Tigers to feel out new brick wall behind plate

Wilson, Maybin begin rehab assignments; Hardy on verge of starting his own

Tigers to feel out new brick wall behind plate

DETROIT -- After the Tigers encountered a freak play on Opening Day with a bad bounce off the backstop in Miami, they returned home to a new backstop.

While Comerica Park didn't undergo any major changes in the offseason, the one cosmetic shift was noticeable behind home plate. The green-padded backstop that had been a familiar backdrop on television since the ballpark opened in 2000 is gone, replaced by a short brick wall on either side of the home-plate tunnel.

Realmuto throws out Iglesias

The change should have a bigger impact on watching the game than actually playing it, but catcher James McCann said he wants to get a read on whether the bounces will be any different. If the ball hits the advertising boards, it shouldn't be any different than in the past. Anywhere else could be interesting, even though the bricks used have a relatively flat front.

Considering some wild pitches or throws from the outfield can fly back there and bounce before he can turn to look back, knowing what to expect can gain him a key split-second.

"We're going to have to see how it plays," McCann said Friday morning. "You definitely have to pay attention to whether you're playing the angles right."

Backup catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed.

"It's something to take into account, that's for sure," he said.

Injury updates

Alex Wilson began his Minor League rehab assignment Thursday at Class A Advanced Lakeland, where the right-handed reliever gave up three runs on four hits over 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts, throwing 33 pitches. Wilson, on the 15-day disabled list with right rotator cuff capsulitis, will get two days off before making his next appearance Sunday. The Tigers are hoping he can return in mid-April.

Cameron Maybin, also on the 15-day DL while recovering from a fractured right wrist, went 0-for-2 with a walk in his first rehab appearance for Lakeland. He's scheduled to play again on Saturday as he tries to accumulate the at-bats he missed in Spring Training. His lone Grapefruit League at-bat ended with a Luis Severino fastball hitting his wrist.

Maybin injured by HBP

Blaine Hardy, on the 15-day DL while recovering from a left shoulder impingement, will begin his rehab assignment with Lakeland on Saturday.

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.