Valdez optioned as Tigers trim roster

Valdez optioned as Tigers trim roster

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers whittled down their camp roster Monday morning, optioning reliever Jose Valdez to Triple-A Toledo while sending eight non-roster invites to Minor League camp.

The moves reduce the Tigers' camp to 43 players, though they don't have a drastic impact on roster competitions. Among the cuts were right-hander Preston Guilmet, left-hander Drake Britton, catcher Miguel Gonzalez, first baseman Dominic Ficociello, infielders Tommy Field and JaCoby Jones and outfielders Mike Gerber and Jason Krizan.

Though Valdez pitched in seven games out of the Tigers' bullpen last year, he was a long shot for the club's open bullpen spots. He gave up five runs on 12 hits over 6 1/3 innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts.

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Although Jones, who is the Tigers' eighth-ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com and was the return package from Pittsburgh in the Joakim Soria trade, made an impression this camp, batting 5-for-16 with two doubles and two home runs while playing all over the place, his carryover suspension ruled him out of roster consideration. Jones will likely stay in extended spring camp to serve the remaining 39 games of his suspension, and he then will likely report to Double-A Erie.

Jones played shortstop, third base and center field this spring. He'll likely begin the season at short.

Gerber, too, batted 5-for-16 in limited action, adding two doubles, a triple and a homer. The Tigers' fifth-ranked prospect will open the season at Class A Lakeland or Double-A Erie.

Ficociello ranks 29th among Tigers prospects, and he held his own in camp, batting 6-for-24 with two doubles and six strikeouts. He'll return to Erie, where he'll serve as the first baseman.

Gonzalez will open the season at Triple-A Toledo. Depending upon whether the Tigers can keep backup catchers Bryan Holaday and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Gonzalez could well be a midseason callup candidate in case of injury.

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.