Gose to face live hitters Wednesday

Ex-center fielder set for next step in transition to pitching

Gose to face live hitters Wednesday

DETROIT -- The pitching experiment for former Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose is about to progress to actual hitters.

Gose, the former high school pitching prospect who expressed an interest in pitching again after being sent out of big league camp last month, is scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game at extended spring camp in Lakeland, Fla., on Wednesday, manager Brad Ausmus said.

The Tigers have been intrigued by the idea of Gose's potential as a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher. Gose has a fastball in the mid-90s and has dusted off the curveball he used to throw in high school.

"The report on the curveball is that it's very good," Ausmus said.

In theory, that two-pitch package could be enough to work as a lefty reliever. However, there's a lot of work left for Gose to do, including pitching in actual extended spring games against opposing hitters as well as fielding practice and drills. So far, however, the project has progressed surprisingly well, in part because of Gose's attitude on the move.

"It was a tough decision for him," Ausmus said, "and he didn't want to give up on playing the outfield. I think he figured it was something that he should explore, because if he continued to play the outfield and five years from now it didn't work out, he would've been kicking himself for not at least exploring pitching."

At the same time, the Tigers continue to work with Gose as a hitter, getting him at-bats to keep him fresh when he isn't throwing side sessions. That raises the possibility that he could work as a two-way player like Padres backup catcher/reliever Christian Bethancourt.

Bethancourt induces a flyout

"He's still young enough that he can still play and develop as a hitter," Ausmus said. "I think it's more of an exploration."

Worth noting

• The Tigers announced Wednesday that they've signed veteran first baseman James Loney to a Minor League contract, furthering their depth in the farm system. Loney, who turns 33 next month, is a .284 career hitter in 11 Major League seasons, including .265 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 100 games for the Mets last year. He'll initially report to Lakeland for extended spring camp.

• Outfielder J.D. Martinez, currently rehabbing his sprained right foot in extended spring camp, could join the Tigers for batting practice next week when the team faces the Rays at Tropicana Field. Martinez began taking batting practice this week in Lakeland.

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.