Crosby's Stats Deceive

Tigers lefty shows progress

DETROIT—If you look strictly at wins and losses, lefthander Casey Crosby struggled at the end of the 2012 season.

The 24-year-old lost his last four starts and six of his last seven with Triple-A Toledo, finishing with a 7-9, 4.01 record. But wins and losses didn't tell the story for Crosby, who had several fine starts late and suffered losses only because of the struggles of the Mud Hens' offense.

The Illinois native, a fifth-round pick of the Tigers in 2007, allowed only one earned run in four of the losses in that streak. Crosby, who missed large parts of 2008 and 2010 because of injuries, also proved his durability by throwing 126 innings that, when combined with 121⁄3 innings in a three-start cameo with the Tigers, constituted a career high.

Crosby's strikeouts were down in the second half of the season, but he still finished with 112, including eight in six innings in a late-season start against Louisville.

"Maybe I threw my curveball a little too much, but they were swinging at it and making outs," Crosby said. "Early in some games I noticed they were taking good hacks (at the fastball) and swinging early, so I had to be aggressive with my curveball."

But while the strikeouts were down, so too were the walks that have plagued him much of his career. He allowed one walk in a three-start stretch in late August and finished with 65, down from the 77 at Double-A Erie one year earlier.

Tiger Tales

• The Tigers signed righthander Shawn Hill to a minor league contract. Hill made one appearance with Toronto last season after posting a 4.52 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas.

• Two of the Tigers' better prospects struggled offensively in the Arizona Fall League. Third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos batted .242/.309/.333 in 24 games and struck out 31 times in 99 at-bats, while catcher James McCann hit .195/.233/.195 in 14 contests.