contention with Drew Smyly and Jacob Turner to join the rotation behind Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Doug Fister. Casey Crosby, who didn't pitch on Monday, is also in the mix. Smyly started against the Mets and went two innings, allowing two hits and his first earned run of the spring. Turner had the roughest outing, giving up six runs - including Lucas Duda's grand slam - in 1 2-3 innings. Oliver pitched the final four innings. ''Oliver's command was a lot better. There's no question about it, he pitched four innings and he could have gone another. ''Our focus is just to find a fifth starter. Soon we will be out of days to decide, but not yet. I am not getting antsy.'' Oliver has only seven big league starts, compared to three for former first-round pick Turner. Smyly has never pitched in the majors. "I felt great,'' Smyly said. ''It's all working well, and I wish I could have gone more. Today is the best I have felt all year.'' There will be at least one extra spot in the Tigers bullpen, and Leyland said that is one of the team's pressing needs. The Tigers released right-handed reliever David Pauley on Monday. In 2 2-3 innings this spring, Pauley allowed five earned runs for a 16.88 ERA. He posted a 2.15 ERA in 39 appearances for Seattle last season before being traded with Fister in August. With Detroit, he was 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA in 14 games and was left off the postseason roster. ''I know I am better than I showed,'' Pauley said. ''I can't blame anybody but myself.'' Pauley, who was out of options, was competing for one of the club's final middle-relief spots. Jonathon Niese started for the Mets and gave up three runs in three innings, striking out four. After Duda's grand slam gave the Mets a 7-3 lead, the Tigers cut it to 7-6 in the bottom half. Miguel Cabrera was 2-for-3 with a double and RBI for the Tigers. Mike Nickeas had two doubles and two RBI for the Mets. Duda, who has been playing despite lower back stiffness, caught the attention of Mets manager Terry Collins. He is hitting .333 this spring. ''If that's how he is hitting when he's hurt, I can't wait to see him when he's healthy,'' Collins said. NOTES: Leyland tinkered with the lineup again, batting 2B Brandon Inge second and OF Brennan Boesch ninth. It was a flip-flop from the regular lineup. Leyland said he is trying to give Inge extra at-bats. ... Detroit LHP Duane Below will start on Tuesday against Washington. LHP Adam Wilk, RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Luis Marte, and RHP Octavio Dotel will also pitch. ... Collins said 1B Ike Davis feels fine after being diagnosed with valley fever last week. ... Mets GM Sandy Alderson said LHP Tim Byrdak is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. ... RHP Dillon Gee, who entered spring training in the Mets' rotation, will throw 75 pitches in a minor league game on Wednesday. ... Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Cabrera, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Manny Acosta, Garrett Olson, Ramon Ramirez, and Bobby Parnell are slated to pitch for the Mets on Tuesday against the Cardinals.

MLB Preview: AL Central all-position team

Our 2012 MLB preview places the eyeball on the best players by position in each division. Find out how the AL Central shakes out and don’t forget to check out our MLB Preview Center. Infield Justin Verlander & Alex Avila C – Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers – Carlos Santana is on the come up but Avila was the All-Star in 2011 and there is no reason to believe it was a fluke...

Tigers 5x5 2012 Prospect Rankings

The Tigers top prospect list is littered with pitching prospect. The organization is thin on impact bats, but the parent club isn't exactly in need of much thump. The fifth starter role is to be determined, and many of the prospects on this list could end up getting a crack at securing the gig for themselves. Top 5 fantasy baseball prospects 1- Jacob Turner, SP Turner...

Tigers release RHP Pauley

The Detroit Tigers released right-handed pitcher David Pauley on Monday.The reliever gave up five earned runs in 2.2 innings pitched during a 7-7 tie with the New York Mets and was promptly cut after the game."I know I am better than I showed," Pauley said after the contest. "I can't blame anybody but myself."The 28-year-old was acquired from the Seattle Mariners...

Cabrera Holding His Own at Third

While Miguel Cabrera's action thus far at third base has been limited in the early exhibition season, he's looked good in the chances he's had. And more importantly, he's got the confidence of the manager to hold his own.

Spring Training: The Phils finished their split squad game with the Tigers in an extra-innings, 4-4 tie.

The Phils second split squad game end up as an extra-innings 4-4 tie with the Tigers, after 10 innings of play. Detroit took the lead in the first as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Ryan Raburn hits a two-run home run, knocking in Ramon Santiago, who had started the game off with a double, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The Phils cut the Tigers’ lead in half in the third...

TigsTown Transaction Blog: Pauley Released

Stay current with all the roster movement and personnel decisions with the TigsTown Transaction Blog. The Tigers released ineffective reliever David Pauley and trimmed their spring training roster by sending some guys to minor league camp.

Oliver works 4 innings, Tigers tie Mets

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- Andy Oliver, fighting to win the final spot in Detroit's starting rotation, allowed one hit and struck out two in four innings of the Tigers' 7-7, 10-inning tie with the New York Mets on Monday. Oliver is in competition with Drew Smyly and former first-round pick Jacob Turner, who both also pitched Monday. Smyly started and went two innings, allowing...

Tigers 4, Phillies 4(10)

Ryan Raburn hit a two-run homer off Phillies ace Cliff Lee in the first inning and the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia tied at 4 in a split-squad game Sunday. The game was called after the 10th. Lee gave up three consecutive hits to begin the game, including Raburn's homer. After Miguel Cabrera singled, Lee set down three straight batters, striking out two of them. Lee, slowed...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.