By Brendan Burke
With sunny days and spring just around the corner, baseball is back.
After a shortened offseason, the Detroit Tigers have reported to spring training. Pitchers and catchers reported on Feb. 17, while the whole squad reported on Feb. 22.
The Tigers had a busy offseason from new coaches to new players. The team is going to look completely different from last year’s team. Former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch will be taking the helm as the team’s manager. Joining Hinch on his coaching staff is hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh who spent the 2020 season with the Chicago White Sox, and pitching coach Chris Fetter who was University of Michigan’s pitching coach the past few years. George Lombard is the team’s new bench coach. Lombard is a former player and spent the last five years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Coaching changes aren’t the only differences for the squad as the Detroit Tigers also had a slew of offseason signings. Some significant signings were: right fielder Nomar Mazara, who previously was with the Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers; pitcher José Ureña, previously on the Miami Marlins; Julio Teheran, who was a former All-Star pitcher for the Atlanta Braves; outfielder Robbie Grossman, who previously played with the Oakland Athletics; and catcher Wilson Ramos, formerly of the New York Mets Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals.
Gregory Garno is a social media manager for the Tigers. Garno used to be the Managing Sports Editor for the Michigan Daily (school newspaper) and covered the football team during the 2014-2015 season, and interned at places like the Sporting News and MLB.com while freelancing at newspapers across the country. He also worked at a local newspaper in Southern Michigan before being hired on as an In-Game Coordinator with Major League Baseball.
Garno commented on the many changes to this season’s training. “ For one, I’m not there,” Garno said. “So that remote work is a challenge. And the amount of access our staff has is limited, so that means we need to be more creative to produce content our fans love.”
Regarding the differences of the season, “I’m sure there will be a lot,”Garno said. “To be honest, we still are in the process of working out those details. From the fan experience to the way our players work, there’s going to be a lot of unknowns and firsts.”
The Tigers will be playing in Lakeland, Florida, and fans are welcome to attend with limited seats. This will be a chance to watch some of the top prospects play, including Casey Mize, Willi Castro, Tarik Skubal, Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and many others.