Tigers pitch one-hitter, spoil Braves' spring opener

Tigers manager Jim Leyland, left, talks to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez before the start of Saturday's spring training opener.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland, left, talks to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez before the start of Saturday's spring training opener.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Brandon Inge lost his job at third base when Detroit moved Miguel Cabrera across the infield to make room for first baseman Prince Fielder. Instead of sulking, he volunteered to play second base.

He got his chance against the Braves Saturday, making two putouts before coming out after the fifth. Inge made an impressive stop on his first chance in the bottom of the first inning of the Tigers’ 2-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Brandon Inge made two great plays,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He made some athletic plays. I don’t think athleticism will be an issue.”

Inge is competing with Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago for the job.

“I just hope he can get on base, run hard, field, hit, and throw,” Leyland said with a smile.

Fielder, the Tigers big free agent acquisition this winter, went 2 for 2 with a walk. He is 3 for 3 in Detroit counting Friday’s game against Florida Southern College.

Doug Fister and seven Detroit pitchers combined to allow only one hit in each team’s opener of the Grapefruit League season.

The Braves didn’t get their first hit until the eighth inning when Jordan Parraz singled off Chris Bootcheck.

Mike Minor pitched two innings for the Braves, allowing one hit while striking out three.

“Our pitchers all had a good day today,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I just want Mike to feel comfortable and that is what getting experience is all about. Pitchers have to grow up and that’s what he’s doing. If we makes the plays he will be fine.”

Minor was thrown into the pennant race last summer and performed well, going 3-3 in eight starts, but with veteran Tim Hudson out with a sore back until May, the Braves are counting on Minor being ready for opening day.

“It’s early and the hitters are behind,” Gonzalez said. “(Minor) is maturing. He’s got good control and we expect things from him.”

The Tigers scored in the third when Jerad Head homered to left field. They added another run in the eighth with a when Audy Ciriaco scored on a sacrifice fly.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday in Lakeland.

NOTES: Former Braves stars Fred McGriff and Dave Justice are in camp as special instructors, and Dale Murphy arrived on Saturday. Phil Niekro, Gene Garber and Tom Glavine are expected next week. . 1B Freddie Freeman was up and running only three days after injuring his right knee in practice on Wednesday. He said he will be able to play by next week. … Leyland said Jacob Turner would start on Wednesday against the Braves in Lakeland. It is significant because, after the four starters who are considered locks for the rotation, Turner will be the fifth starter of the spring. Turner was 0-1 in three starts last year in Detroit. . Leyland said that Fielder, Cabrera, and Delmon Young could all spit time at designated hitter. None are known for their fielding skills.


coachjohnson42 3 years, 6 months ago

Braves are gonna suck again I see......


Somebody 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah coach, first game of exhibition. Might as well cancel the season and wait till next year's exhibition opener. Good thing you are not a real coach. Boston romps a college team. I suppose that means the Red Sox will go undefeated this year you think?


VSU 3 years, 6 months ago

Someday I hope to be just as optimistic as you coach.


coachjohnson42 3 years, 6 months ago

it is what it is.....happens every season....I been a BRAVE FAN over 30 years.....and enjoyed only 1 World Championship (1995) after many seasons of disappointing seasons even after making the playoffs....They lose in the post season and mainly the off-season. They never make any big-moves for best available players. They hold on to the old washed up guys (Chipper) waaay to long and never make major roster changes. They only go after good pitching, not hitting.....Bobby Cox and Joe Torre went after the same thing. The new coach is following their lead....To prove it, just this off-season the Braves did not even make a offer for Albert Pujois.....NO INTEREST AT ALL.....he was only the best player in the LEAGUE!!! The Angels picked him up quickly and paid him well.....The Braves don't do stuff like that. They would rather build guys up from the minor leagues and pay them the minimum salary, hoping they turn into a ALBERT PUJOIS one day....it rarely happens.....So, I repeat, the braves are gonna suck again this year!!


The_Dude 3 years, 6 months ago

You obviously don't understand how deals are made. You need a lot of money to sign a really good player. The Braves don't have a lot of money. Three teams out of 30 made offers to Pujols, who wanted a long-term deal at the age of 33. Plus they have a very good first baseman, why trade for one out of his prime. The Angels will regret they paid him that much for that long. They'll be fine, although they're in a really tough division this year. Yeah, maybe they should have gone and got another outfield bat and they probably will at the trade deadline, but let's see what they do if they can stay healthy, which hasn't happened in years.


coachjohnson42 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe the deal with Pujois was a too long, but he was just an example.....The Braves screw up every season by not going after real TALENT!! When they do get some talent, they let them get away.....like Francour, Furcal, and a million other dudes......(too many to list). The Angels are gonna be very competitive now.....The Yankees will too......because they know how to spend money on the right people....while we waste money on sorry players.... Pujois is not washed up. You obviously didn't see is numbers last season....google it and find a better available player...I dare you.....


The_Dude 3 years, 5 months ago

Prince Fielder (younger, better average last year, numbers are going up, not down like Pujols) was a better available player, so there you go. You're welcome. The Yankees know how to spend money on the right people!???! Do you even watch baseball? They just spend tons of cash because they have it to waste. I could name 20 players in the last decade of they have given money to that busted. They are the worst run franchise in baseball.


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