The defending American League champion Detroit Tigers are stronger than they were last season – at least on paper. The club added veteran Torii Hunter in right field, and DH Victor Martinez returns after missing all of 2012 with a knee injury. They join a lineup that already boasts first baseman Prince Fielder, third baseman Miguel Cabrera, center fielder Austin Jackson, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and catcher Alex Avila.
The rotation is bolstered by right-hander Justin Verlander, who is one of the game’s few true aces. Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez (who signed a long-term deal this offseason), Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello team with Verlander to give Detroit one of the best rotations in the majors. Scherzer or Porcello could be expendable because of left-hander Drew Smyly.
The Tigers are replacing departed closer Jose Valverde with 22-year-old hard-throwing right-hander Bruce Rondon. Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit add an effective core of set-up men.
Though the White Sox and Royals are improved, the Tigers are still favored to repeat as AL Central champions. With Verlander atop the rotation and Fielder and Cabrera in the lineup, they have the firepower to defend their AL pennant as well.
About Joker Marchant Stadium
The Detroit Tigers have trained at Joker Marchant Stadium since 1934, which is the longest tenure of a Major League team and a current spring training host city.
Joker Marchant was named for Lakeland’s late parks and recreation director and was first used for spring training in 1966. It now seats 8,000. Joker Marchant Stadium is part of Tiger Town, which consists of the spring training headquarters for the Tigers along with the home of the advanced Single-A Florida State League Lakeland Flying Tigers.
Located between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland is home to the largest on-site collection of Frank lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College and the Polk Museum of Art.
Amusement park enthusiasts can venture to LEGOLAND in Winter Haven, Busch Gardens in Tampa and, of course, Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World in Orlando. Historic Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales and aviation attraction Fantasy of Flight in Polk City are other nearby destinations that are ideal to visit when fans are not at Joker Marchant Stadium.
For more information, visit www.lakelandchamber.com.
Detroit Tigers Spring Training Information
First Practice Dates
February 11 – Pitchers and Catchers
February 14 – Position Players Report
2013 Ticket Prices
Infield Box, $23
Baseline Box, $22
Left Field Reserved, $16
Grass Berm/Standing Room Only, $10
For more information about tickets and the Tigers spring training schedule, visit here.