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Leyland speaks with the press on a number of subjects

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Wednesday, Tigers manager Jim Leyland conversed with reporters on myriad subjects during the Tigers' caravan stop in Toledo.

MLB.com's Jason Beck and the Detroit News' writer Tom Gage both included a number of these quotes on their blogs, so be sure to check those guys out for more details. And Big Al has already written about Leyland's views on the possibility of Phil Coke starting.

But what about the much-maligned Tigers batters? You'll find that after the jump.

The big story is of course the rookies in the lineup.

Leyland cautioned second baseman Scott Sizemore is not Placido Polanco, so don't expect him to hit as well the first month or two. (Or field as well, I'll add, though before you think I'm excessively negative -- too late, I'm sure -- I expect Sizemore to be in the rookie of the year conversation.)

On the other hand, Leyland's not sure what to expect of his new center fielder. Quoted about Austin Jackson by Gage, Leyland said:

"I don't know much about him, and the reviews from a lot of people I respect in baseball went all over the place. Ideally that would be great (to hit him leadoff), but you don't want to throw him to the wolves, either. He may lead off and tear it up, but I'm not smart enough to know that."

One big thing Leyland does as a manager is manage expectations through his quotes to the media. I feel like he's doing that with those players, trying to take a bit of pressure off from the start.

The Tigers manager mentioned the need for his veterans to get off to a fast start and guide the way while the above rookies adjust to the big leagues. Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez will have to play much better this April than they did last. Hopefully all the injuries have healed up. Leyland also believes catcher Gerald Laird will hit better in 2010, now that he doesn't have to learn an entirely new pitching staff.

As for the Tigers' batting order, well, your guess is as good as Leyland's at this point. Like the rest of us, he does not know who he's going to be able to write in at the top of the order after the Tigers traded away leadoff man Curtis Granderson and let No. 2 batter Placido Polanco walk. The players you'd most like to see near the top of this order lack the experience that allows you to write them in from the start, basically.

So, there you have it. It's now less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to Lakeland, and we have actual baseball content to discuss. Do your thing!