There was a Dontrelle Willis sighting over the weekend at TigerFest, and Drew Sharp of the Free Press wonders if we can expect to see a more successful Willis in 2010. Sharp’s article outlines the path Willis has taken to become more mentally healthy and all initial signs say that he has come to grips with his emotions.
At this point, how that affects his performance on the field is anyone’s guess, but if he can come back and just be healthy enough to compete, I would view it as a victory for Willis. Let’s hope that translates to victories for the Tigers.
If you would all indulge me for a moment, I am going to step away from unbiased analysis for a moment. I know the arguments, there is no cure for Steve Blass disease, the Tigers should cut him loose, we cannot afford any charity starts for a guy who can’t find the plate. If only for this few minutes as I write this, I am choosing to reject those arguments. I want Dontrelle on this team. I want him to succeed, or at least be given every opportunity to fail.
It has nothing to do with money for me, only my own selfish joy that I get watching great pitchers pitch. Make no mistake, Willis was great. From watching even his worst efforts last season, you could see the stuff was still there. If somehow he can find a way to harness that, he can be at least good again. And I would be pulling for him no matter what uniform he wears.
And speaking of comebacks, Brandon Inge has been cleared to resume baseball activities following surgery on both knees. He is said to be ahead of schedule, so he should be ready to play in game by the final couple of weeks of Spring Training. Hopefully he can regain his pre-all star break form of 2009. In a lineup with so many question marks, a strong start by Inge would help smooth the transition of Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore to their major league roles.
In other news, Billfer passed along a tweet saying that Jeff Larish was outrighted to AAA. The Tigers are now safely back to 40 on the roster after adding Jose Valverde last week. Jason Beck confirmed in a tweet of his own.
Let me finish up by wishing a very happy 92nd birthday to Mr. Ernie Harwell. The unquestioned voice of the Tigers is turning out articles for the Free Press again, and while his battle with inoperable cancer won’t end in victory, I’m glad he was able to have another birthday. It is my hope that his final days are filled with comfort and happiness. God bless you, Ernie. And thank you for filling my childhood with memories. There will never be another like him.