2014 Spring: Catching Up with Lance Parrish

Lance Parrish is no stranger to the Detroit Tigers organization, but when it comes to managing a minor league team in the org, he's a newcomer as he'll be taking over leading the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. TigsTown caught up with Parrish to discuss his likely team, along with some key pieces of information on Dixon Machado, Francisco Martinez, and Melvin Mercedes.

Having just wrapped up a minor league game on the back fields that was a pitcher's duel, Parrish didn't have much to say about the offensive output in particular, but his comments about the position players did bring to a light a concept around aggressiveness, especially on the basepaths.

It's no secret that the Tigers have added speed to the big league roster, and it appears that's going to be a trend that will work itself down throughout the farm teams as well. Despite the lack of hits, Parrish said, "Guys are staying aggressive continuing to work, running the bases, I told these guys I want them aggressive running the bases."

He alluded to one play in particular in which Daniel Fields tried to swipe second base in the ninth inning, but was thrown out. "More times than not Daniel is going to be successful right there [stealing second base], and that gets him in position to score on any base hit," stated Parrish.

Another note on Fields; a couple days after the interview, Fields pulled up lame going into second base and was lifted from the game. The injury appears to be a slight aggravation of the groin that he's had issues with in the past. As of now, it doesn't appear to be a serious issue, but with minor league camp breaking in a week, could pose the start of the season in jeopardy.

Overall, Parrish is still getting a feel for the players on the team, and he readily admits the guys he's managing might not even be on his club when rosters are set. TigsTown frequently cautions minor league spring training observers to not take rosters on any given day into account too much, and Parrish quantified that with an educated guess.

Parrish stated when asked about how many guys he's managing that will be with him in Erie, "There's no team identity whatsoever," continuing, "we've only got maybe 40% of our team right now – we've got guys up with the big league squad today due to split squad game."

He did offer comment on a few players that are likely going to be with him.

On the shortstop position he alluded to two players with one question, stating, "Dixon Machado is with the big league club today, and I played Frankie [Francisco Martinez] over at short a few times now and he looks good there."

The comment clearly indicates he expects Machado to be the shortstop in Erie, but brings up a bigger question – are the Tigers considering a position switch for Martinez? It doesn't appear to be a clear position move, but does sound like they might be willing to be more flexible with where he plays. When asked about Martinez's position, Parrish responded, "He can play short or third or can play the outfield if I had to play him there."

Finally, with the injury to Bruce Rondon, one pitcher that is going to be watched closely is right-handed reliever Melvin Mercedes. Parrish was clearly encouraged by his arm, but cautioned about his state of readiness. Parrish said about Mercedes' inning of work, in which he walked a batter but otherwise went unscathed, "Mercedes had a bit better command today than he had the other day, hopefully that's a good sign, he's more focused today – he threw the heck out of the ball, he's got a great arm."

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