Boyd makes convincing case for Tigers role

Left-hander struck out seven in five scoreless vs. Cardinals

Boyd makes convincing case for Tigers role

JUPITER, Fla. -- The jury remains out on whether Matt Boyd will be part of the Tigers' starting rotation or in the bullpen when the season starts. He could even start the season with Triple-A Toledo.

But the left-hander certainly made a strong case Friday for his inclusion somewhere on the team's pitching staff.

Boyd delivered his best outing of the spring in the Tigers' 2-0 Grapefruit League win against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. He tossed five shutout innings, allowing only two hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts.

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And here's another fact to digest about his performance: Boyd outdueled St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals' Opening Day starter who allowed two runs on six hits with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, and whose ERA of 3.38 is slightly higher than Boyd's 3.29 through four starts this spring.

"Probably felt the best out there that I have [this spring]," said Boyd, who exited the game after throwing 69 pitches, 47 of them for strikes. "Made some adjustments coming off [my] last start and was able to execute them. I think I got everyone [out] on all five pitches."

Boyd tamed a Cardinals lineup that included Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Matt Adams, limiting that dangerous trio to two singles and a walk in a combined nine at-bats.

"It shouldn't matter who is in the box. You just go out there and attack," Boyd said. "Obviously be smart with it and know what each hitter does, but don't let it overwhelm you and change who you are as a pitcher."

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Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said that Boyd's new slider has been a positive addition to his pitching arsenal this spring.

"I think that helped him today," Ausmus said of Boyd. "He threw strikes today. Even his curveball got some good swings. His problem has been throwing strikes at times. Because he's got a lot of movement, sometimes it's hard to command the movement. He's done that better."

Boyd said Friday's performance was "just another building block," and that he's not allowing himself to get caught up in where he stands as far as a roster spot is concerned.

"That's out of my control. That's wasted energy," Boyd said. "If I can just start to repeat and make a few adjustments, I think my 'A' game is just going to elevate, and that's just kind of the mindset I have. Got to keep extending the pitch count. At this point, it's refining."

• Tigers cleanup hitter J. D. Martinez was robbed of what would have been his fifth home run this spring when Holliday, making his first start in left field for the Cardinals this spring, reached over the wall to snag a drive by Martinez in the top of the third inning.

• Shortstop Jose Iglesias was 2-for-3 Friday, including a double, to raise his batting average to .387 this spring. 

• Catcher James McCann stayed back in Lakeland, Fla., to nurse a cold and congestion, but Ausmus said that McCann was feeling better Friday morning and might join the team in Jupiter on Saturday for the Tigers' game against the Marlins.

• Following Friday's game, the Tigers announced that right-handed pitcher Montreal Robertson has been sent to Minor League camp. 

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.