February 28, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Patrick Leyland (77) poses for photo day in the rec room at the Detroit Tigers headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The first game of the World Series doesn’t begin until Wednesday, so the Tigers found themselves with five full days off following their sweep of the New York Yankees. It was a similar situation to 2006 when the long layoff seemed to cause more rust than rest for the Tigers who dropped the series to the St. Louis Cardinals in relatively sloppy fashion.
So this year Jim Leyland is trying something different. Instead of light workouts and lots of days at home, the team is mixing in scrimmages with some of their minor league (and non-roster) players.
Of course, it’s not the same thing as actual playoff games, and it likely won’t be full-tilt intensity, but the Tigers are hoping that some sort of live action will keep the players sharp and focused as they wait for the Cardinals and Giants to finish up their series.
Paul Wezner of TigsTown.com was able to uncover a bunch of the names (click the link for the full list).
"Those players included left-hander Joe Rogers, right-handers Slade Smith and Hudson Randall, third baseman Jason King, infielder Devon Travis, and outfielder Jeff McVaney. Jim’s son Patrick is also in town for the playoffs, and is a likely candidate to participate. It’s also likely that a number of players that were left off the postseason roster thus far but spent time with the big league club will be around as well, including Brennan Boesch and Brayan Villarreal."
That sounds like a cool opportunity for the young guys to feel like a part of the action as the organization plays for their first World Championship since 1984. Usually players such as these only get to interact with the likes of Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander in limited stints in Spring Training, but now they’ll get to play with the best in the middle of a playoff run.