Tigers announce Winter Caravan schedule

Cabrera, Verlander, Fulmer among players slated to participate

DETROIT -- The Tigers will visit the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, honor a fallen police officer, visit patients at DMC Children's Hospital, work as celebrity servers at Hard Rock Café and check out cars at the North American International Auto Show as part of their annual Winter Caravan next Thursday and Friday.

The tour leads up to TigerFest at Comerica Park on Jan. 21, while providing fans with a glimpse of spring amid winter's chill.

"Year in and year out, the players, manager and coaches have made a commitment to engaging with fans throughout the state of Michigan," Tigers vice president of public affairs and strategic planning Elaine Lewis said in a statement, "and they enjoy seeing the smiles, hearing the cheers, and feeling the passion and outpouring support from fans. It speaks to the impact the Tigers' caravan can have for all."

General manager Al Avila and manager Brad Ausmus are slated to join Tigers players, coaches, broadcasters and officials on a schedule that includes nearly 30 stops across two tours -- one around metro Detroit and into Toledo, the other across the state to Grand Rapids and nearby areas. A full list of players attending is expected to be announced next week.

The caravan begins Thursday with a public event at the DSO, where Avila, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and others will help the orchestra celebrate the opening day of its Mozart Festival with a Piano Sonata marathon. The event is free and open to the public, with the Tigers scheduled to arrive sometime after 1 p.m. ET.

Around the same time, between 1 and 2 p.m., Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez will be downtown, helping serve customers at Hard Rock Café.

Tigers players will visit DMC Children's Hospital, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mariner's Inn and the Farmington Public Safety Department in the afternoon before a pair of public events in the evening. At Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, fans who bring canned goods for donation to the Salvation Army will have the chance to take photos with Kinsler and Martinez sometime during the 5 p.m. ET hour. Around the same time, Justin Verlander, Cabrera, Upton, Norris, Boyd and others will visit kids at Clarenceville High School in Livonia.

Ausmus, meanwhile, will spend Thursday evening in Toledo, where he'll join Jose Iglesias and new Mud Hens manager Mike Rojas at the team's winter party from 6-7 p.m. ET at Fifth Third Field.

Over in Grand Rapids, Tigers players and officials will take part in the West Michigan Whitecaps' annual winter banquet, where catcher Alex Avila will be inducted into the Whitecaps Hall of Fame. The banquet is sold out.

On Friday, the Tigers will visit Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the FBI's local office and DTE Energy headquarters before heading to Wayne State University, where the team will help honor the memory of fallen police officer Colin Rose. The Tigers will present a jersey to Wayne State police chief Anthony Holt and a gift to the parents and fiancé of Sgt. Rose.

Tigers players on the west side of the state will make a visit to the Meijer store in Holland before meeting with members of the University of Michigan athletic department Friday afternoon as part of the school's 200th anniversary celebration.

The caravan closes with the Tigers' annual visit to the auto show around 3 p.m. ET. Verlander, Upton, Martinez, Fulmer, Iglesias and JaCoby Jones are slated to take a tour and participate in a question-and-answer session.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. 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.