Earlier this week, Tigers manager Jim Leyland brushed off a question about Ramon Santiago's health, saying only, "I'll let you know when he's ready to play."

Well, he did so Friday morning — with the release of the day's lineup against the New York Mets for a game at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Santiago will make his spring debut, after battling a calf injury.

He is scheduled to play shortstop and lead off.

It's good timing for Santiago to get back in the lineup, especially after his main competition for a spot on the roster as a backup infielder, Danny Worth, went 3-for-3 with a double off the wall and two RBIs in Thursday night's game against the Braves. That raised his Grapefruit League average to .389.

To start the spring, Santiago seemed the logical choice to make the team, despite a rough year at the plate in 2012, simply because he's under contract for another year and Worth still has a minor league option.

But that seems less set in stone now, especially with Worth, 27, having the versatility to play short, second and third. On Thursday, he even played first base for a bit, and even made one nice stretch to get an out.

But first, really? Leyland explained.

"Well, what if (Don) Kelly doesn't make the team and Danny does?" he said. "Don't read anything into it, other than we're trying to use our versatility to find out what we have."

Slowly, but surely, the Tigers are getting healthy. Andy Dirks returned last week, Brennan Boesch made his first start for the Tigers on Thursday, and now Santiago, 33, is back. And Quintin Berry is due back shortly from a knee that's bothered him.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130308/SPORTS0104/303080411#ixzz2MxfBp1QX