Verlander threw his third bullpen session of the week Saturday morning as Tigers pitchers and catchers went through their second full day of workouts. He threw 41 pitches — one more than he was scheduled to throw — and said it went very well.
“It felt good,” Verlander said. “Really, it’s kind of getting to the point where I don’t even feel anything in my hips or my groin. Everything feels good. I’m starting to just completely forget about it and focusing on getting my arm ready.”
All looks good for Verlander to start the season in the rotation (whether he starts Opening Day or Game 2 will be an interesting choice for Manager Brad Ausmus). At this point in his typical off-season regiment, Verlander would be throwing around 50 pitches, so perhaps a week behind where he’d normally be.
Some MLB execs share fans’ pessimism about Tigers’ moves – Lynn Henning, Detroit News
The critics, of course, contend that replacing Fister with Drew Smyly, and trading Fielder’s bat for that of a rookie, Castellanos, is no way to make yourself better – not even when the bullpen has since added an authentic closer in Joe Nathan.
They might be right. Or, they might prove to be superficial to a point of recklessness in assessing a team some of us thought had to become significantly better at balancing a lineup that last year reminded me of every slow-pitch softball juggernaut I ever saw.
For what it’s worth–everyone was saying what an awful off-season the Boston Red Sox had coming into the 2013 season. The Tigers can fully attest to how those low expectations turned out.
Austin Jackson hit atop the lineup nearly every regular-season game last year, and there’s still a chance he could reclaim that spot this season. But his lack of production batting first in last year’s postseason — and his sudden offensive resurgence in the No. 8 spot — leads me to believe he likely won’t be the Tigers’ everyday leadoff man.
Which, in my eyes, leaves Kinsler and Davis as the top two candidates. It’s possible Ausmus could rotate both in a platoon of sorts, but I tend to believe it’ll be one or the other. Regardless, in either scenario, I see Torii Hunter reclaiming his spot as the No. 2 hitter. What say you?
There is still a segment of fans who want Austin Jackson to return to the leadoff spot, but others think he’d do better further down in the lineup as he did during a very small sample size in the ALCS. I believe, like Schmehl, the front-runners are Ian Kinsler and Rajai Davis. In that scenario, however, you have to think Kinsler gets the nod on most nights since Davis and Andy Dirks figure to be getting an even split in left field.
Ausmus said there was also a chance that Miguel Cabrera could play a game or two at third base and Martinez could play first base during those games in National League parks.
“I actually even mentioned it to Miggy,” Ausmus said. “Miggy is a team guy and he told me, ‘Listen, I still have two gloves. Whatever you need.’ So at the end of March, if you see Miggy play third for a game, you don’t have to immediately say that (Nick) Castellanos is in trouble or (Steve) Lombardozzi’s in trouble.
Matt Snyder discussed this a few days back. It’s no surprise that V-Mart will get some time behind home–he caught a few games last season. It’s also refreshing to see Miggy could shift back to third for games in NL Parks. This year the Tigers have a lot of lineup flexibility. Whereas last year if you wanted to DH Miggy, you’d have to sit V-Mart because he couldn’t play first and end Prince Fielder’s consecutive game streak.
And, as a bonus, if V-Mart gets more time at first while Cabrera is DHing or playing a rare game at third, we get to see this: