Moya adjusting to offspeed stuff

Tigers outfielder shows marked improvement

DETROIT—Steven Moya's first taste of professional baseball in the United States was a bitter one.

Moya hit .204/.234/.362 in 86 games with low Class A West Michigan in 2011 and made eight errors in the outfield. But there were two silver linings to that experience: Moya was young, having turned 21 last August, and he is applying lessons learned from those challenges this year.

Moya has become one of the more dangerous hitters in the Midwest League this season, batting .295/.322/.460 for the Whitecaps and earning a berth in the league's all-star game.

"Sometimes last year I tried to do too much," said Moya, who signed with the Tigers in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic. "Last year taught me what I have to change, what I have to work on."

The report on Moya last season was that the 6-foot-7, 230-pounder could hit a fastball—but little else.

"I saw changeups and curves last year, and now I know better how pitchers work," he said. "Now I am ready for the fastball, but I adjust to other pitches. You have to wait for your pitch. You wait for a mistake, and then you do your job."

Moya was red-hot to start the season, batting .377 until sustaining a hamstring injury in late April. His batting average tailed off in May, but he did hit four home runs that month and has shown extra-base power to all fields. He had 13 doubles, a triple and six home runs among his first 59 hits.

"Last year, pitchers would see me open my shoulder (to pull the ball), and they would pitch me outside," Moya said. "I had to think to myself, 'I have to go the other way with that pitch.' I can get home runs to go the other way, too."


• Joining Moya from West Michigan as Midwest League all-star representatives were DH Dean Green, shortstop Eugenio Suarez and righthanders Tommy Collier and Michael Torrealba. Four high Class A Lakeland players were named to the Florida State League all-star game: third baseman Nick Castellanos, outfielder Avisail Garcia, catcher James McCann and righthander Bruce Rondon.

• Cale Iorg has returned from shoulder surgery that threatened to wipe out his 2012 season. Iorg is playing for Lakeland, seeing action primarily at second base after spending nearly his entire pro career as a shortstop.