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 Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX

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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:29 pm

Day 1 notes: Leyland targets Valverde for PFP
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 14, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Remember Jim Leyland's running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who's competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.

"I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want," Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.

"Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off," he said after another one.

Valverde loved it. He had a good laugh whenever Leyland said it. And then he came up with some pretty impressive grabs for a Big Potato.

Leyland loved that, too.

"He's a fun guy," Leyland said of Valverde after the workout. "He's really got one of the better personalities I've ever been around. And I guess when you're that big and strong, it's probably a good thing you've got a good personality.

"He's legitimately fun to be around. I like him a lot."

Leyland also likes the PFP drills a lot, because the way they set it up, pitchers see a good number of ground balls without a lot of standing around. They separate the pitchers into groups and split them onto the four back fields of the Tigertown complex, then rotate them around. Each field emphasizes a different area.

"I think it's a good drill," Leyland said. "And I will do it for as long as I manage."

Other things worth noting on the first day of official workouts:

* Leyland mentioned this as a key camp for Tigers pitching prospects Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner and Charlie Furbush, even though their chances of making the team out of camp are slim (Furbush might have a better chance as a potential lefty reliever). Barring injuries, they won't be part of the starting five, but they stand as the Tigers' best options for insurance starters if somebody gets hurt, either here or during the season. "We want these guys to start this process today to get themselves prepared to get as close as they can," Leyland said. "And if something does come up, maybe somebody is ready by the camp."

* For someone with such a key role on this team, Austin Jackson had possibly the quietest entrance of any potential star player this spring, which probably says a lot about how much he has learned in his second year. He showed up Monday morning after the clubhouse had emptied and pitchers and catchers had taken the field, then got in his work.

* Among the arrivals Monday was Max St. Pierre, who reported to camp noticeably lighter. That wasn't by design. He said he had two bouts of stomach virus and the flu, the combination of which dropped 15 pounds off his frame. He's fine now, but he wants to regain some of that weight before the season starts.

* Speaking of weight loss, Joel Zumaya said he's down to 230 pounds, but wants to put on some weight before the season starts. "I want to be at the 240 range," he said. "I'm at 230-231. But that's just getting muscle and eating a little more. ... If I can stay between 235 and 240, I think I'm good."

* In case you were wondering, Don Kelly was not among the catchers who took their place for bullpen sessions Monday morning. He was working with the other position players. That's fine, because Leyland said a month ago that Kelly didn't have to report with the catchers. Kelly was here early by his own choice.

* Remember the ill-fated mohawk idea that went through the Tigers clubhouse last year? Detroit's bullpen might have a replacement for it. Because right now, there are a lot of beards among the relievers, and not many plans to shave them anytime soon. Zumaya has pretty much a full beard and says he's keeping it when the season starts. Schlereth has a beard fit for his native Alaska. Ryan Perry has a bit of one going. If it catches on, it'll be a little cleaner looking than the mohawk one.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:32 pm

Day 2 update: Don't count out Clete Thomas
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM

It's easy to forget, but Carlos Guillen wasn't the only Tiger who had microfracture knee surgery last year. But since Clete Thomas had his surgery in June rather than September, there are way fewer questions about his situation.

"I'm raring to go," Thomas said Tuesday morning.

He arrived at camp on Monday without any major restrictions of what he can do. And with no right left-handed hitters in the Tigers' starting outfield, there are no restrictions on his chances of making this club, other than the competition with Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells. Manager Jim Leyland keeps mentioning Thomas among the options.

It's easy to forget that Thomas nearly made the team out of camp last year, losing out on the final roster spot to Don Kelly after battling through a shoulder injury in Spring Training. Thomas went to Triple-A Toledo and struggled uncharacteristically to a .183 average and 32 strikeouts in 86 plate appearances. He was eventually diagnosed with a knee injury and underwent surgery. Considering microfracture surgery is quite rare among baseball players, having two players on the same team have the same procedure in the same year is a pretty big coincidence.

Thomas' surgery was conducted by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colorado. He performed the same surgery on Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore on the same day, Thomas said.

If Guillen's recovery goes like Thomas, the news should eventually be good. Thomas said he was able to hit and throw by December, and he was able to run shortly after.

Thomas is hoping at this point that everything goes well, because he's due a little good health. Remember, he had Tommy John surgery in September 2008.

"It's kind of been a rough couple years," Thomas said.

Other notes this morning ...

* Should be a good day for bullpen sessions today. A lot of the arms that didn't throw Monday will throw today, including some of the youngsters.

* Strong comments from manager Jim Leyland this morning on Rick Porcello: "I think he's going to be a really good Major League pitcher for a long time. ... I'm a huge Rick Porcello fan, because he's got so much going for him."


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:01 pm

I don't know why a team that loaded up in the offseason and is set to contend is on anyone's no trade list...
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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:45 am

gdennis59 wrote:
I don't know why a team that loaded up in the offseason and is set to contend is on anyone's no trade list...

I agree, many players are excited to get an offer from Detroit! We have players coming here when the Tigers offer is not the highest, just because of our talent!


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:37 pm

Dombrowski: "We have an issue here"
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 17, 2011 at 5:39 PM

I have video of Dave Dombrowski's remarks on Miguel Cabrera, but it's a big file and, well, data doesn't move in Lakeland real well. In the meantime, here are the main quotes coming out of his interview:

"I can't really get into much at this point, because I'm still evaluating. I don't really know the 100 percent facts at this moment. I really have to get more information."

Where is Miguel: "He's at his home [in South Florida]."

Will be report Saturday: "We're still talking about that. He would love to be here tomorrow, but we still need to work through some of this."

Worried about the person: "Of course, I've known him for a long time. And when you hear a report like this, you just want to find out what's taken place. There are legal ramifications and keeping these things to yourself at this point, but it's a situation where you worry about the player. I just saw him and I know he's been working out on a regular basis. He's been working out hard. So I don't really know what happened."

More on when he'll report: "Is he capable of reporting? Yes. But I think we need to find out more information. He wants to be here."

Shocked: "Oh, I was completely shocked. I had no idea. First of all, I didn't think there were any problems there because [it] has been thoroughly addressed, but I also am aware that -- and I've said this all along -- when you deal with issues of alcohol, that it's a constant battle for a person the rest of their lives. Again, I don't know where it stands exactly by any means, but I was completely surprised. I had no idea, and when I was told this morning, I was just taken back."

Did you talk with Miguel: "We talked for a very short time. He was down. I've known him a long time, and whenever something [bad happens] he always feels bad and is apologetic. I said, 'Well, we'll talk later on, you just need to sort through what took place with your representatives and we'll talk at some point later on.'"

Do you encourage players to have drivers: "Oh, sure we do. I mean, of course, if they have anything to drink, for sure. No question about that."

Did Cabrera go through counseling well last year: "He did very well from all my knowledge."

Will he be at camp: "He'll be there at some point, sure."

Do you support him: "Oh, we fully support him, sure. We fully support him in trying to get help. I mean, I think you do that for anybody you know, if it was an employee, a friend, whoever it may be. I've run into many, many situations in life where people have had a problem, and you try to do what you can to help them. But, I mean, it's also tough help sometimes, too. But yes, you support them to try to help them. And we will do that."

Never expect an easy year: "I don't think I've ever been through a year where everything's been smooth and silk, and you're never going to have a year like that. I think we have an issue here that needs to be addressed and helped, and we're going to do that, and we'll go from there."

Expect some sort of treatment/counseling: "I don't know. Those are in experts' hands. Those aren't in my hands. I mean, I've always said with these type of situations, there are people who are experts in these areas, doctors, that handle these types of situation. The Commissioner's office, the Players Association, they work very closely together in trying to help these type of situations. Their knowledge far exceeds mine in those type of things. And you really follow their recommendations, is what you end up doing."

On expecting team to move on: "I can't answer that. I mean, I know our team well enough. They'll go out on the field and they'll do their jobs. I fully expect Miguel Cabrera to be with us. I've been involved with these type of treatment situations in the past, but it's still too early to make that a 100 percent type statement. But I would anticipate that."


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Jason Beck BLOG - INBOX   Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:41 pm

Day 3 notes: Furbush makes early impression
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Charlie Furbush didn't come into camp with nearly the hype of fellow Tigers pitching prospects Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver. But he comes in with a massive strikeout total, a very deceptive delivery and a good reputation.

He has the manager's attention.

"I'm real interested to see him," manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday morning. "I got a very interesting report on him from somebody who's not with the Tigers, how much progress he's made in the last year or so."

Leyland talked quite a bit about Furbush this morning -- not really as a guy fighting to make the team out of this camp, but as one of the young starters trying to put himself in a position for an in-season call-up if injuries or other issues force the Tigers to dip into the farm system for another starter.

They are not looking at him at this point as a lefty reliever, Leyland indicated.

"I think we're focusing on him as a starting pitcher," Leyland said. "That's what he's been, and we're thinking along those lines."

If Furbush isn't among the lefty relief candidates, that reduces the pool a bit. Daniel Schlereth is obviously a big part of it, as is long reliever Brad Thomas. The other lefties in camp include non-roster guys Fu-Te Ni, Adam Wilk and John Bale.

But it also puts a little more depth into the Tigers' starting ranks. Detroit's insurance starters appeared limited to Oliver and Turner, barring a spot start or two from Thomas, but Leyland emphasized they have some depth.

"We think we've got more depth than a lot of people think we have," Leyland said.

Other notes:

* Leyland said he went into the weight room to get in a morning workout around 7 am. He found Brad Penny already into his workout. "He's working his [tail] off," Leyland said. "I went up to him and said, 'You're a young guy yet.'"

* Justin Verlander said today he's going to be tough on himself in his bullpen sessions and game outings this spring as he tries to get himself ready for his best form in April. Physically, his offseason and springs workouts haven't been any different, but his mental preparation and focus are way different.

* Brandon Inge isn't in camp yet, but there's a present waiting on his chair in the clubhouse. Somebody found one of his old chest protectors (it has his name on it) from his catching days and put it on there with a note: "Pudge wanted to make sure you had gear this year. Just in case!"

* One good piece of news about Phil Coke's conversion to starting: It should be a little safer for fans in the stands. One teammate suggested Coke led the Majors in long toss overthrows into the seats. Coke counted three fans he hit by accident.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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