I don’t know what the weather was like in your neck of the woods over the weekend, but as I was out enjoying the 73-degree day in Philadelphia yesterday, it occurred to me that the only thing missing was the opportunity to listen to a radio broadcast featuring the dulcet tones of Dan Dickerson and the opportunity to once again play one of my favorite games: “What is Jim Price eating on live radio?”
Well, friends, this Friday, just one day after our yearly ritual of crashing the Florida Southern website, Dan and Jim return to fill our ears with the sounds of baseball and our hearts with joy. First, we have to get through today. Here’s what I have for you.
Notes out of Lakeland
We’re in the midst of our spring training position-by-position primers. Saturday, Brandon offered up the rundown on the starting pitchers in camp this spring. Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez are on that list. Many believe that the tandem are an important part of a successful season for the Tigers. We may see one or both of them in the starting rotation (God help us), but they both maintain that they are here to do the best they can and play where they’re asked to. Pelfrey is coming in 25 pounds lighter this year. If it helps him do more than be a skinnier version of the pitcher who notched a 5.15 FIP last year, I’ll take it.
In a similar vein, starting pitcher Michael Fulmer also put in some work in the offseason, saying he trained harder than he has before. The good news is it looks like he tweaked his routine with an eye toward increasing his endurance. He is going to need it.
In the Detroit Tigers’ version of the standard “check out our utility guy” article, Jason Beck talks with Andrew Romine about the eight gloves he brought to spring training. I really hope he only uses three or four tops. As any good article covering the Tigers’ utility spot should, they talked about Don Kelly. Donnie rolled 11 gloves deep. Catch up, Andrew.
With the full team in camp we get treated to some pretty fun things. Things like our best pitcher, Justin Verlander, squaring off against our best hitter, first baseman Miguel Cabrera. These matchups are something Verlander takes seriously, and Cabrera takes in the more jovial manner a man who can impose his will on a baseball with the natural gifts of a demigod would. Based on the results of this head-to-head, it looks like Justin is in fine shape, and maybe not quite as dead serious as one would have been lead to believe.
Manager Brad Ausmus took a little time to talk defense and base running, and the money quote (“We are who we are”) should be an indicator that you’re not going to see a ton of changes over previous years. On one hand, this is a little disappointing to hear. On the other, I find it kind of refreshing that we aren’t getting the whole “We’re gonna steal bases this year!” song and dance.
On defense, it appears that the Tigers are trying to get better in ways that they can. In one case, right fielder J.D. Martinez is looking to improve over last year. On the offensive side, this team is built to mash and trot. Get used to that.
While we’re on the subject of slow, poor defense, apparently utility man Omar Infante would like a shot at playing center field this year. So would I, Omar. So would I.
For your free time
Yordano Ventura’s last year. The Yankees blame Dellin Betances for slipping attendance numbers in the arbitration process. Carter Capps and his weird-ass pitching delivery are back. Could spring training be better?