Tigers’ Boyd looks to continue success vs. Twins (Aug 13, 2017)

DETROIT — The possibility of Detroit Tigers third baseman Nicholas Castellanos shifting to right field next season will be explored in the next few weeks and perhaps into spring training.

Castellanos will immediately begin taking fly balls in right during batting practice, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said before Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins.

“He’s going to start working in right field. We’ll see how it goes,” Ausmus said. “We’re not going to put him in a game. We’re weeks away from putting him in a game.

“Al (general manager Avila) and I talked to Nick on Friday. I had talked to Nick before that. He’s actually gung-ho about it. He wants to do it.”

Detroit closes its weekend series with Minnesota on Sunday with southpaw Matthew Boyd (5-6, 5.64 ERA) seeking to get back on track after two poor starts. Boyd is 5-1 with a 3.52 ERA in eight starts against the Twins, including 2-0 in three starts this season.

Minnesota counters with right-hander Ervin Santana (12-7, 3.27 ERA), who is 9-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 20 career starts against Detroit. His shortest start of the season, 3 1/3 innings, came against the Tigers on July 21 at Target Field.

While manager Paul Molitor knows who’s going to start, he isn’t sure who would finish if a save opportunity comes up for the Twins.

Minnesota has been without an established closer since trading right-hander Brandon Kintzler before the end of July. Molitor has alerted all of his relievers to be ready.

Of the Twins’ current pitchers, only two have saves this season. Matt Belisle has two and Dillon Gee one.

Belisle (0-2) took the loss Saturday night when he gave up a walk-off, two-run homer in the ninth to Detroit left fielder Justin Upton. Detroit blew a 5-0 first-inning lead but rallied from an 11-6 deficit in the sixth to pull out a 12-11 win.

“At least to this point, there’s no question that no matter who I’ve called on, he seems to have been throwing the ball well,” Molitor said before the loss. “I think it’s kind of a challenge for these guys with Kintz being gone knowing that they might be asked to do things a little bit differently and not sure day to day of where they might have their name called at any particular juncture of the game.

“I would love to get a little bit more settled, but as it is now and between guys that are fresh, guys that are not, guys who match up particularly well in various situations, when I’m looking for double plays or strikeouts, all those kind of things. And I kind of sense when I talk to those guys that they’re enjoying that. Hopefully they keep pitching well.”

Detroit’s void in right field was created when it dealt right fielder J.D. Martinez to Arizona two weeks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and no obvious replacement in view.

The club also acquired a slew of third base/shortstop minor leaguers in deals for Martinez, left-hander Justin Wilson and backup catcher Alex Avila to restock a farm system bereft of position players. Of course, that triggered talk that Castellanos, who has regressed defensively this year, will be moved off the position in the spring.

“I brought it up to them,” Castellanos said. “I’m willing to do it if it makes things better for them. I’ve been on a defensive merry-go-round. (He was a high school shortstop who Detroit shifted to third immediately after signing). I’ve been to third, right, left and back to third.

“I’m way more of an adult than I was at 19.”