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 SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010

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PostSubject: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:54 pm

Spring the time to answer Tigers' questions
Newcomers, veterans have plenty to prove before opener

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

02/11/10 10:00 AM EST

Triple play: Three questions that need answers

1. Can Austin Jackson hold his own on offense?
The Tigers believe he's ready to handle center field in Comerica Park right now, which is why they insisted on getting him in the deal that sent Curtis Granderson to New York. The question is how well Jackson will hit, and the opinions among observers are mixed. Jackson is more than just a multi-sport athlete trying to play baseball, but his high strikeout total and midseason struggles last year raised questions about whether he's ready to take on Major League pitching. If he is, Detroit's offense looks a lot more effective, especially at the top of the order. Expect Jackson to spend a lot of time in the batting cages with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, and a good number of spring games atop Detroit's lineup.

2. Are Scott Sizemore and Brandon Inge healthy enough to start the season?
Both Sizemore and Inge had major surgeries last fall -- Sizemore for a fractured ankle, Inge for patella tendinitis in both knees. While Sizemore is expected to be ready for the start of camp, Inge said last month that he might not be ready to play in full games until the back half of the Spring Training schedule. Any setbacks for either of them could have big consequences for the Tigers, who need their bats as well as their time to build some infield continuity with Sizemore at second.

3. How will Miguel Cabrera rebound from his late-season disappointment?
The last time anyone saw Cabrera in uniform, he was walking off the field at the Metrodome and later blaming himself for the Tigers' final-week collapse. His domestic incident in the season's final weekend became the headline out of Detroit's demise, but he hit miserably in the days before that until hitting a two-run homer in the tiebreaker. He'll be continuing his counseling for alcoholism, and he'll have fellow countryman Andres Galarraga in camp as an instructor and mentor.

2009 record
86-77, 2nd in the AL Central
Projected batting order
1. CF Austin Jackson:
.300 BA, .354 OBP, .405 SLG, 4 HR, 65 RBI in 2009 (Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
2. 2B Scott Sizemore:
.308 BA, .389 OBP, .500 SLG, 17 HR, 66 RBI in 2009 (Toledo/Erie)
3. RF Magglio Ordonez:
.310 BA, .376 OBP, .428 SLG, 9 HR, 50 RBI in 2009
4. 1B Miguel Cabrera:
.324 BA, .396 OBP, .547 SLG, 34 HR, 103 RBI in 2009
5. DH Carlos Guillen:
.242 BA, .339 OBP, .419 SLG, 11 HR, 41 RBI in 2009
6. 3B Brandon Inge:
.230 BA, .314 OBP, .406 SLG, 27 HR, 84 RBI in 2009
7. LF Ryan Raburn:
.291 BA, .359 OBP, .533 SLG, 16 HR, 45 RBI in 2009
8. C Gerald Laird:
.225 BA, .306 OBP, .320 SLG, 4 HR, 33 RBI in 2009
9. SS Adam Everett:
.238 BA, .288 OBP, .325 SLG, 3 HR, 44 RBI in 2009

Projected rotation
1. Justin Verlander, 19-9, 3.45 ERA in 2009
2. Rick Porcello, 14-9, 3.96 ERA in 2009
3. Max Scherzer, 9-11, 4.12 ERA in 2009
4. Jeremy Bonderman, 0-1, 8.71 ERA in 2009
5. Nate Robertson, 2-3, 5.44 ERA in 2009

Projected bullpen
Closer: Jose Valverde, 25/29 saves, 2.33 ERA in 2009
RH setup man: Joel Zumaya, 4.94 ERA in 2009
LH setup man: Phil Coke, 4.50 ERA in 2009

The new guys
LHP Phil Coke: While Jackson was the player the Tigers insisted on getting in the Granderson trade, Coke could be the best piece of the deal in 2010. If Detroit decides it needs another starting pitcher candidate, Coke is the guy, having done it effectively coming up through the Yankees' farm system. If not, Coke becomes a power lefty in the bullpen who can work multiple innings, allowing Jim Leyland to move around relief pieces. He proved his worth in New York, and he could become more valuable in Detroit.

RHP Max Scherzer: The key for Detroit in the Edwin Jackson trade with Arizona was getting the talented Scherzer, who has the chance to step into the heart of the rotation after his first full season in the big leagues. He's a pure power pitcher who will become a focus for pitching coach Rick Knapp to further hone his secondary stuff without taking away his aggressiveness. He might end up being the swing man whose performance determines whether this rotation as a group can match last year's effectiveness.

LHP Daniel Schlereth: Ryan Perry's former bullpen mate at the University of Arizona is a teammate again, and he has the chance to eventually blossom in Detroit. Whether he opens the year with the Tigers is as much a matter of bullpen depth as his own development, but the latter could determine whether he ends up as closer material in a couple years. His fastball-curve combination has the potential to give hitters fits once he adds a little more polish to his command. His stuff has already proven just about unhittable for Minor Leaguers in limited time. At the very least, his first Tigers camp means some visits to Lakeland from his father, former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth.

RHP Jose Valverde: The Tigers haven't had this type of proven closer at the top of his game in a long time, and they eventually found the money to add him with a two-year, $14 million deal once he was the last reliever left standing after the holidays. Considering the relative inexperience in the bullpen, he couldn't arrive at a much better time. Whatever transition he has to make to the American League after seven seasons in the National League isn't expected to be an issue. The more intriguing question is what kind of positive influence he could have on youngsters such as Perry, Schlereth, Cody Satterwhite, even Joel Zumaya, a factor that some in the Astros' organization say is underrated about him.

Prospects to watch
C Alex Avila: Being the son of the assistant GM doesn't matter here. Even if young Avila hits up a storm this spring, he could end up headed to Triple-A if the Tigers decide they can't find enough playing time behind Gerald Laird for him to develop. Whether he opens in Detroit or Toledo, however, he looks a lot like the starter in waiting, whether it's next year or later this summer. The most important factor for him, though, might be to learn the pitching staff as much as he can in six weeks, whether for future reference or immediate use.

CF Austin Jackson: He has the unenviable role of trying to succeed Granderson in Detroit. In that respect, it's a no-win situation for him. In terms of winning confidence in the organization and securing a big league job, however, there's a ton for him to win from this camp. A strong Spring Training performance could go a long way towards easing the minds of some uneasy Tigers fans.

OF Wilkin Ramirez: Don't brush off the possibility that Ramirez could make this team as an extra outfielder if his power-speed combination and a hot spring prove him useful enough for Leyland to find him playing time. He'll challenge Jackson for the best athlete in camp, but he has some big steps to make in his game before he can realize his potential and play on more than raw ability.

2B Scott Sizemore: Sizemore basically went unnoticed in his first big league camp last spring despite hitting two solo homers in 10 at-bats. He won't escape attention nearly that well this time, not when he's being counted on as Detroit's starting second baseman. His offensive game has enough facets that he could slot into several different spots in the order, and while he can't match Placido Polanco's defensive track record, scouts suggest he has the chance to show better range.

OF Casper Wells: Like Ramirez, Wells has a good chance to get overlooked this spring, but this is potentially a huge camp to determine his path in this organization. While most team officials see him as a corner outfielder, Wells is determined to prove he can play center, and put in a lot of time in his training facility to put him in shape ahead of camp. If the Tigers unexpectedly decide Jackson needs more time in the Minors, Wells could be part of a Plan B in the outfield.

On the rebound
RHP Jeremy Bonderman: Chalk up last year as a lost season, and Bonderman essentially has missed a year and a half since a blood vessel restriction in his shoulder led to season-ending surgery in the summer of 2008. Among those who have seen him throw this winter, Justin Verlander sees life on his throws again, something he didn't have when he tried to come back last summer. Pitching coach Rick Knapp has been upbeat on him, too. The Tigers have enough confidence that they've penned him into the fourth spot in the rotation without challenge. His return would be a major boost for Detroit, and just as big of a development for Bonderman in his final season of the four-year, $38 million contract he signed after 2006.

RHP Armando Galarraga: As surprising as Galarraga's 2008 performance was, his 2009 struggles were just as disappointing. He seemingly lost his aggressiveness to pound the strike zone, but he also was dealing with elbow discomfort that didn't let up until he rested his arm following the season. He comes into camp with a rush of much-needed confidence following a brief winter stint in Venezuela, and he'll compete for the fifth spot in the rotation. If he's on, he might have the best chance to win the rotation competition.

LHP Nate Robertson: After everything from a revamped training regimen a year ago to surgery removing masses from his elbow last summer, Robertson is finally in a position to realistically battle for a starting spot again. How much bite he can regain in his slider will determine how well he can contend again. He's in the last year of his contract, so he has plenty riding on this camp.

LHP Dontrelle Willis: Once again, no one knows what to expect out of Willis, who went from 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rangers last May to an eight-walk meltdown in Pittsburgh a few weeks later on his way back to the disabled list with anxiety disorder. Like Robertson, he's in a contract year, and it's probably now or never for him to overcome his struggles.

RHP Joel Zumaya: Until the Tigers signed Valverde, Zumaya was in line for a shot at the closer's role nearly everyone envisioned for him three years ago. That chance is gone now, but his challenge to stay healthy and reclaim his setup prowess is not. He underwent surgery last summer to remove a bone fragment from the stress fracture in his throwing shoulder, leaving questions as to how hard he can effectively throw. If he can show he's back, he has a chance to be a presence in the eighth inning again.

Long gone
CF Curtis Granderson: What ended up as a winter of debate on the motivation for trading Granderson to New York is pretty much done now, and Detroit is left to move on with the challenge of replacing him in center field as well as the leadoff spot. Coincidentally, the Tigers and Yankees face each other four times this spring.

RHP Brandon Lyon: The Tigers gave some effort toward re-signing Lyon before he landed a three-year, $15 million deal in Houston and Detroit turned its attention towards Valverde. Not many relievers could duplicate Lyon's second-half dominance, but a healthy Zumaya would go a long way toward replacing Lyon in his previous eighth-inning role.

2B Placido Polanco: No sooner had the Tigers declined arbitration to their free-agent second baseman than talks heated up with Polanco and the Phillies on a three-year, $18 million contract. By then, though, the Tigers had long since looked to Sizemore to take over at second. While Polanco's defense leaves a lot to replace, Detroit hopes Sizemore can make up a good amount of the offensive void.

RHP Fernando Rodney: It wasn't always smooth -- all right, it was rarely smooth -- but Rodney converted 37 of 38 save opportunities for Detroit last year, setting himself up for a two-year, $11 million contract with the Angels as a free agent. Aside from the conversion rate, there's plenty of reason to believe the Tigers upgraded at closer with Valverde.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:06 pm

Last Updated: February 17. 2010 2:42PM
Quick Hits
Tigers' Nate Robertson had groin surgery in November
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson had groin surgery in November after finishing the season in pain. When it didn't clear up in October, he knew something was wrong.

Robertson says he's fully recovered but that he couldn't keep up with his nearly 2-year-old son Wyatt for a while.

... Clete Thomas has been losing sleep, but for the best of reasons. His wife, Susie, gave birth to an 8-pound, 6-ounce son, Brooks Massey Thomas, on Jan. 30. Brooks is his wife's maiden name and Massey is Clete's grandfather's name.

... There's lots of cold-weather damage down here in Lakeland. The locals say they've seen ice on ponds for the first time, and outside the clubhouse at Marchant Stadium, several dozen dead plants need to be replaced.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100217/SPORTS0104/2170408/1129/On-offense--Tigers-claim-glass-is-half-full/Tigers--Nate-Robertson-had-groin-surgery-in-November#ixzz0fvot3a8L


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:33 pm

Last Updated: February 17. 2010 6:57PM
Jim Leyland likes Tigers' talent: 'We won't be donkeys'
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- His snow-blowing days over, manager Jim Leyland arrived at spring training Wednesday with a pronouncement.

"We won't be donkeys," he said. "I'll tell you that. We have pretty good talent."

Leyland likes his team. He also likes the hope with which he annually arrives at spring training. But he knows there's a lot of work to do.

It's a team that made a lot of changes over the winter -- getting younger here, getting deeper there. Leyland, however, is not afraid of the adjustments.

"Time to go to work," he said. "You shed a couple of tears in the morning when you leave your wife and kids, but that's all part of it. This is what we do.

"I feel real good about our team. I think (Miguel) Cabrera, (Magglio) Ordonez and (Carlos) Guillen are going to have big years.

"Plus, I have no problem breaking in young players. But I'm banking a lot on our pitching staff being pretty good."

What would be big years for Ordonez and Guillen?

"If Magglio hits around .320 and knocks in 100 runs, and Carlos hits .280 with 20 home runs and knocks in 90-95 runs, that would be good for us."

Is that what the two of them needto do?

"I hate to say about anyone that's what they definitely need to do," said Leyland. "I'm just talking about what would be nice."

Leyland doesn't like having to be a judge in spring training. But with two young players slated to be in the starting lineup -- Austin Jackson in center and Scott Sizemore at second base -- that's exactly what he will have to be.

"Absolutely," he said. "They need to play a lot this spring. Hopefully it will pan out the way we want."

Leyland wouldn't address any what-if scenarios regarding the possible signing of Johnny Damon, but about his lineup, he said, "I'm fooling around with it, but only with what we have," he said. "I never anticipate getting somebody. I'd like Jackson to lead off, so I'm really looking for a No. 2 hitter.

"If Jackson is going to be here, and you're going to play him, he probably has to lead off."

As for that snow he left behind in Pittsburgh, all 38 inches of it, Leyland clears his own walk and driveway.

"I did it the last three days," he said.

And when he leaves?

"My wife's doing it right now," he said.

Which only means that leaving day is doubly tough for her.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100217/SPORTS0104/2170422/1129/On-offense--Tigers-claim-glass-is-half-full/Jim-Leyland-likes-Tigers--talent---We-won-t-be-donkeys-#ixzz0fvvrYHU4


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:06 pm

Last Updated: February 18. 2010 2:12PM
Tigers Spring Training Preview
Tigers' position-by-position questions and answers
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- After seeking answers all winter, the Tigers begin spring training Friday -- with questions.

Not just here, not just there. But everywhere.

You name the position, there's a question at it. Often more than one.

Some are the result of shortcomings from last season.

Some are the result of the way last season ended.

Others must be asked because of what the Tigers did in the offseason, making decisions -- "adjustments," they called them -- that looked like fiscal cutbacks early, only to add to the payroll late.

It was a strange offseason in that regard. But it's about to give way to spring training, although Florida has given the Tigers as chilly a welcome this week as fans initially gave the Curtis Granderson to the Yankees deal in December.

But again, it's not just because of the offseason that there are questions to be answered. Some are carryovers from last year.

So let's get to them position-by-position.

Catcher

Q. Will Gerald Laird hit more than the .225 he hit last year?

A. Strange thing about Laird is that as a major leaguer, he's hit acceptably every other season. It's gone like this -- .296, .224, .276, .225. The Tigers spent much of last season proclaiming Laird could hit better than he was hitting in his first year. This year, he needs to do it, or there won't be a third year.

Q. Who will be Laird's backup?

A. If it's not Alex Avila, and there's no guarantee it will be, it probably will be Robinzon Diaz.

First base

Q. You know what it is. If Miguel Cabrera can let his team down so catastrophically as he did the last Saturday of 2009 ... if it can happen once, can it happen twice?

A. Sure, it can. Personal demons are difficult to overcome. But will it happen twice? Highly unlikely, given his determination not to let it, and the honesty with which he approached it. He had a problem, confronted the problem, and it caused him a lot of pain. He doesn't want to encounter that pain again.

Second base

Q. How will Scott Sizemore fare as Placido Polanco's replacement?

A. You'll not help yourself get through this if you keep thinking about Sizemore as Polanco's replacement. He won't be as steady in the field nor as consistent as Polanco for most of the time he was in Detroit.

Sizemore, as a rookie, is the starting second baseman -- period. Better not compare to anyone, because it won't do any good.

Sizemore has a history of hitting in the minors, but also of being an erratic infielder. Some of that can be blamed on bumpy Double-A infields, but as more than one person who's watched Sizemore has said, "He has to make better decisions." That translates into not forcing throws. He'll be aggressive, and that's fine, but he has to be a smart infielder.

Q. If Sizemore gets hurt, or doesn't cut it, who will be his backup?

A. The Tigers are thin. As matters stand, they'd most likely just slide Ramon Santiago over to play second base. But they could use another experienced middle infielder.

Shortstop

Q. Uh, how about some help at the plate?

A. Adam Everett didn't have his best year defensively. Neither did Ramon Santiago. They're better than adequate at their position, however. And while the Tigers don't rise and fall with their combined production offensively, it can't be as feeble as it was in the second half of last year.

Everett and Santiago combined to hit .265 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs before the All-Star break. After the break, they fell to two home runs, 27 RBIs and a .233 average, including Everett's .207. But they're back as a tandem, and if they combine for 79 RBIs again, fine. But maybe not with quite the second-half decline, OK?

Third base

Q. How much were Brandon Inge's knees to blame for his second-half collapse?

A. A case can be made for almost entirely. The more they bothered him, the more he slumped. But he still was playing better-than-average defense, so he played.

Inge was a second-half disaster (.186, six home runs, 26 RBIs after earning a spot for the first time on the All-Star team). You could see him wince as he ran down the line to first.

Does that mean he'll be an All-Star again, now that his knees have been repaired? No, but it does mean he probably won't go from hitting .287 in June to .182 in July, and not poke his head above .200 the rest of the second half.

Left field

Q. Pretty basic. Who's going to start?

A. Until further notice, if indeed there is further notice, the left fielder is Carlos Guillen, with Ryan Raburn playing enough at more than one position, but mostly this one, to get about 300 at-bats.

Guillen wants to be a nine-inning player, and if he ends up in left field, he doesn't want to come out for a defensive replacement, as he sometimes did down the stretch last season.

Play the position well enough, Carlos, and you won't have to come out.

Center field

Q. Is Austin Jackson ready to play every day in the majors?

A. Looks like the Tigers think he is because unless Jackson bombs in spring training, such as looking clueless at the plate, he's got a lock on the job.

Tigers president Dave Dombrowski is sure Jackson, as a rookie, will be every bit as good as Curtis Granderson was as an established center fielder. Plus, he's relying on Jackson's track record of hitting .300 "throughout the minors" when, in actuality, he hit .287 in five years as a Yankees prospect.

Let's not quibble, though. The Tigers will be happy with .287 and strong defense -- plus his speed on the bases (not overwhelming, but enough to steal some bases with).

Bottom line, the Tigers aren't about to deprive Jackson of a chance to help them, even if he encounters some bumps this spring.

Right field

Q. Will the real Magglio Ordonez stand up?

A. Come to think of it, who was that imposter from April-July? Sure didn't resemble the Magglio of other seasons.

Whatever it was derailed Ordonez for four months, so much so that on Aug. 1 he was hitting .258 with 32 RBIs. In his final 59 games, he hit .401, but even at that, his production didn't fully return. Ordonez ended up with nine home runs and 50 RBIs.

The Tigers are banking on a comeback -- they think he'll knock in 90 runs again. That wouldn't make it complete (he averaged 115 RBIs the three previous seasons), but it would approximate what he used to do. And the Tigers desperately need that.

Q. Will he play enough for his $15 million option for 2011 to vest?

A. Not that again. Yes, that again. No way of knowing yet, but if he hits, and the Tigers contend, it, he will.

Designated hitter

Q. Just how many candidates are there?

A. You can count them on one hand -- without a finger to spare. It's going to be DH by committee. That's why the Tigers weren't interested in Jim Thome, or anyone else who is no longer usable on defense.

Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas, occasionally Miguel Cabrera -- they'll all get some at-bats as DH. But with the Tigers still in the market for a left-handed hitter, this is subject to change.

Pitching

Q. Who will be the fifth starter?

A. Whoever wins the job in spring training, the candidates being Nate Robertson, Armando Galarraga, long-shot Dontrelle Willis and longer-shot Eddie Bonine.

Q. Is Jeremy Bonderman all the way back?

A. Not until he proves he is.

Q. Looking overstocked with them, will the Tigers trade a left-handed reliever?

A. It's looking strong that they will. But not until mid-to-late spring, when other teams get worried again about their bullpens.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100218/SPORTS0104/2180338/1129/On-offense--Tigers-claim-glass-is-half-full/Tigers--position-by-position-questions-and-answers#ixzz0fwBl38lz


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:17 pm

Last Updated: February 18. 2010 7:02PM
Quick Hits
Jose Valverde among Tigers delayed in arriving at camp
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- Hail, hail, the gang is not all here -- and won't be for a while.

The Tigers will not have their full complement of pitchers and catchers on hand Friday for the first workout of spring training.

New closer Jose Valverde won't report until Saturday because of personal reasons.

Catcher Gerald Laird will miss at least the first two days because his sister is getting married Saturday.

And minor-league catcher Max St. Pierre will be late because his wife just had a baby.

... With his own equipment, centerfielder Austin Jackson worked on agility drills nearly every day of the offseason. He worked on them again Thursday.

"Among other things, it helps me with my first step," he said.

Manager Jim Leyland said he got a call from Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson on Wednesday praising the rookie, a former Yankees prospect.

"He just called me to say he thinks highly of the kid," said Leyland. "It was very positive, all positive, totally positive."

... Good line already from coach Tom Brookens, who arrived Thursday after a round of golf in Orlando on Wednesday.

"I wanted to shoot in the 80s," he said, "so I walked off the course with five holes to go."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100218/SPORTS0104/2180471/1129/On-offense--Tigers-claim-glass-is-half-full/Jose-Valverde-among-Tigers-delayed-in-arriving-at-camp#ixzz0fwKugAz3


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:35 pm

Sunday roundup
Lots of stuff today, so I'll round it up for the moment:
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 21, 2010 at 3:03 PM

* Leyland wasn't commenting on Johnny Damon, but he did comment on how Carlos Guillen could be affected. To that, he said it will not be an issue: "Carlos Guillen will hit fifth for the Tigers this year. And he'll get all the at-bats he wants, trust me. So you can nip that in the bud. I'm not going to get into details right now about anything else. But Carlos Guillen, I can assure you -- and I hope I see it in headlines -- he will be a major factor in our success this year, and he will get all the at-bats that he wants. For us to be good, he has to be good."

* Tigers confirmed that Kenny Rogers will join the club as an instructor March 2-5, and possibility for another short stint later in the month. Expect Kenny to do some fielding and pickoff instruction while he's here. "He's going to work," Leyland said. "I have the utmost respect for Kenny, and Kenny made it perfectly clear he's not coming over to say hello to Bondo and Nate."

* Bobby Seay has been shut down for a few days with bursitis and tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, which might explain why his first bullpen session the other day felt so foreign to him.

* With Seay out, Andy Oliver has been added to the spring training roster as a non-roster invitee. He threw a bullpen session Sunday under the watch of pitching coach Rick Knapp, and looked pretty impressive. Not sure what Seay's situation has to do with Oliver, but they were announced in tandem.

* Gerald Laird's legal situation has been resolved. He is pleading no contest to his January arrest and having the matter dropped in exchange for attending anger management classes, which he has done. He reported to camp Sunday morning after taking a red-eye flight from Los Angeles, where he attended his sister's wedding Saturday. He arrived to catch Justin Verlander in midseason form. Ouch.

* Magglio Ordonez is drawing compliments for the shape that he's in. He said he went to a training facility over the offseason and did a lot of lower-body work, including agility drills. But he looks stronger in his arms and upper body, too. "I hate to get too excited," Leyland said, "but I would be shocked if he doesn't have a big year."


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:16 pm

Last Updated: February 24. 2010 1:12AM
Tigers: Notebook
Gene Lamont runs over Jim Leyland's foot with golf cart; Lamont still employed
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- Sometimes it's not the agony of defeat. It's the pain of winning.

While defeating the coaching twosome of Lloyd McClendon and Rick Knapp on the golf course Monday, and going up 2-0 for the spring, Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont had a mishap.

One Leyland still felt Tuesday.

Lamont drove the cart over his foot -- and broke Leyland's right little toe.


"Who told you," said Leyland, who recently shared his plans to cut down on swearing. "Was it Mac?"

Mum is the word.

"I was hoping to say I hit it accidentally with my 9 iron." Leyland said. "Actually, I wasn't going to bring it up at all."

The manager/warrior did not require medical attention, however -- other than from the team's trainers.

"They're telling me that with the way it feels, it has to be broken," he said.

Taking it in stride

Being designated for assignment -- as a result of the Johnny Damon signing -- did not surprise pitcher Casey Fien .

"I get it," said Fien, 26, who was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA for the Tigers last year. "This is a business. There were four or five of us knowing it could be us, so I was half-expecting it."

Said Leyland of the move: "There was nothing he did wrong. You get here, and you're throwing, then this happens. My suggestion to him was to stay active, because we think he'll be in a big league camp very shortly."

Around the horn

Because of the addition of Damon to the outfield, Ryan Raburn will see playing time in the outfield and infield this spring. Before Damon's arrival, he was only going to play the outfield.

... While Brandon Inge is out -- he won't return to his position at third until the last two weeks of spring training -- the Tigers will use a rotation of Raburn, Ramon Santiago , Don Kelly , Brent Dlugach , Jeff Larish and non-roster invitee Kory Casto at third. But not Carlos Guillen .

... Dontrelle Willis about the supportive call he made to Damon just before Damon accepted the Tigers' offer: "Just being honest with him about what it's like with this team. It's not as if I was recruiting him for Tennessee or anything like that."

... Damon looking around the Tigers' clubhouse, where the players outnumber the media: "It was sometimes the other way around in New York. This is nice. This is ... quiet."

... Tom Brookens about wearing No. 61: "If I look in the mirror, I'm still No. 16."

... Yes, Justin Verlander will pitch Opening Day, but no decision has been made yet about a second-game starter.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100224/SPORTS0104/2240327/1129/Gene-Lamont-runs-over-Jim-Leyland-s-foot-with-golf-cart--Lamont-still-employed#ixzz0gVuXwbOX


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:59 pm

Inge ahead of schedule (surprise)
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on February 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Nobody can really be surprised that Brandon Inge is trying to beat the timetable that would have him and his surgically repaired knees playing in Spring Training games by mid-March. He's just that kind of athlete, and he gets that bored sitting around.

What might be surprising, though, are the reports that he's hitting well. The bad habits he developed at the plate down the stretch last year to compensate for his knees were relatively easy to shake, Inge said, because they all involved his lower body rather than his hands.

He might get a chance to practice that hitting sooner than his fielding. Manager Jim Leyland said there's a chance Inge could get some games at DH before he plays at third base.

"He has that foundation and everything. I don't think that's going to be an issue," Leyland said of any bad habits in Inge's hitting mechanics.

Inge agreed. He said he fought off an inside pitch that would've troubled him late last year, and he knew then that his lower body strength was back.

Leyland is already dreading the question over how many games Inge will play once the regular season arrives. His knees beg the debate over how often to rest him, but as Leyland readily points out, Inge wants to play every game.

"I can tell you he's not going to play every game," Leyland said, "but he goes bananas when he doesn't play."

More from today:



  • Interesting that Leyland says they have three starters set, rather than four, but that doesn't necessarily mean the fourth spot is up for grabs. If Jeremy Bonderman remains healthy and has even a decent spring, that slot is his. Of all the high-contract, low-production starters, he's in a little different position than Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis.
  • Rain forced the Tigers to work out indoors Saturday morning. That meant no live BP, with hitters swinging in the cages instead. Pitchers still got in their scheduled throwing work.
  • Leyland said he's still debating what kind of lineup to trot out against Florida Southern in their annual exhibition next Tuesday. He usually has started his regulars and gotten them an at-bat before taking them out. But don't expect Leyland to hold out Scott Sizemore for injury reasons. If he can't play against Florida Southern, Leyland said, then he can't play against Toronto the next day.
  • Jose Valverde will out of camp for a few days due to a death in his family.
  • Leyland said Justin Verlander has not paid up from their friendly PFP competition. "Nah, I'll let him off the hook," Leyland said. "He's hurting a little bit for money now."


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:53 pm



Scanning operator Eddie Contreras, left, does a distance check on
Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander on Saturday during 3-D head scan for
video games "MLB The Show" and "MLB 2K11." (Robin Buckson/The Detroit
News)

Last Updated: February 27. 2010 10:57PM
Tigers: Notebook
Starting rotation is Tigers' chief concern
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- Not the new guy at second -- or the new guy in center.

Manager Jim Leyland said Saturday his No. 1 thought this spring is about his starting rotation.

Three of the five spots are spoken for. They belong to Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and newcomer Max Scherzer.

Jeremy Bonderman will be the fourth starter if all goes well this spring. The job is his for the claiming.

But the fifth spot is so much up for grabs that the uncertainty of it has become the foremost issue of the spring.

"It's the No. 1 thing I'm thinking about right now," said Leyland. "Not Austin Jackson or Scott Sizemore. The No. 1 thing is how the rotation will play out. That's a huge key."

Around the horn

Jose Valverde went home to the Dominican Republic because of a death in his family. Leyland said he'll be gone a few days.

Leyland's early impression of his new closer?

"Big, strong, outstanding-stuff guy with a lot of personality. He has a great arm, a pretty nasty split."

... Weight's not a problem with anyone this spring. But that doesn't always have to mean overweight.

"A couple of years ago, Joel Zumaya lost so much weight his legs looked like mine." he said. "I wouldn't wish that on anybody."

... It's a game against a college team, and he's recovering from a broken ankle, but Scott Sizemore will play Tuesday against Florida Southern.

"Why not?" Leyland said. "He's going to be our second baseman. The more action he gets the better off it is. If he can't play against Florida Southern, then he can't play against Toronto the next day, in my opinion.

"If there's a health situation on Tuesday, there's going to be one on Wednesday."

... Brandon Inge was ahead of schedule Friday. In Leyland's words, that became "medically ahead of schedule pretty good" Saturday.

The sooner Inge can get back on the field, the better -- for more reasons than one.

"You'd rather have him play," said Leyland, "because he's such a pain, you don't want him around you when he doesn't."

... It's a 16-hour difference between here and home for Brad Thomas, the Tigers' Australian candidate for the bullpen -- but anytime after 4 p.m. in Florida is a good time to speak with his 3-year-old daughter Sienna.

If Thomas calls at 6 p.m., for instance, it's 10 a.m. the next morning in Sydney.

Getting her to understand how far away her dad is, however, is more difficult.

"She wants to go to Disney. We've just told her it's too cold."

.... Perennial non-roster invitee Max St. Pierre says his name is a common one in Quebec. "Like Smith," he said.

With all due respect, Max, like Smith?

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100227/SPORTS0104/2270406/1129/sports0104/Starting-rotation-is-Tigers--chief-concern#ixzz0gsTZU2BZ


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:45 pm

Posted: Feb. 28, 2010
Last game stayed on Ryan Perry's mind

BY JOHN LOWE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After the way last season ended for the Tigers, you might have guessed that none of them would ever want to step inside the Metrodome again.

But in January, Ryan Perry did.

The Tigers reliever traveled from his Arizona home to attend the NFL playoff game in the Metrodome between the host Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. Perry grew up a Cowboys fan.

"It was kind of weird sitting in the Metrodome thinking, 'We're never going to play here again,' " Perry said.

Perry said during the football game (in which the Vikings romped) he didn't think much about the Tigers' last game in the Metrodome. That was the 6-5, 12-inning loss in October in the tiebreaker for the Central Division title.

"It wasn't set up for baseball, so it seemed different," Perry said. "I didn't have any recollection of that game."

But he thought about it often when he worked out this off-season.

"During the whole off-season, I think all of us still had that fire in our gut from that very last game," Perry said. "We wanted to hurry up and skip the off-season and get prepared for this year."

In case you're wondering: The first Tigers-Twins series this season comes April 27-29 at Comerica Park. The following week, the Tigers make their first visit to Target Field.

FINE SELECTIONS: Pitchers Jacob Turner and Andy Oliver were the Tigers' top picks in June's amateur draft. On Thursday, manager Jim Leyland saw Turner pitch batting practice for the first time. That night, he phoned scouting director David Chadd to congratulate him on selecting Turner.

On Friday, Leyland saw Oliver pitch batting practice for the first time. "I felt like calling David Chadd again," Leyland said.

Overheard: It's never easy to pick the best Leyland quote of the week. Here are a couple from the past week:

• "The season is ... more of a mental grind for a pitcher and more of a physical grind for a position player. If a (starting) pitcher has a couple of bad outings, he has to wait four days before he goes back out there. It drains them."

• "No matter how good players are in colleges or the minors, when they get to the big leagues, there's a little bit of reservation yet: 'Am I really good enough?' And then they get into it, and they realize they are. That's why you have to be a little patient as a manager. You can't start writing people off right away. It takes time for guys."

Rain delay: The Tigers couldn't take batting practice or do fundamentals outside Saturday because of rain. "We got some other things accomplished," Leyland said. "We went over signs with the catchers and all the players. You try to improvise and get something accomplished."


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:15 pm

Last Updated: March 03. 2010 2:27PM
'Family issue' prevents ex-Tiger Kenny Rogers from helping pitchers
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Dunedin, Fla. -- The Tigers are not having much luck with outside assistance this spring.

Andres Galarraga was a no-show as a mentor for Miguel Cabrera -- and now former Tiger Kenny Rogers won't be on hand to help with pickoff moves and pitchers' fielding.

Rogers' reason?

"Family issue," said manager Jim Leyland.

Rogers was to have arrived in Lakeland on Tuesday. But unlike Galarraga, who just never got back in touch, Rogers let the Tigers know he wasn't coming, after all.

Around the horn

He was able to throw on the side on Tuesday, but the Tigers still don't know when Bobby Seay will get into a game.

... The Tigers' bus to Dunedin for Wednesday's game against Toronto left at 8:50 a.m. At 8:49, Leyland was seen carrying a pillow through the clubhouse. Veteran move to be comfortable on the ride.

... Not on the trip for the Tigers' first real exhibition game of the spring were Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen Johnny Damon, Adam Everett and Gerald Laird.

... Brennan Boesch's facial cut from the fly ball that hit him Tuesday required 11 stitches: "Three in, eight out," said trainer Kevin Rand.

... Joel Zumaya on the Florida Southern batter he hit with a fastball Tuesday -- after which the batter pretended he was angry: "I wasn't sure at first that he wasn't (going to charge the mound). So I thought, 'I hope you're 18 years old, kid, because I'm going beat your butt.'

"But it was all good. I shook his hand. It was a pitch I humped up on, though -- a fastball middle that ended up in the middle of his back."

... Weather conditions at game time Wednesday: 53 degrees, wind blowing out to left-center at 30 mph.

"I've worn this (heavy) coat more this spring than all other springs combined," said Tigers president Dave Dombrowski.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100303/SPORTS0104/3030425/-Family-issue--prevents-ex-Tiger-Kenny-Rogers-from-helping-pitchers#ixzz0h9s51z5j


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:12 am

Postgame from Wednesday
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on March 4, 2010 at 1:19 AM

While the bulk of the pitching story from Wednesday's win over the Blue Jays belonged to starter Jeremy Bonderman, two other intriguing situations followed him. First was the first spring outing for Nate Robertson, who had a solid third inning before struggling in the fourth. Next was Ryan Perry, who got an unexpected test and pitched his way out of a jam.

Robertson said he had a mechanical flaw pitching out of the stretch that came up during the fourth, which kept him from stopping the bleeding for a while. Five straight Blue Jays reached base safely on him, leading to two runs as well as a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

"I was yanking [the ball] a little bit," Robertson said. "Other than that, I felt great. I've got to make that adjustment, though, a little bit quicker. And it took me until I got the the strikeout [of Travis Snider] to walk off the mound."

The strikeout of Snider for the first out ended up being his last pitch, but more directly out of pitch count than who was coming up. Leyland said later that Robertson was three pitches shy of his limit, so he didn't want to risk pushing him past that in his first outing of the spring to get one more outs when he needed two outs to get out of the inning.

Plus, as Leyland thought about it, he felt it would be a good test for Ryan Perry, who's vying for setup work in the revamped Tigers bullpen.

"This is a perfect situation for Perry," Leyland said.

On came Perry, and back in he came to the dugout soon after that with an inning-ending double play grounder. He stayed in to pitch a scoreless fifth.

Other tidbits from Wednesday:


  • Brent Dlugach gave himself a birthday present Wednesday by smacking a solo homer as part of a two-RBI, two-hit day. He had a little help from the wind gusting out, but it was also an opposite-field shot for him that was hit very well regardless.
  • Wilkin Ramirez again showed why he can be an all-around offensive catalyst if he can stick in the big leagues. He helped the Tigers score one of their ninth-inning runs without a ball getting out of the infield. He beat a throw for an infield single, stole second, took third on an error, then scored on another ground ball for an out. "There is no substitute for speed," Leyland said. "He created a run just with his legs. That's nice."
  • Leyland on the comparatively chilly, windy weather in the area Wednesday: "It's just like Opening Day in Detroit." The Blue Jays announced the first-pitch temperature as 48 degrees with winds around 25 mph, while weather.com listed the temperature in Dunedin at 52 with 30 mph winds.


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:12 pm

i'm happy bondo is ok, hope rogers shows to help cuz he does have that pickoff move!!
c'mon Tigers 2010!!
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:32 pm

Bonderman not taking spot for granted
Robertson, Galarraga bounce back in relief outings

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/07/10 6:56 PM EST

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Maybe a healthy Jeremy Bonderman doesn't automatically mean an effective one, at least not yet.

"My arm feels great," he said after his first-inning exit against the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon. "Now, it's [a matter of] becoming comfortable with my mechanics again."

Nor does it necessarily mean Bonderman has a starting role quite yet.

"If I want to win a job," Bonderman said, "I've got to clean it up a little bit."

The Jays did not do anything for that comfort level. But as a self-critical Bonderman pointed out, he didn't help the cause.

Perhaps the Tigers' second trip here in five days is the best example yet of how fleeting Spring Training pitching can be to read. Bonderman's two scoreless innings at this same ballpark, against this same team, in Detroit's Spring Training opener last Wednesday preceded a rough outing from Nate Robertson, who was pulled in the middle of his second inning of work once he reached his pitch count. A day later, Armando Galarraga gave up a four-run inning against the Jays in Lakeland.

Everything seemed to flip on Sunday except Bonderman's sinkers, which were dropping out of the strike zone and proving tough to spot. Once Bonderman had to challenge hitters over the plate, those pitches ended up all over the field, and twice over the fences.

"He had a rough Spring Training outing. Period," manager Jim Leyland summarized. "There's not much else to say."

Bonderman fell behind on 2-0 counts to four of the first five batters he faced. All of them scored. His first strike ended up driven deep to left by Jays leadoff man Jose Bautista. Aaron Hill grounded Bonderman's next strike through the left side for a single.

Another single to Adam Lind and a walk to Vernon Wells loaded the bases for Randy Ruiz, who also got a 2-0 count that prompted a visit from pitching coach Rick Knapp.

"He just didn't have it today," catcher Gerald Laird said. "The main thing was he kept falling behind."

It wasn't for lack of effort. Once it became clear Bonderman's slider was scattered and his sinker was unpredictable, the Tigers' battery went from trying to spot the corners to trying to aim for the middle of the plate and let the movement take care of the rest. Neither approach worked.

"It was my fault," Bonderman said. "I was just out there trying to make sure my arm was in the right [slot], just thinking too much. When I started falling behind guys, I tried to do too much. Then, when I had to throw strikes, they were right down the middle."

Once Bonderman had to challenge Ruiz, the Blue Jays' first baseman pounced on a fastball and drove it deep to left. Not until John Buck swung and missed at a Bonderman sinker, on the 24th pitch of the inning, did Bonderman have his first out. Half his pitches at that point were strikes.

Alex Gonzalez's single and Travis Snider's sac fly put Bonderman near his pitch count with the Jays batting around and one out remaining. Leyland made the move to Zach Miner.

The Detroit manager emphasized that move made no statement about the rotation competition. He isn't into who's ahead or behind at this stage, but by that point, the Tigers were clearly behind.

Robertson, who said struggled with his mechanics pitching out of the stretch here last Wednesday, pitched so well that he barely had a chance to test it. He retired nine of the 10 Jays he faced, including a six-pitch fifth inning to cap his outing. Hill's fourth-inning single was the only damage against him, and he escaped that by using a slider-fastball combination to strike out Wells.

"It's just about command," Robertson said. "All three pitches were working pretty good today."


Laird called it the best he has seen Robertson since arriving here last year.

"Nate looked really good," Laird said. "I don't think there was a pitch where he missed his location."

Galarraga, another rotation candidate, gave up two singles but emerged with a scoreless sixth. When asked why Sunday's outing was so much better, he pointed to his head and said his focus was much better.

"I still need a lot of work," Galarraga said of his pitching, "but I believe, in my mind, it's stronger now."

By no means do any of them believe the pitching race changed much Sunday. A bad outing is one bad outing, not a deciding factor, and a good outing isn't much different.

That said, Bonderman does not believe he has a job waiting for him simply by pitching healthy.

"I don't have a job," Bonderman said. "Shoot, there's five guys fighting for two jobs, maybe six guys. I don't know exactly, but there's enough guys fighting for them. [There's] nothing in stone that it's my spot. Until [Leyland] comes up to me and says, 'It's your job,' I don't think I have a job. Just because you're under contract doesn't mean anything. I haven't played in two years.

"I just need to get more consistent and get ahead in the count. Honestly, that's the biggest thing. I fell behind and got beat up today. Last time, I fell behind and got lucky, made good pitches and was able to get guys out front. Today when I fell behind, I walked them or put the ball over the plate too much."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:49 pm

Posted: March 9, 2010
Tigers' Dontrelle Willis appreciates fans' support

BY JOHN LOWE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

In his first inning Monday, Detroit Tigers left-hander Dontrelle Willis -- who has had a recent history of control trouble -- retired the side on six pitches, all strikes. When he left the field, several fans applauded loudly, and some behind the dugout gave him a standing ovation.

"They're rooting for me, and I appreciate it," Willis said after the exhibition loss to Atlanta. "The fans see how hard I play. I care about this. Everybody can kind of relate: Somebody is struggling and trying to bounce back. They're with me every pitch, so it was good to see that."

Willis has pitched twice this spring, and each time he has pitched two scoreless innings. His outing Monday impressed Braves manager Bobby Cox, who watched Willis as an All-Star in the National League with Florida.

"He threw sinkers down, down, down for strikes," Cox said. "His velocity is still down a little bit from what I remember. But he spotted the ball really well, and that's one of the big keys."

BIG DAY: Wednesday will be an interesting day for Bobby Seay and Jacob Turner. Seay, who hasn't thrown off a mound in more than two weeks because of a sore pitching arm, is due to throw from flat ground that day. Turner, the team's No. 1 pick in last year's draft, is due to make his exhibition debut when he pitches in relief against the Yankees.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and facing hitters," said Turner, 18.


HOME AGAIN: Curtis Granderson will be on the Yankees' traveling squad for Wednesday's game against the Tigers in Lakeland, manager Joe Girardi told the New York Times. It will be the first game between the Tigers and Yankees since the Granderson trade, and the first since the Tigers signed ex-Yanks leftfielder Johnny Damon as a free agent.

Contact JOHN LOWE: 313-223-4053 or jlowe@freepress.com. Check out his Tigers blog at freep.com/section/blog18.


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:42 pm

Last Updated: March 10. 2010 4:37PM
Anxious Jim Leyland has 'no clue' who will fill out Tiger rotation
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- An anxious Jim Leyland said Wednesday he has spent sleepless hours pondering the Tigers' starting pitching and "has no clue" who will grab the final two spots in the team's rotation.

Leyland said, however, that it's "98.8 percent" certain that left-hander Phil Coke will begin the year in the Tigers' bullpen. Coke came to the Tigers in December's big trade with the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I talked with three people I very much respect and asked them, if we left today, to give me your starting rotations, and all three had different answers," said Leyland, who acknowledged that his March 10 starting five was different from the other three men, whom he wouldn't identify.

"That's how difficult it's going to be."

Leyland has three starting spots nailed down in Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Max Scherzer, all right-handers. Now that Coke has been all but eliminated, his contenders for the final two spots are left-handers Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, and right-handers Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Eddie Bonine.

Bonderman is recovering from 2008 surgery and has been up and down during his early outings. Robertson, who had elbow surgery last June, has been good in most innings, but had one bad frame. Willis is trying to return from two years of control nightmares. Galarraga had a bad 2009 season that followed a terrific 2008 effort. Bonine is regarded as journeyman who would be considered, ideally, as a long reliever.

"It's the thing I want to get accomplished more than anything else in camp, but I don't know what I'd do today," Leyland said as he openly frets about the uncertainty that the Tigers, for all their candidates, today pose. "I don't care how long it takes. I just wanna get it right.

"It's gonna be interesting. It's gonna be pretty hairy, I'll tell you that.

"My point is, we don't have a clue."

Leyland said he and Dave Dombrowski would make the final roster decisions, with Dombrowski holding the final say as team president and general manager. But he and Dombrowski will listen, which is in step with Dombrowski's habit as well as Leyland's. And the voices weighing in will include hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.

"I've always found it's good to ask the hitting coach," Leyland said. "You find out which guys hitters would like to face and which hitters they don't want to face. I think that's important."

Before the Yankees and Tigers met at Marchant Stadium, Leyland spoke of another reality the Tigers will confront when the team's 25-man Opening Day roster is finalized in three weeks.

With little room in the bullpen, and no minor league options remaining for most of the cast, it is likely some high-profile starters will be cut. And that group could include one or more pitchers holding big contracts of $10 million or more: Robertson, Willis and Bonderman.

"There's a lot at stake here for individuals," he said. "We're not some ruthless people who don't care. We care a lot.

"But it's safe to say at the end of spring training that some people aren't going to be very happy."

Leyland added: "We will do what's best for the Detroit Tigers to win right now.

"But I have no idea how that will play out.

"I'm telling you, I have no clue right now."

lynn.henning@detnews.com.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100310/SPORTS0104/3100422/1129/Tigers--Jacob-Turner--18--strikes-out-side--Yankees-prevail/Anxious-Jim-Leyland-has--no-clue--who-will-fill-out-Tiger-rotation#ixzz0hpOvVT37


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:47 am

i noticed i'm an oneonta tiger now - whew!!!
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:31 pm

msgol wrote:
i noticed i'm an oneonta tiger now - whew!!!



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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:22 pm

Leyland: Hurlers must throw more strikes
Tigers manager wants to see pitchers challenge hitters

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/11/10 5:57 PM EST

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Tigers' rotation picture isn't any clearer than it was a day earlier. What manager Jim Leyland is seeking out of his prospective starters, though, is as clear as a sunny day.

It wasn't exactly a rant from Leyland before Thursday's loss to the Phillies, and it wasn't directed at any particular pitcher, but it was a pointed message nonetheless. After a five-day stretch that featured first-inning exits from two starters and control woes from at least a couple other pitchers, Leyland wants to see Tigers hurlers challenging more hitters.

"This manager judges people on how they get people out when they throw strikes," Leyland said Thursday morning. "Because at the Major League level, you don't get people out with balls unless you've got a nasty split or you have [Justin] Verlander-type stuff once in a while, where they might swing at a 98-mph fastball up high. They don't chase guys that throw 88-91 [mph] very often, unless they've got a nasty split-finger. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking with it.

"You need to throw strikes, and you need to have good enough stuff to get people out in the strike zone if you want to be a successful Major League pitcher. That goes on this team or any other team, in my opinion. It's not directed at anybody. There's a message there for anybody on this team. That's the common fact. That's the way it is."

Verlander paid for a 2-0 count or two Thursday as part of three straight hits in a two-run third inning against the Phillies, but Verlander's the least of Leyland's concerns. As long as Verlander is getting his work in, he should be fine, and the Tigers and Phillies beat the ominous weather to do that Thursday and get Verlander four innings.

The rotation returns to the back end and the competition for two open spots beginning Friday. Weather permitting, Jeremy Bonderman is scheduled to start Friday against the Phils in his first outing since the Blue Jays knocked him out in the first inning Sunday. Nate Robertson will follow, looking to build on his three scoreless innings from that same game.

Dontrelle Willis will try to continue his encouraging camp Saturday when he faces the Yankees in a split-squad game at Joker Marchant Stadium. At the same time, Max Scherzer will visit the Mets looking to rebound from his first-inning exit Monday in which he retired only one of the eight batters he faced. Eddie Bonine, who had two very good innings before tiring in his third inning Tuesday against the Nationals, will most likely pitch again Sunday against the Rays.

All of those guys but Scherzer are trying to sew up jobs. So is Armando Galarraga, who gave up two runs on three hits and two walks Wednesday against the Yankees.

Leyland cautioned he wasn't specifically referring to Galarraga in his message. He talked about Galarraga earlier.

"So far, what I've seen, is his stuff's pretty good," Leyland said. "His accuracy is not."

Galarraga felt good overall about his pitching, but lamented a leadoff walk that led to a two-run second inning. Though he had been working on shifting his arm angle on some pitches to throw off hitters, he shelved that Wednesday to focus more on his workhorse pitches.

That's the conundrum some pitchers face in camp. They know they need to work on certain pitches, but they also know they need to show some results to help their case to make the team, even though Leyland judges much more than Spring Training results.

Nearly every pitcher agrees, though, that they can't work on pitches unless they work on first-pitch strikes. Once they fall behind in counts, they have to go to what works.

"If you're going to pitch 2-0 [counts], you're going to get your butt kicked," Leyland said. "If Verlander pitches 2-0 once in a while with a 98, he might get by with it. If most guys that throw 87-92 [mph[ pitch 2-0 with any type of consistency, they're going to get the stuffing knocked out of them. Plain. Simple. Fact.

"That's how I judge pitchers. I have always, and I always will. How does he get hitters out when he throws it over the plate? And is he willing to throw it over the plate? If you're trying to get guys when you throw 87-91, and you're trying to get guys to swing at balls to get them out, you ain't got a chance."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:53 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
msgol wrote:
i noticed i'm an oneonta tiger now - whew!!!


tyvm!!!
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:54 pm

yes, pitchers have to throw strikes...and hitters have to hit, too!!! otherwise, forget post season (do i dare mention that? I dare...)
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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:54 pm

Posted: 10:18 a.m. March 20, 2010
TIGERS SPRING TRAINING
Tigers make 10 cuts, no surprises

By John Lowe
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

LAKELAND, Fla.-- The Tigers have made their first large cut of spring training.

Between Friday night’s game and this afternoon’s, they sent 10 players to their minor-league camp. None of the 10 was expected to make this season’s Opening Day big-league roster, but several of them are highly regarded prospects.

The 10 players sent out: right-handed pitchers Alfredo Figaro and Cody Satterwhite, left-handed pitcher Andy Oliver, catcher Mike Rabelo, shortstop Gustavo Nunez, third baseman Kory Casto, infielder Audy Ciriaco, first baseman-outfielder Ryan Strieby, and outfielders Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells.


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:38 pm

Another step forward for Willis, Robertson
Latest outings by lefties have Tigers hopeful about rotation

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/22/10 8:11 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dontrelle Willis wore a T-shirt on Monday that showed a selection of school equipment on the front with the words: "Tools of the Job." Monday was the chance for Willis and Nate Robertson to put their selection of tools to work in the fight for their jobs, but they got their work done in different ways.

Gerald Laird knows how Robertson's slider looked last season, so he knows how much sharper it looked as Blue Jays hitters offered at it and missed Monday.

Laird also knows the hubbub about Willis and his velocity compared with his younger days. When Laird felt the pop in his mitt, he was encouraged. When he looked up and saw 93 mph flash on the Dunedin Stadium scoreboard, he had the statistical evidence to back it up.

He isn't backing anyone in particular for the two open spots in Detroit's rotation, but he's backing the notion that this was a good day for Tigers pitching.

"I'm back there for all of them," Laird said after the Tigers' 8-2 win. "I'm giving them all the best I can."

Robertson's 74 pitches were plenty to help further his case that he's ready to be a full-time Major League starter again. Willis' 11 pitches didn't nearly take him that far, but with eight of them at 90 mph or better, they might've helped his case just as well.

Sunday's rainout and the pitching reshuffling that went with it took some innings away from the rotation competition that now heads into its final week and a half. Robertson's start was a chance for him to stretch out his pitch count, while Willis' relief inning essentially amounted to a side session for him to test out some things against Blue Jays hitters before his next scheduled start Thursday afternoon against the same team at Joker Marchant Stadium.

While Robertson scattered two runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings with four strikeouts, Willis pitched a scoreless sixth -- despite two hits -- thanks to a double-play groundout. But it was more about the pitches themselves, and the way the pitchers used them.

Robertson, facing the Jays for the third time this spring, again showed his ability to mix his pitches and do more than pound the inside corner. He threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 20 batters he faced, which allowed him to get ahead in most counts and work on his secondary stuff from there.

He was aggressive while being intelligent about it. That's how manager Jim Leyland wants to see him throw, and that's what he's doing.

"I like getting outs with other pitches. That's the thing," Robertson said. "Strikeouts are fine if you can get to a strikeout count and then make a pitch, but I like getting the ball in play early on pitches other than fastballs. If I'm doing it with a breaking ball or a changeup, that means I'm commanding the zone, they're seeing something that's enticing and getting out front a little bit. That's a big thing."

Robertson's last out, and his only batter of the fifth inning, was a first-pitch changeup that Aaron Hill flied out to left. He used a combination of three sliders and offspeed pitches to send down Vernon Wells swinging after a 2-0 count to lead off the second inning. He mixed in a couple of curveballs just to show he could, though he paid for a first-pitch breaking ball that Randy Ruiz sent out to left for a two-run homer that comprised all of Toronto's scoring.

"I think Nate's feeling good about himself," Leyland said. "He's doing fine. He's doing all right."

Willis said he wasn't intending to respond to criticisms about his recent velocity when he took the mound for the sixth, but his 93-mph heater had that kind of impact, even though it was high and out of the zone. He came back down with three more fastballs, the last of them a 91-mph fastball that sent down Lyle Overbay swinging.

John Buck's ensuing double deep to right-center and Ruiz's grounder on the next pitch put Willis into trouble. But he got out of it with a 90-mph fastball that handcuffed Travis Snider into an inning-ending double play.

"He let some balls go today," Laird said.

If there was any statement on Willis' part, it wasn't that.

"I just wanted to show skip whatever he wants me to do, I'll be ready," Willis said. "If I have the opportunity to pick up where Bobby Seay left off, whatever he wants me to do, I'll do it."

That doesn't mean that's what the Tigers have in mind for him. It certainly gives them some flexibility if he could do it, but if he can get swings and misses consistently, he could do it in any inning.

Monday's game didn't seal any decision, but it made the decision look like a better one.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: SPRING TRAINING NEWS FOR 2010   Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:53 pm

Posted: March 27, 2010
Tigers manager Jim Leyland expects to trim roster today to around 31 or 32

BY DICK SCANLON
FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Tigers will make a round of cuts today and reduce their roster to "somewhere around 31 or 32," manager Jim Leyland said.

The roster currently stands at 39, including left-hander Bobby Seay, who almost certainly will start the season on the disabled list.

Without Seay, the Tigers have 19 pitchers.

Five are left-handers, not including potential starters Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson.

DOUBLE DUTY FOR DAMON: A 36-year-old, 15-year veteran playing a day game after a night game in spring training?

Johnny Damon played centerfield Friday after getting to bed at about 3 a.m. He had played Thursday night's game against the Washington Nationals at Viera.

"That's OK," Damon said. "I don't require much sleep."

It's not quite as grueling as it seems -- Damon lives in Orlando and didn't have to ride all the way back to Lakeland between games.

NO FOURTH STARTER NEEDED: The Tigers aren't really looking for fourth and fifth starters, but for third and fifth starters.

If right-hander Jeremy Bonderman makes the rotation, he will pitch the fifth game of the season, April 10 against Cleveland. Bonderman will be serving a three-game suspension when the season opens, and Rick Porcello is down for the home opener against the Indians on April 9.


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