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 Matt Mantei Update

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PostSubject: Matt Mantei Update   Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:32 pm

'I WANT TO GET ANOTHER RING:' Injury plagued pitcher hopes to impress Tigers

January 9, 2008

By JON PAUL MOROSI

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Matt Mantei had never before thrown bullpen sessions this early in the year. Today, though, he plans to complete his fifth of this winter.

Later this week, he will drive from his Stevensville home to Comerica Park, for the throwing session that will determine his professional future.

If Mantei impresses Tigers officials on Friday – and he resolutely expects to do so – the team will likely offer him a minor-league contract, along with the chance to revive an injury-plagued career.

“So far, so good,” Mantei said, when reached by telephone Tuesday. “I’ve been going four or five days a week. I feel great. I’m at about 85-90%, which is what Dave (Dombrowski) wanted.”

Mantei has known Dombrowski, Detroit’s president/general manager, since their time together with the Florida Marlins in the late 1990s. The two spoke in October about Mantei’s plans to make a comeback.

If Mantei throws well for the team and passes a physical exam – also scheduled for Friday – the sides could reach a contractual agreement rather quickly; money is hardly Mantei’s foremost priority.

“I’ll play for the minimum,” he said in October. “I just really want to play again. I want to get another ring.”

Mantei, a 34-year-old right-hander, has not pitched in the major leagues since July 1, 2005, but was one of the game’s top closers before two shoulder surgeries and a painful elbow ligament-replacement sidetracked his career.

As of now, the Tigers are not counting on Mantei to be part of their big-league bullpen on Opening Day. But he could become a valuable reliever during the year if he regains a feel for his hard, moving fastball and sharp-breaking slider. He had his best big-league seasons in 1999 (32 saves with the Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks) and 2003 (29 saves with the Diamondbacks).


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PostSubject: Re: Matt Mantei Update   Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:06 pm

Tigers sign reliever Matt Mantei to one-year deal

January 11, 2008

By JON PAUL MOROSI

FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

Matt Mantei decided months ago that he wanted to sign a contract with the Tigers for the 2008 season. He merely wanted a chance to come to big-league camp and did not care if he pitched for the major-league minimum salary.

Today, everything came to pass, just as he had hoped.

Mantei threw a bullpen session for club officials this morning, and then agreed on a one-year minor-league contract with the club. He will make the minimum salary, $390,000, if he pitches in the majors all year.

Mantei negotiated directly with Detroit president/general manager Dave Dombrowski.

“He shook Dave’s hand and said, ‘Pay me what you want to. The minimum’s fine with me,’” said Bob Garber, Mantei’s agent. “He just wanted the opportunity. He’s not out to get rich this year.”

By early afternoon, Mantei was driving to his home in Stevensville, where he planned to celebrate the start of his comeback with family and friends.

“I’m going to pitch the best that I can and see what happens,” he said. “This is going to be a great team to be on.”

Mantei’s contract includes an out clause after the first month of the regular season. If he’s not in the majors by May 1, he could retire or ask for his release.

Other than that, the deal does not include any incentives or escalators. Mantei simply wants to pitch and could fit into a bullpen that has been weakened by the loss of Joel Zumaya to shoulder surgery.

For Mantei, a 34-year-old right-hander, remaining healthy will be the key. He has not pitched in the major leagues since July 1, 2005, but was one of the game’s top closers before two shoulder surgeries and a painful elbow ligament-replacement sidetracked his career.

As of now, the Tigers are not counting on Mantei to be part of their big-league bullpen on Opening Day. But he could become a valuable reliever during the year if he regains a feel for his hard, moving fastball and sharp-breaking slider. He had his best big-league seasons in 1999 (32 saves with the Marlins and Arizona Diamondbacks) and 2003 (29 saves with the Diamondbacks).


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PostSubject: Re: Matt Mantei Update   Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:13 pm

Could come in handy!


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