Detroit Tigers Face Nine-Time NCAA Division II Champion In Spring Training Tune-Up

By John Ginder
Andrew Weber – USA Today Sport

Finally, it’s about that time. Spring Training is well underway and games are starting to be played. While most of us are still digging cars out from the snow that is seemingly never going to end, others are basking in the warm Florida sun, watching America’s pastime. It almost isn’t fair, but it is what it is.

Today, the Detroit Tigers were in action against the Florida Southern College Moccasins. FSC, as they are more affectionately known, has won nine NCAA Division II baseball titles and are currently 9-5 this season. This game is really nothing more then a spring tune-up for the Tigers before they start taking on the rest of the MLB teams in the Grapefruit League.

First year manager Brad Ausmus marched out what will be very close to his Opening Day lineup today in the team’s first game action of the spring. The outcome wasn’t much of a surprise, as the Tigers beat the “Mocs” 12-0. It is impossible to judge a team based on its performance during the spring. The Tigers are looking to get themselves back into the postseason and hope that the moves they made will propel them all the way to a Championship.

One of the moves that raised some eyebrows was the acquisition of Ian Kinsler from the Texas Rangers.  The Tigers got a good infielder who can run and hit and leadoff, all things teams look for  It was what it cost them — the Tigers dealt first baseman Prince Fielder, who just signed a hefty free agent deal the year before.

The arrival of Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain and Rajai Davis, to name a few, are also going to play major roles in the team’s successes. One thing the Tigers lacked was a reliable closer, and they certainly found their man in Nathan.

FSC is managed by former major league player Lance Niekro. Niekro, who is the son of Joe Niekro and nephew of Phil Niekro, is in his second year as manager.  The 28 year old played  in parts of four seasons with the San Francisco Giants from 2003-07.

It is still way too early to even think about where this team will be in September, but one thing is for certain, baseball is back.

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