Gross, who will probably start the season at Triple-A Syracuse
because of Toronto's crowded outfield, is batting .500 with 11
"Coming in there isn't a spot for him right now," manager John
Gibbons said. "But he has everybody's attention. I will leave it
Toronto's first pick in the 2000 draft, Gross played in 44 games
for the Blue Jays in 2004 and hit .209 with three homers and 16
RBI. But now he's on his best streak in a long time.
"You'd have to go all the way back to high school or college
and aluminum bats," Gross said. "I've had some pretty good
hitting streaks, but I don't think I've ever had this many home
runs in so few at-bats.
"I don't think I'd be honest with anybody if I said I didn't
want to be in the big leagues. Whether or not that happens, I don't
know," he said. "I'm not in the position to make that decision.
I'm going to showcase everything I can about myself in the hopes
that it can get me there."
Making his third start, Towers allowed one run and two hits in
four innings. He walked two and struck out one, throwing 45 of his
67 pitches for strikes.
"I am pleased with the outing," Towers said. "In the fourth
inning I think I could have made better pitches. I was throwing
strikes and locating them pretty good today. I just went after
Guillermo Quiroz's RBI single in the seventh tied it at 2.
Toronto put two on in the 10th with two outs, but left fielder
Craig Monroe ended the threat by leaning into the stands to catch
John-Ford Griffin's slicing pop foul.
Monroe is the front-runner for the everyday job in center field
after the Tigers released Alex Sanchez earlier Tuesday.
Nook Logan and Dewayne Wise split center-field duties against
Toronto. Sanchez's departure also leaves the leadoff spot open.
"This is a pretty big move," Tigers manager Alan Trammell
said. "Our options are good, but I don't know how it's going to
Logan went 0-for-3 as the leadoff hitter, and Wise was 1-for-2.
Mainly a corner outfielder in the past, Monroe has played only
29 major league games in center.
"I know it's going to be an adjustment," he said. "I can
accept that if that's the situation I'm put in."
Jason Johnson, expected to start on opening day for Detroit,
gave up one run and four hits in four innings.
Tigers closer Troy Percival threw two scoreless innings.
"He told me that's the first time in six years he's gone two
innings," Trammell said.
The Tigers placed 2B Fernando Vina on the 60-day disabled
list with a right hamstring strain and patellar tendinitis in his
left knee. ... Toronto CF Vernon Wells is hitting .136 in seven
games with one RBI. "It's just a slow start," hitting coach Mike
Barnett said. "He says he is seeing the ball great and is feeling
good. He's just letting the ball travel and getting his timing."
... The last two AL Cy Young Award winners will face each other
Wednesday when Toronto RHP Roy Halladay (2003) faces Minnesota LHP
Johan Santana (2004). ... In seven games at 1B this spring,
converted 3B Eric Hinske has not made an error for Toronto. Hinske
was drafted by the Cubs as a first baseman and played there in
rookie ball. ... Blue Jays 3B Corey Koskie (groin strain) is still
three to four days from returning to game action.