DETROIT—Funny how things can change in a year.
On Opening Day in 2009, Jeff Larish was wearing a Tigers uniform. He was considered one of the top prospects in the system after belting 21 home runs for Triple-A Toledo.
This year Larish found himself back in Toledo on Opening Day. He was removed from the 40-man roster after hitting .265/.397/.412 and in just 211 at-bats for the Mud Hens because of a wrist injury.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Larish had attitude problems as he begins a third season in Toledo. But his attitude is not a problem.
"I'm looking at this as another opportunity," he said. "There's nothing I can do about the situation I'm in. All I can do is approach it with a good attitude, play hard, have fun, and be myself.
"I know I can play up there. I just have to get the chance to prove it, and I have to be patient until that time comes."
Larish, a 2005 fifth-round pick out of Arizona State, relied on that positive attitude in spring training, batting .340 and surviving until the final roster cuts.
"I can't control what decisions are made," Larish said. "I kind of had a feeling what would happen as it got closer to the end of camp, but I can't stress enough that it was out of my control."
So Larish is working on the things he can control. He slammed a home run on Opening Day in Toledo but was hitting .231/.342/.415 in his first 18 games.
Perhaps more notable was a shift to third base for a few starts; Larish, primarily a first baseman, proved to be more than adequate at third.
Knowing that Miguel Cabrera stands in his path in Detroit, Larish also has gained some experience in the corner outfield positions, although a glut of outfielders in Toledo will limit his chances to spend more time there.
• Lefty Casey Crosby began the year on the disabled list in high Class A Lakeland with an elbow contusion. Doctors want inflammation around the elbow to subside before Crosby begins throwing, so there is no timetable for his return.
• Another top prospect, righthander Cody Satterwhite, is on the DL in Double-A Erie with a shoulder strain. Satterwhite, a second-round pick in 2008, had a 3.47 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 49 innings there last season.