Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt, and the Detroit Tigers MLB Fan Cave finalists: Morning Prowl

Feb 21, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander during spring training at Joker Merchant Stadium.

Tigers links:

Justin Verlander says he talked to Roy Oswalt about becoming a Tiger -- Detroit Free Press, John Lowe
It was speculated last month that Verlander made his case to Oswalt about possibly becoming a Tiger, and today he confirmed it. It obviously didn't spark any interest in the free agent, considering we still don't know where he's going to end up. I think Oswalt would be a perfect candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation, but it's looking more and more likely that it won't happen.

2012 MLB Season Preview: Detroit Tigers -- The Triangle Blog, Jonah Keri
Grantland's predictions for the 2012 season include a division title. And to quote Keri, "A hell of a lot would have to go wrong" for them to miss that opportunity. Though he's quick to point out just how bad Detroit's defense could be, and how much it could potentially impact the outcome of the season.

Positional All-Star droughts: AL teams -- SweetSpot Blog, David Schoenfield
This is fun. Schoenfield looks at what the longest positional drought is for each team at the All-Star game. For the Tigers, it's left field. Which is hilarious considering all the off-season talks surrounding that very position. Me thinks that drought won't be ending anytime soon.

Day 3: The road back for Alburquerque -- Beck's Blog, Jason Beck
"I know they’re really good, but even if you’re really good, you burp." — Jim Leyland on the Detroit Red Wings’ NHL record home winning streak, now at 23 games. And now we can officially say it's Leyland's fault that the Wings win-steak ended last night.

The subtle brilliance of Lynn Henning -- Brain Matters
Phil Coke's Brain may be on to something. It appears Lynn Henning's every move -- or should I say word -- is a calculated game. He is good, guys. Click the link and see for yourself.

Tigers' Brandon Inge isn't helping his cause -- The Detroit News, Tom Gage
I just. I can't. I have nothing nice to say about this article, so I'm going to just keep my mouth shut.

Alex Avila is ready to grow off a positive 2011 season -- Detroit Sports 360, Garrett K
I remember thinking "here we go again" early last season after an Alex Avila strikeout with men in scoring position. But somewhere very soon after that, Avila got hot, and he never really let up (let's not count the postseason). And that's despite being run ragged for the better part of 2011. I'm hoping Avil's .295 average in 2011 can translate into 2012.

Fan Cave field for 2012 narrowed to 30 finalists -- MLB.com, Mark Newman
The field of finalists for the 2012 Fan Cave have been cut down to 30 -- including two Detroit Tigers entrants. Brad Jeffers and Jay Tuohey are among the final 30 who will head to Arizona next week for the next round of challenges.

Around the AL Central:

Anti-Ozzie: Ventura era gets underway with Chicago White Sox -- Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
There's obviously a different feel in Chicago without the ever-popular, always entertaining Ozzie Guillen as manager. I'm honestly curious: Does having someone like Robin Ventura -- who's by all accounts nothing like his predecessor -- change the way the White Sox play for better or for worse?

LaPorta in a battle for bench role -- indians.com, Jordan Bastian
"The chances of first baseman Matt LaPorta making the Indians' Opening Day roster appear slim, but manager Manny Acta is not ready to rule anything out as Spring Training begins for the ballclub."

Elsewhere in baseball:

Ryan Braun’s Name Is Cleared, but Questions Linger -- NYTimes.com, Tyler Kepner
Haters to the left! ... Only kidding. I really don't have an opinion on the whole Braun saga, other than the fact that anytime I hear his name, I'm immediately required to go watch the Ryan Braun falling gif. It's just necessary. But, I would love to hear what everyone else thinks about the great mystery of the tainted urine sample. It makes for great conversation.

Police: Elijah Dukes tried to eat bag of pot during traffic stop -- TBO.com
Oh Elijah Dukes ... never change.

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