Frayed elbow ligaments are tops on baseball's list of job hazards, which is why most big league clubs each year arrive at spring camp with a pitcher from somewhere in their system on the comeback from Tommy John surgery.

What makes Steven Moya's situation different is his position. He is an outfielder, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound right fielder only 21 years old and barely seven months recovered from last June's ligament-replacement procedure on his right elbow.

What makes his particular case relevant as the Tigers continue their spring training check-ins at Tigertown is that Moya is one of Detroit's top five hitting prospects.

"I'm almost there," Moya said Friday as he dressed inside the minor league clubhouse at Tigertown, where Tigers pitchers and catchers will formally begin 2013 workouts Tuesday. "Throwing 150 feet. Yessir, just about there."

Just about there. The same words could have described Moya's 2012 season. He already had ripped nine home runs and was cruising with a .288 batting average and .801 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) until a June 26 game at Fifth Third Field in Comstock Park, Mich., where Moya and the West Michigan Whitecaps were playing Bowling Green.

Moya parked beneath a fly ball that had been poked to right field. As he waited for it, the runner at second base set himself for the sprint to third. Moya, who throws right-handed but bats left-handed, loaded for his throw.