LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has made it clear that he isn't going to make a judgment call solely on Spring Training results. If he were, Ausmus would have a tough time discerning what to make of Shane Greene and Daniel Norris in their second spring outings.
Both felt better giving up multi-run innings in a 6-5 win over the Rays on Tuesday than they did in four innings of one-run ball combined last Thursday against the Braves. They felt more composed, relaxed and varied with their pitches, and felt like they learned lessons from that last outing.
Greene and Norris had to shake off damage from an aggressive Rays lineup that made them work.
"That's right where I need to be," Norris said. "The results will come. I'm not super concerned about that right now. If you do, it's kind of pointless."
Norris changed speeds, mixed pitches and broke off some curveballs. He cut some fastballs because he wanted to, not because he was cutting off his delivery and cut the pitches by accident.
Greene, who showed some impressive velocity last time out, built off of that and hit 95-96 mph on the gun at Joker Marchant Stadium, which has been generous in the past but also read some breaking balls at 42 mph. Greene didn't throw his slider that slow, but he had good movement on it and induced some swing-and-misses, including a strikeout of James Loney with a runner on third and one out in the third.
Said Greene: "I felt really good. I'm not exactly sure what [the velocity] was, but it felt good."
Still, the battle rolls on. If anything, it could pick up with the entry of Michael Fulmer, who has looked dominant in two relief appearances. However, Fulmer will make the start on Friday against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla.
"Just to keep you guessing," Ausmus said of that move.
It wasn't the velocity on his fastball, but the location that doomed Greene, who had three groundouts but gave up his share of damage in the air. After Taylor Motter doubled in Nick Franklin, Greene battled out of a 2-0 count to get back to even on Kyle Roller, following up a 95-mph fastball for a called strike with an offspeed pitch that sent Roller swinging.
With a 2-2 count, Greene looked to jam Roller inside but missed. Roller sent a line drive to left-center that caught enough of a breeze to carry out for a two-run homer.
"That was a fastball," Greene said. "I was trying to go in and I left it middle-up. Really, it comes down to that one pitch. If I could get that one back, it might be a little different."
Greene pounded the strike zone for 35 of his 44 total pitches. Norris entered for the fourth and did much of the same, and the Rays jumped him for four singles and two runs. Norris threw just 17 pitches over the seven-batter frame.
By contrast, four of the five batters Norris faced in the fifth worked the count full. Norris fanned two of them, Loney and Franklin, both on changeups set up by fastballs, which registered up to 95 mph.
"Obviously you look at the line -- five hits, a couple runs -- and I care about the results, but at this point, I want to my stuff to be there," Norris said. "I was really pleased with that. Curveball was great. I was throwing my changeup for strikes and swing-and-misses, and swing-and-misses on my fastball. I felt crisp, and that's exactly where I wanted to be. That's a good one to build off of."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.