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Prepare to feel sorry for everyone in Lakeland: it was 44 degrees

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All together now from those of us back home in the state of Michigan: Awwww!

Lakeland, Fla., had a cold spell on Thursday that sent players and media scurrying for sweatshirts, coats and hats -- except Ryan Raburn, whom's Jason Beck reported dressed in his regular short-sleeves. By the way, Raburn's a native of Florida. So I don't know what the midwestern Jim Leyland was so bundled up for.

Tom Gage of the Detroit News -- now on Twitter (@Tom_Gage) -- of course knows the folly of Florida trying to compete with Michigan in February when it comes to cold weather. So he wrote on his blog:

Out of respect for where it's really cold, instead of extremely chilly, I should never say it's cold at spring training.

Would you accept that it's 'less tolerable' here than usual?

Yes, Tom, I think we can accept that. Because 40 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze is pretty much shorts weather at this time of the year.

In other news, there actually was baseball to consider. Pitchers threw batting practice, leading to this quote, which should make us very hopeful.

Cabrera's reaction to Bonderman's live batting practice today: "that's dirty."

That quote comes via the official Tigers account on Twitter. Beck has more reactions from the batters in his story.

Bonderman was the subject of a column by the News' Bob Wojnowski yesterday, and even more reason for optimism could be found there. Bonderman said he can throw without feeling pain the next day, and he's genuinely happy just to be playing baseball again after his struggles for the past 18 months or so. Wojo quotes:

"This is better than I've felt probably since 2004," said Bonderman, a Tigers starter since 2003. "I appreciate being on the field, I appreciate being in the clubhouse, I appreciate being able to go out and compete. I just want to play. I'll let what I do on the field dictate where I am in the rotation. I gotta serve the three-game suspension anyhow, so I can't be any higher than fourth."

It goes without saying getting a healthy Bonderman back for the first time since the first half of 2007 would be huge for the team's chances at competing for the division. Unfortunately, for that reason it is going to be pretty hard to predict what Bonderman will do this season with any level of confidence. The projection systems will look at the past two seasons and see him as most likely having another below-average year in 2010. But if he's healthy, I don't think it's a stretch to think to say that Bonderman will outperform the ERA projections of 5.10 or 6.11 (PECOTA).

It all comes down to "If."

That should be the slogan of spring training.

There's a lot of links and headlines today: