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Breaking Down the D-Train

If you didn't see it after last night's Tigers game, John Kruk and Buck Showalter talked about Dontrelle Willis's demotion to Single-A on "Baseball Tonight," comparing videotape of the 2007 version of D-Train to his 2008 counterpart.

Something Kruk and Showalter didn't look at, however, is how added bulk on the D-Train might be affecting his delivery. That's a point both Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal brought up in their most recent postings. I already quoted Olney in a FanShot earlier today, but here's what Rosenthal wrote in his latest column:

One theory circulating among the Tigers is that left-hander Dontrelle Willis is much more muscular than he was during his 22-win season in 2005, making it much more difficult for him to repeat his mechanics. Willis requires great flexibility to achieve the contortion in his delivery; he might need to work with a strength and conditioning coach to regain the suppleness he once had.

So maybe D-Train needs to lay off the weights while in Lakeland, while the Tigers invest in some yoga and pilates instructors? Send Javair Gillett down there with some resistance stretch bands? Hey, try anything and everything.

(Thanks as always to Eric Seidman for providing the video clip on request. If you haven't done so already, check out the good stuff he's been writing for Baseball Prospectus recently.)