Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan both signed with the Tigers this offseason, adding to the foundation of playoff experience already in Detroit's bullpen. Both know what they need to do, and neither is about to let the lofty expectations being placed on the team add any pressure this spring. Instead, they're just getting their work in right now, and the rest can be sorted out later.
"The game is filled with pressure," Nathan said. "Everybody's striving to get to the World Series. That should be everybody's goal at the beginning of the year. If that's not your goal then something's wrong. There's no more pressure on this team than there is on any club out there. Is saying we're good on paper mean we've got more pressure on us? I don't think so, because I think most people who know this game know anything can happen. It doesn't matter what you look like on paper, it's about going out there and getting it done. "
Chamberlain hopes some of his success with the Yankees will be useful to the Tigers.
"It's one of those things they've been close," he said. "They know what they want to do. Being a part of it and having a chance to win the World Series before I kind of know what it takes and what we need to do, and I think this team has everything it needs to get to where it wants to be. We just need to continue to play our game and stay in our zones and not do too much."
And that's why, exactly, pouring over the box scores this early would be a fruitless effort. Look good? Look bad? It doesn't really matter at all at this point. Chamberlain and Nathan both went into their game Thursday against the Braves with a job to do, and that job is to throw a few pitches to live batters.
"It was just nice to get the first one out of the way," Chamberlain said. "Just nice to get out on the field facing a different team, just put your plan into action and move forward in the spring."
Nathan said he's just getting his reps in, working to build his arm strength up and experience a bit of adrenaline from returning to the mound.
"For the most part, just worry about control and command of all your pitches," Nathan said.
"Getting out there every day and trying to build off of what you did previously. If there's something you want to work on, maybe tweak or fine tune something you weren't so happy with from the previous outing, just continue to work on that. For the most part, it's just about going out there on a daily basis, allow that time to just build your arm strength up."
Nathan, with only his fourth major league team, said the Tigers' camp has been a good one so far.
"They put their work in when they need to but they're also really relaxed and make sure guys are getting what they need to without going too far and risking injury," Nathan said.