Jacob Barnes returns to Tigers big league spring camp

LAKELAND, Fla. — Jacob Barnes had packed up his gear to head to Toledo, Ohio, on Friday ahead of the Mud Hens’ opening day next Tuesday. He had explained to his wife that he had to be out of town for their second child’s baby shower this weekend in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Then came the message from the Tigers.

“I was going to throw an inning [Thursday] on the minor league side, and they were just like, ‘Hey, you’re not pitching today,’” Barnes said Friday morning. “I’m like, ‘OK, well, when do I pitch, then?'”

Turns out he was pitching on Friday – for the Major League side that had just demoted him earlier in the week. Four days after being reassigned to Minor League camp for a Triple-A role, he took to the streets again at Major League camp. He faced the top half of the Major League Yankees roster on Friday afternoon and recorded a scoreless relief inning, allowing a single to Anthony Rizzo but recording three fly-ball outs in the 6-2 loss of the Yankees. Tigers.

“It’s kind of unfair for us to ask him that,” manager AJ Hinch said of the exit, “but he’s a pro. He’s been in the big leagues before. Obviously we wanted to do that. back in the game. And he’s very much in the mix. Obviously you can change your decision whenever you want when your players are in camp. He’s bounced back well.”

Barnes’ competition for a spot in the Detroit bullpen is back.

“Obviously things happen in this game and you roll with it,” Barnes said. “It’s a positive thing, and you can fix everything else. So, yeah, that kind of happened, and it was unique for sure.

Barnes had been in the Tigers’ camp as an off-list guest after signing a Minor League contract on March 13. The 31-year-old allowed seven runs on seven hits in five innings for the spring, walking four and striking out six. His relative success against left-handed hitters during his various major league stints was a call for Detroit to bring him in. Rony García and non-members invite Barnes, Will Vest, Drew Hutchison and Chase Anderson – competing for potentially five spots if Chafin isn’t ready for opening day.

Hutchison gave up a solo homer to Kyle Higashioka in his round on Friday. Foley allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out one. Anderson hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since March 25, but he did pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday. He has the right not to participate if he is not added to the opening day list, but he remains in competition for a place.

“We wouldn’t bring [Barnes] back unless there’s an opportunity for him to be on our team,” Hinch said earlier Friday. “Part of it is right where our bullpen structure is, and part of it was really messy timing. With Triple-A breakout [camp] early, we wanted to be fair with him so that his season started on time. And now it’s a bit more up in the air. …

“He has a lot of good things. He has some experience, over four years in the majors, and he has pitched well in the majors at times. He can handle left-handed hitters, which is essential, with his cutter. He also has a Major League look to him in terms of the way he conducts himself, how he handles himself, the pressure he’s been under in those years, that’s why we signed him. We think he is certainly excellent insurance for us, but also for the competition.

Miggy mash
A year to the day after Miguel Cabrera homered in the snow on Comerica Park right field opening day, he rode through the humid Florida air at Joker Marchant Stadium during spring training . His sixth-round opponent beat former Tigers prospect Chad Green came out on the right for his first homer of the spring and Detroit’s final race of the afternoon.

“It peaks at the right time,” Hinch said.

Cabrera also drew a rare pitch earlier when Yankees starter Gerrit Cole nearly caught it too far from first base.

“Not necessarily a peak at the right time [on the bases]”, Hinch said. “It was only fun because he was safe.”

Ever since he fended off the throw, Cabrera was still able to laugh it off.

“I want to fly,” he jokes.

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