Toronto at Detroit

W: J. Verlander (1-0) L: B. Morrow (0-1) S: J. Alvarez (2)
HR: TOR - J. Negrych (1)   DET - T. Hunter (1)

Tigers 4, Blue Jays 1


LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Torii Hunter has never had a problem making friends, and he's off to a great start with the Detroit Tigers.

Hunter hit his first home run with the Tigers, Justin Verlander pitched four scoreless innings and Detroit beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 on Wednesday.

Hunter has always been a gregarious teammate during long stints with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels, and he said he feels he's fit in well in the Detroit clubhouse.

"They brought me here to bat second and to be a kind of team leader here," Hunter said. "I made sure the first day here that my teammates got to know me and I got to know them. I had other people do that for me when I first came up, so it's my turn now."

Hunter said he was guided through his early years in Minnesota by Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. He said a lot of the leadership lessons he has learned came from Puckett and he is trying to pass those lessons on to younger Tigers, especially center fielder Austin Jackson.

"I'm not saying I am trying to be a mentor, but I will do what I can, especially with Austin," Hunter said. "I can teach things and try to make sure they don't make mistakes on or off the field. I am comfortable with that role."

Hunter also has to get comfortable in his role as the No. 2 hitter in the Tigers order. Although he homered on Wednesday, he knows that's not why he was brought to Detroit. His job is to move Jackson over if he gets on from his leadoff slot, and set the table for Tigers sluggers Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez.

After starting the season in the heart of the Angels order for the first two months of the 2012 season, Hunter was moved into the No. 2 slot and batted .313 with 16 homers and 92 RBI.

"I like him in the second spot," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's got the right attitude about it and he knocked in a lot of runs for the Angels last year in that slot. It isn't going to be an adjustment for him at all. He did a lot last year."

"I don't need home runs," Hunter said. "I just need to score runs."

Verlander said he felt fine going four innings and is ready to extend himself in his next outing. He is scheduled for four more starts during the lengthy spring training because of the World Baseball Classic, but he said he doesn't count his pitches and just wants to stick to a routine of pitching every fifth day. He also said he isn't getting involved in the ongoing discussion in Tigertown over who will take over as the team's closer.

"We have plenty of guys who can do it," Verlander said. "If one guy can't do it we have plenty of others who can."

Toronto's Brandon Morrow allowed one unearned run and said he felt fine after being roughed up in his first spring outing.

"I just wanted to throw for strikes today," Morrow said. "I had that oblique injury at the end of last season, but it's been fine all spring. I'm feeling closer to going for more speed."

Morrow, who went 10-7 with a 2.96 ERA for the Blue Jays last season, said he welcomes not being the oldest pitcher in the rotation this year after the acquisitions of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson during the offseason.

"Last year, Ricky (Romero) and I were the two oldest guys in the rotation," Morrow said. "Now we're the youngest and we can concentrate on watching the older guys get people out."

NOTES: DH Victor Martinez was pulled after one plate appearance with back soreness, but Leyland said he will play on Thursday. ... OF Brennan Boesch got his first at-bat against major league pitching this spring and struck out against Aaron Loup. Boesch has been sidelined with an oblique injury. ... Leyland said that for INF Jeff Kobernus to make the team, he has to learn the outfield. ... LHP Drew Smyly will start on Thursday night against Atlanta. ... The Jays have hit 17 homers in 12 games this spring. Andy LaRoche leads the team with three. . LHP Mark Buehrle will start in Sarasota on Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles. . 1B Adam Lind went 1 for 1 to raise his spring average to .474 and SS Lance Zawadzki went 1 for 2 to life his average to .467.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

J. Negrych
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1

T. Hunter
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 1

Related Video

June 24, 2017
Osuna dealing with mental issues (0:34)
Toronto Blue Jays
Anthony Gose, CF3000110 .300
Rajai Davis, LF3000000 .176
    Kevin Pillar, LF1000012 .000
Maicer Izturis, 2B3010010 .056
    Jim Negrych, 2B1111000 .400
Adam Lind, 1B1010100 .474
    Lars Anderson, 1B1000101 .250
Andy LaRoche, 3B3000013 .300
    Eugenio Velez, 3B1000001 .222
Ryan Langerhans, RF3010002 .316
    Ryan Schimpf, RF1000000 .125
Luis Jimenez, DH4010011 .176
Josh Thole, C2000011 .077
    Jack Murphy, C2000012 .250
Lance Zawadzki, SS2010000 .467
    Ryan Goins, SS0000100 .200
2B - Adam Lind (3, Verlander)
HR - Jim Negrych (1, Marte)
RBI - Jim Negrych (2)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Izturis-Goins-Anderson
E - Josh Thole (1, Throwing), Lance Zawadzki (3, Dropped fly)
Toronto Blue Jays
Brandon Morrow (L,0-1) 2110130 3.60
Brett Cecil 2222130 7.50
Michael Schwimer 1111121 3.00
Tommy Hottovy 1100010 3.38
Aaron Loup 1100020 2.25
Ramon Ortiz 1100000 6.75
HBP - Hunter (by Brandon Morrow)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Morrow 19-14, Brett Cecil 18-14, Michael Schwimer 15-8, Tommy Hottovy 5-5, Aaron Loup 8-8, Ramon Ortiz 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Morrow 1-3, Brett Cecil 2-1, Michael Schwimer 1-0, Tommy Hottovy 1-0, Aaron Loup 1-0, Ramon Ortiz 1-2
Batters Faced - Brandon Morrow 10, Brett Cecil 9, Michael Schwimer 5, Tommy Hottovy 3, Aaron Loup 4, Ramon Ortiz 4
Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF3010001 .208
    Avisail Garcia, CF1010000 .238
Torii Hunter, RF2211001 .261
    Brennan Boesch, RF1000011 .000
Victor Martinez, DH0000100 .333
   a- Alex Avila, PH-DH2000111 .125
Prince Fielder, 1B3000024 .300
    Matt Tuiasosopo, 1B1000011 .063
Andy Dirks, LF3110001 .333
    Nick Castellanos, PR-LF1000000 .375
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000034 .174
    Dixon Machado, SS1000000 .429
Jeff Kobernus, 2B2000021 .259
    Hernan Perez, 2B2020000 .500
Danny Worth, 3B1100100 .267
    Argenis Diaz, 3B2000002 .308
Bryan Holaday, C2012000 .111
    Brad Davis, C1000010 .000
a-struck out for Martinez in the 3rd
2B - Austin Jackson (1, Morrow), Andy Dirks (1, Cecil), Bryan Holaday (1, Cecil)
HR - Torii Hunter (1, Schwimer)
RBI - Torii Hunter (2), Bryan Holaday 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Bryan Holaday 2 (2)
SB - Andy Dirks (1, 3rd base off Cecil/Thole), Nick Castellanos (1, 2nd base off Schwimer/Thole)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Kobernus-Peralta-Fielder, Tuiasosopo
E - Avisail Garcia (2, Dropped fly)
Detroit Tigers
Justin Verlander (W,1-0) 4100130 1.00
Darin Downs (H,2) 1100000 0.00
Casey Crosby (H,1) 1100000 3.00
Phil Coke (H,3) 1200010 0.00
Al Alburquerque (H,2) 1000230 1.80
Luis Marte (H,2) 0.1111101 1.69
Jose Alvarez (S,2) 0.2000000 2.25
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 23-19, Darin Downs 3-3, Casey Crosby 3-3, Phil Coke 6-6, Al Alburquerque 17-9, Luis Marte 9-3, Jose Alvarez 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 3-6, Darin Downs 1-1, Phil Coke 1-0, Jose Alvarez 1-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 14, Darin Downs 3, Casey Crosby 3, Phil Coke 4, Al Alburquerque 5, Luis Marte 4, Jose Alvarez 2
Game Information
Attendance - 9075
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Victor Carapazza, First Base - Jerry Layne, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Jeff Gosney