Detroit Tigers Links: Justin Verlander’s first hits, Stephen Drew still “good idea” & Joaquin Benoit looks back fondly


Mar 6, 2014; Peoria, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit (56) pitches against the Texas Rangers at Peoria Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers’ Joe Nathan not offering hitting advice to fellow pitchers despite two career home runs – Chris Iott, MLive

"The closer for the Detroit Tigers hit two home runs in his career — 17 days apart — and is the only current Tigers pitcher to hit a home run. Someone jokingly asked whether Nathan was hoping to get an at-bat in interleague play this season and whether he has used his hitting resume to dispense advice to other members of the pitching staff."

Turns out one Tigers’ pitcher didn’t need that advice…

Tigers’ Justin Verlander, in his 10th year in the majors, finally gets first hit — and then his second – Tom Gage, Detroit News

"“After nine years in the big leagues, I don’t think the Padres were thinking it was my first hit,” said Verlander, “but I got the ball back.”Where’s he going to put it?“On my mantle somewhere, probably front and center.”"

Since the debut of interleague play in 1997, Verlander became only the fourth Tigers’ pitcher to have two hits in one game (Rick Porcello and Jeff Weaver the others–Weaver doing it twice). He ended up going 2-for-3 and missed out on becoming the first Tigers’ pitcher with three hits since 1969 (Denny McLain).

Stephen Drew Still Might Be A Good Idea For Detroit Tigers – Brad Faber, Rant Sports

"It is unclear how much patience the Tigers are going to have with Gonzalez and Romine this season, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski would make a lot of Tigers fans happy by going out and signing Drew to a one-year deal before someone else does."

I still don’t think the Tigers will go the Drew route–at least not right now. The Alex Gonzalez experiment is yielding dreadful results thus far, however I think if Detroit decides to cut Gonzalez, they’ll dip to the farm for a replacement. They just don’t seem to want to give up that first rounder. In June, maybe, but then the Tigers may be bidding against other teams who also were waiting on that draft pick compensation to go away. And the asking price and demand for Drew will rise.

Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit calls years with Tigers ‘special’ – John Lowe, Detroit Free Press

"“Every year was different, but I enjoyed every year there,” Benoit said at his locker in the Padres clubhouse during the Tigers’ current visit to San Diego. “The whole Tigers organization treated me well. So did all my teammates.”“We absolutely loved Joaquin — he did a tremendous job for us the whole time he was here,” Dombrowski said Saturday. “When it came down to it, we had Joe Nathan over Joaquin as a closer, and that’s the direction we decided to pursue."

Hindsight is 20/20. With the Tigers’ bullpen in shreds, having Benoit as the set-up man and/or an emergency closer while Joe Nathan works through his “dead arm” would be refreshing. Alas, Dombrowski never could have known that Bruce Rondon would be lost for the year and Nathan would be struggling so mightily.