Crotta threw 1.1 innings in spring training, allowing no runs, three hits, two walks and striking out one. After two years in Japan, Crotta's return to the minors will be for Triple-A Toledo. The 31-year-old will be looking to improve upon last year's 6.59 ERA with Hokkaido, which seems possible considering he had a 3.57 in 2013, his last year in the minors before going to Japan.
Crotta signed a minor league contract with the Tigers on Wednesday, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. After a two-year stint with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, Crotta will return to the United States to join the Tigers organization. The veteran right-hander saw his ERA balloon to 6.59 in 2015 after posting a strong 2.62 mark in 2014.
The Pittsburgh Pirates made their first cuts of the spring and sent the following players to their minor-league camp: Chase d'Arnaud, Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Duke Welker, Mike Crotta, Logan Kensing, Tony Sanchez, Ramon Cabrera, Robbie Grossman and Anderson Hernandez.