Detroit Tigers Links: Justin Verlander pitched well in first 'start' & potential solutions for Andy Dirks

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Verlander pitched well in his first "start" of spring training, more potential solutions for the problems surrounding Andy Dirks, and your guide to being a good Tigers fan in 2014.

Tigers links:

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus turned down Princeton - and Harvard
The Detroit News, Tom Gage

As the discussion in his Thursday morning media session turned to the circumstances of him signing his first contract, I asked, 'If you hadn't gone to Dartmouth, where would you have gone?'

Healthy Tiger Justin Verlander strong in first 'start' of spring training
The Detroit News, Lynn Henning

Now, at last, Justin Verlander believes he understands 2013. Why and how his mysterious midseason struggles were spawned is less a mystery. His gut was a mess.

Detroit Tigers' Andy Dirks: 'It could be a lot worse'
Detroit Free Press, John Lowe

Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks was upbeat and resilient today as he spoke about the pending back surgery that will sideline him at least three months.

Thinking injuries on a rainout day
Beck's Blog, Jason Beck

I've heard a lot of people mention what I was thinking at the Winter Meetings: Jim Leyland looks younger since he retired as manager.

30 Tigers in 30 Days: #14 – Drew Smyly
Walkoff Woodward, Grey Papke

He was excellent for most of the season, but in his first career year as a reliever, he seemed to run low on fuel toward the end.

Potential Solutions for Detroit Tigers' Andy Dirks Problem
Motor City Bengals, Grant Stoye

Well, Andy Dirks sure took the wind out of our sails, eh?

Your Guide to Being a Good Tigers Fan in 2014

Today, I bring some friendly advice on how you, John or Jane Q. McTigerfan, can be a better Tigers fan and possibly a better person in the year 2014. Some of this I have covered in the past, but there’s no harm in a refresher course.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Albert Pujols was insulted when someone asked him if he can put up Mike Trout numbers
HardballTalk, Craig Calcaterra

Bob Nightengale spoke with Albert Pujols and Pujols mentioned a question someone asked him early in spring training. The question: "are you motivated to put up the same numbers as Mike Trout?" Pujols, remembering it and obviously still mad, went off.

5-foot-10 Tim Lincecum switches uniforms with 6-8 Kameron Loe and hilarity ensues
Big League Stew, David Brown

Reporter Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area sensed hijinks were afoot with the San Francisco Giants once he stepped into their spring clubhouse at Scottsdale, Ariz., on Thursday morning.

The greatest pitcher of all time?
SweetSpot Blog, David Schoenfield

There's an argument to be made that Lefty Grove is the greatest pitcher of all time, although few people make that argument.

Tigers tweets:

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