Notes: Table tennis tournament underway at Tigers’ spring training

LAKELAND, Fla. — Let the games begin.

Last year the Tigers competed in a team basketball shooting competition.

This year it’s every man for himself in the table tennis tournament.

The brackets have been hung in the clubhouse for all to see.

Unfortunately for manager Brad Ausmus, he didn’t last long.

"I lost to Manny Pina," Ausmus said. "He beat me fair and square, 21-14."

Someone joked that it was no way to make the team, beating the manager in the first round.

"Oh, no, he’s going down tomorrow," Ausmus joked.

Outfielder Wynton Bernard played catcher Austin Green.

"I already lost," Bernard said. "He got me good."

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Daniel Fields has a difficult first-round opponent, tournament organizer and hitting coach Wally Joyner.

"I got my work cut out," Fields said. "I’ll get some practice in. I’ll be ready."

Kyle Lobstein’s first opponent is first baseman Jordan Lennerton.

"I don’t play very often," Lobstein said. "I played once last year in Cleveland. Lenny plays pretty often, I guess, more than I do so he’s pretty good. So he’ll be tough for me to try and move on from that first round. I’m not sure about these other guys."

Tom Gorzelanny has confidence going in.

"I’m pretty good," Gorzelanny said. I’ve been playing it pretty much my whole life. I’m not a stud. I can hang. I can do it."

Most people agree that Blaine Hardy drew the short straw, having to face Ian Kinsler in his first match.

"I don’t really know who’s good or anything," Gorzelanny said. "But I just have a weird feeling that Kinsler might be pretty good. There’s something about him. He’s got the look of a ping-pong player."

Once Ian Krol looked at the bracket, he turned to Hardy and said, "Oh, you’re done, man."

Hardy is not conceding anything, saying he plans to practice before he takes on Kinsler.

But Kinsler is also practicing, if you check out the video J.D. Martinez posted on his Twitter account, @JDMartinez14.

No matter who wins, the competition is a good thing for everyone.

"It’s great," Gorzelanny said. "You gotta keep it loose in here. It gets pretty tedious out here, you’re doing the same thing every single day. You don’t want it to be boring. It’s fun to have these meetings, guys rag on each other and make jokes. We have all this fun stuff we do as a team. It’s a good way to bond as a team and good way to get through spring training."

RAIN LIMITS TIGERS’ PRACTICE SATURDAY.

It’s not freezing cold like it is back in Michigan, but the rain wasn’t any fun for the Tigers Saturday.

"This is the second day we’ve missed out on fundamentals so we won’t do it tomorrow but on Monday we’ll probably combine a couple fundamentals," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Hopefully it doesn’t rain tomorrow and the fields dry out and we can get one in tomorrow."

Ausmus said most of the players know how to execute each one of the fundamentals, but it’s good to do them so everyone knows the signs.

"Certain things you gotta cover before the games start," Ausmus said. "You gotta have your first and third steal defense signs because if they run a first and third steal in the first game you gotta have your signs and everyone has to know where they’re supposed to be. Same thing with bunt plays. They can handle it, we just gotta cover it."

Ausmus said they would likely go over each fundamental one more time later in spring training.

The pitchers were still able to get their work in.

Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, Alfredo Simon, Alex Wilson, Kyle Lobstein and Rafael Dolis were among those who threw with live hitters standing in.

It was the first time for Chamberlain having live hitters stand there. Ausmus said he believes Chamberlain threw around 30 pitches.

Hitters all took their turns in the indoor cages.

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