Jake Marisnick doubled twice and drove in a run as the Astros edged the Tigers 3-2 on Wednesday.
The demotion of Jonathan Singleton on Wednesday has Marisnick's stock on the rise. He's set to be the Astros' primary center fielder, with Colby Rasmus primarily in left and Evan Gattis spending most of his time at DH. Marisnick probably won't be a factor in mixed leagues, but he's a likely 20-steal guy if he starts 120-130 games, giving him AL-only value.
Dallas Keuchel pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball Wednesday versus the Tigers.
Keuchel ends the spring with a 1.80 ERA in four starts. Next up for him is a showdown with the Indians' Corey Kluber on Monday.
Joe Nathan struck out two in a scoreless inning of work against the Astros on Wednesday.
Nathan was consistently in the low-90s today, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. With Bruce Rondon looking iffy again, any chance of the Tigers releasing Nathan prior to Opening Day can be dismissed. He certainly hasn't had the most encouraging of springs, but he'll probably get the close until he gives them good reason to move on.
Chris Sale (foot) struck out 13 batters over six-plus innings Wednesday in a minor league game.
Sale gave up one run on two hits in the impressive outing against a group of Reds minor leaguers. The ace left-hander is making steady progress from an avulsion fracture in his right foot and is penciled in for an April 12 regular-season debut. If that holds, his first opponent will be the light-hitting Twins.
Anthony Gose went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts versus the Astros on Wednesday.
It's been a tale of two springs for Gose. He started out 13-for-25 with four walks and five strikeouts in his first nine games before going 6-for-38 with one walk and 13 strikeouts over his last 12 games. The Tigers were all set to open the season with him in the leadoff spot after the hot start, but they might want to rethink things. Really, though, with Jose Iglesias having a terrible spring and Alex Avila faring little better, the alternatives that Brad Ausmus was considering for the top of the lineup at the beginning of the spring hardly look like alternatives at all. Of course, we still maintain that the Tigers' best choice is just to forgo putting one of their lesser bats up there and simply crowd their five best hitters into the top five spots in the lineup.
Despite allowing six hits, Clay Buchholz pitched four scoreless innings Wednesday as a Red Sox split-squad and the Twins played to a 4-4 tie.
Buchholz struck out four and walked one. He finishes the spring with a 2.84 ERA, though his earlier results might have been more encouraging than his later ones. He'll face the Phillies, and hit for himself in the NL park, on Opening Day.
Alexi Ogando surrendered three runs while retiring just two of the eight batters he faced Wednesday against the Twins.
Ogando had impressed as of late, allowing one hit and no walks over four scoreless innings in his previous four appearances. This one, though, won't help his chances of beginning the season in a key role in the Boston pen. He will be on the team; it just remains to be seen whether he can help as a setup man or not.
Trevor Plouffe went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday against the Red Sox.
Twins manager Paul Molitor has soured on the idea of Kennys Vargas as a cleanup hitter, which means Torii Hunter and Plouffe are likely battling for those honors. Hunter seems likely to get the call -- he was in the fourth spot today -- in part because he's having the much better spring of the two. Plouffe is batting just .196 with one homer and two RBI in 51 at-bats.