Tigers' Crosby Makes Impression In Brief Showing

Lakeland, Fla.—Casey Crosby didn't last long in the competition to be the Tigers' fifth starter. The 23-year-old lefthander pitched in three spring training games, allowing six hits while walking six in six innings.

But don't think Crosby didn't make an impression on Detroit manager Jim Leyland.

"His ceiling is, for me—I'm not talking about (Justin) Verlander or those guys, I'm talking about a lot of the young guys—I think this guy's ceiling is as high as anybody's," Leyland said.

Crosby will begin this season as part of a Triple-A Toledo rotation that should feature some of the Tigers' top arms, including top prospect Jacob Turner. While some scouts expect the 6-foot-5, 200-pound Crosby may eventually become a reliever, he will get innings to help him make up for lost development time.

A fifth-round pick in 2007, Crosby signed, hurt his elbow in instructional league and missed nearly all of 2008. He returned in 2009 and pitched well at low Class A West Michigan, but more elbow problems wiped out almost all of his 2010 campaign.

He bounced back last season at Double-A Erie, going 9-7, 4.10. And while Crosby has shown flashes of brillance—he had 117 strikeouts in 105 innings in 2009, then fanned 121 in 132 innings last year—the injuries have slowed his development.

The Tigers hope to speed things back up with consistent work as a starter this year with the Mud Hens.

"He's a little crude yet, obviously, but he has a chance to be a really good major league pitcher," Leyland said. "He should have a big future."


• The Tigers claimed lefty Kelvin de la Cruz on waivers from the Indians. The 23-year-old had a 4.19 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 96 innings for Double-A Akron last year.

• Righthander Zack Segovia signed a minor league deal with the Tigers. Last season he went 5-4, 3.98 in 45 relief appearances for the Brewers' Triple-A Nashville affiliate.