Yankees-Tigers Preview

DETROIT (AP) - In Detroit, Kirk Gibson is remembered for much more than his famous home run off Dennis Eckersley.

Four years before that 1988 homer that propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers to a World Series title, Gibson homered three times in the postseason for the Tigers. The championship Detroit won in 1984 is still the team's most recent World Series title, and those memories linger in Motown as the Tigers prepare for this season's home opener Friday against the New York Yankees. Gibson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Gibson, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, does some broadcasting now for Fox Sports Detroit. He was at spring training with the Tigers this year as a guest instructor.

''Gibby is one of the greatest Tigers of all-time,'' Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. ''He's got probably one of the top-10 best video highlights ever recorded in major league baseball history. He's a great guy and he's been a big help to me this spring.''

Detroit returns home after opening the season with two wins at Miami. The Tigers are eager to put their last-place finish of 2015 behind them and return to the form that won them the AL Central the previous four years, but they have plenty of questions this season. On the mound for Detroit on Friday will be Jordan Zimmermann, making his first start for the Tigers after signing a $110 million, five-year deal this past offseason.

Detroit's offense has been impressive so far, with Victor Martinez homering twice in two at-bats and the Tigers scoring 15 runs in two games. There were some anxious moments, however, such as when newly acquired closer Francisco Rodriguez blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning of the opener - a game Detroit eventually won 8-7 in 11.

The Yankees opened by taking two of three at home against Houston. Starlin Castro went 7 for 12 with two homers and eight RBIs, Didi Gregorius and Brian McCann each went 5 for 11 with a home run and Mark Teixeira hit two homers and drove in seven.

Castro is the first player in the majors with at least eight RBIs in his first three games for a new team since Calvin Pickering had 11 for Kansas City in 2004.

''This is the whole package. The Yankees are the whole package,'' Teixeira said. ''I mean once you play for the Yankees, you've kind of reached the pinnacle of Major League Baseball.''

Manager Joe Girardi said New York sent right-hander Luis Severino ahead early to Detroit. He'll make Friday's start.

Severino went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts last season, when he made his big league debut. The 22-year-old struck out 25 in exhibition play, tops among Grapefruit League pitchers.

''I think for a lot of us, when you're the visiting team on opening day, all the pageantry can kind of throw off your routine,'' Yankees reliever Andrew Miller said. ''But it's a nice accomplishment for guys who made the roster for the first time, those Tigers who will line up for the first time and be introduced.''

Perhaps the cold air in Michigan will help keep both offenses under control. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 30s around game time Friday, and the rest of the weekend might be even colder.

''It'll be cold. But whatever the weather, those fans show up,'' said Miller, who pitched for the Tigers from 2006-07. ''It's a historical place for baseball, a good stadium.''

The Yankees won five of seven meetings last season, with Brett Gardner batting .400. J.D. Martinez hit .444 with three homers, four doubles and nine RBIs for Detroit.

Severino has never faced the Tigers, while Zimmermann is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against the Yankees. Gregorius is 3 for 8 with a homer when facing Zimmermann, while Castro is 5 for 25 and Teixeira 0 for 6 with three strikeouts.