Tag:Detroit Tigers
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Rotation against Verlander in All-Star Game

LOS ANGELES -- Detroit's rotation could keep Justin Verlander from pitching in next month's All-Star Game, but an early look at the top pitchers in each league shows few other conflicts right now.

Unless weather fouls things up, both Boston's Josh Beckett (last projected first-half start: Friday, July 8) and the Angels' Jered Weaver (Thursday, July 7) should be available options for American League manager Ron Washington to start the July 12 game in Phoenix.

And in the NL, Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (both would start Wednesday, July 6) would be available to manager Bruce Bochy, as would the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (Thursday, July 7) and, possibly, Philadelphia's Cole Hamels.

Hamels currently is projected to start on Tuesday, July 5, and the Phillies have an off day on July 6. If manager Charlie Manuel stays on rotation, Hamels would not pitch again until, possibly, the All-Star Game. If Manuel decides to skip a starter on an off day Thursday (unlikely), then Hamels could wind up starting on Sunday the 10th.

The problem for Verlander, who has one no-hitter and a couple of near-misses this year, is that, barring rainouts, he'll start the Tigers' final game of the first half on Sunday, July 10.

Looking both to keep pitchers healthy and to give All-Star managers real options, baseball last year instituted a rule prohibiting anybody pitching Sunday from working in the All-Star Game. Those pitchers named to the team are still All-Stars and can be in uniform in the dugout, they're just not eligible to play.

Really, it's a no-brainer that for a manager not to juggle his rotation to accommodate the All-Star Game, and that's essentially what Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said this week. His first responsibility is to win games for the Tigers, period.

"Our schedule is what it is," he said. "Our rotation falls the way it does."

Though his Dodgers are buried in fourth place in the NL West -- unlike the Tigers, who are battling for the AL Central title -- Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly says he will handle Kershaw the same way Leyland is handling Verlander.

"I think if his spot comes up Sunday, he pitches Sunday," Mattingly said. "I don't think we can start shifting things around because of the All-Star Game.

"It's an honor to be chosen. If a guy is chosen and he's not able to pitch, you have enough slots [to replace him] and it's still an honor."

Posted on: May 20, 2011 2:21 pm
Edited on: May 20, 2011 2:26 pm
 

Love Letters: The Killebrew (and more) Edition

A few tears (farewell, Harmon Killebrew) and a few laughs (hello again, Bronx Zoo), it's good for the soul. ...

FROM: Ed K.
Re: Killebrew was no 'Killer', except when it came to slugging

Dear Scott,

Your tribute to Harmon is terrific. My 10-year-son is starting to learn baseball history, and I will share your story with him. I once met Killebrew in Vegas. He was selling autographs, with ALL proceeds going to a children-based charity.

Cool thing is, you could read his autograph. One of my favorite things is how the Twins' Michael Cuddyer and the Angels' Torii Hunter tell stories that, when they were young, they both scribbled autographs until corrected by Mr. Killebrew. "If you're going to take the time to write your name, write it so people know who you are," Killebrew schooled them. Pure class.

FROM: Brian

"Listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds, until cancer slipped a final fastball by him Tuesday." Really? A man loses his life to cancer and you're making baseball metaphors? I typically enjoy your columns but this line is unprofessional, disrespectful and a literary stretch I'd more likely expect to find in a high school publication.

For a man who devoted his life to baseball ... you really think it's a stretch to use a baseball metaphor in tribute to him? What should be used, good metaphors?

FROM: Chris H.

Scott,

I am a 48-year-old Twins fanatic, and Harmon was and always will be my hero. You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of my hero. Thank you so much for this article. Simply put, you did Harmon justice and being who Harmon was, that is quite a feat!

Thanks, Chris. I think it's our job to educate some of the younger fans who maybe don't know much about Killebrew as to just what a humble and class act he was.

FROM: Mike F.

This story may be apocryphal, but I once heard that the scout Bluege sent to look at Harmon Killebrew as a 17-year-old reported back to Clark Griffith as follows: "He has absolutely no weaknesses as a hitter. In my opinion, he is the best first base prospect since Lou Gehrig."

I just learned that Killebrew was passed over several time in the Hall of Fame voting. How is that possible? I know there are a few HOF voters who will not vote for anyone, but how could any sane person who knows baseball not see this guy as a first ballot Hall of Fame selection?

Especially because, as he was being passed over three times before being voted into Cooperstown, he ranked second all-time among right-handed home run hitters behind Hank Aaron. When he retired in 1975, he ranked second to Babe Ruth all-time among American League home run hitters. Utter nonsense he wasn't a first-ballot HOFer.

FROM: Bob D.

Thanks Scott. You understand.

Sniff.

FROM: Kevin M.

Mr. Miller,

Thank you so much for this article about Harmon Killebrew. He was such an inspiration to me while I was a boy. I loved listening to the radio and watching him play.

We've always gotta remember our inspirations, don't we?

FROM: Norman
Re: History tells us Yankees do not grow old gracefully

Great piece, Scott. A classic. History ... gracefully.

One thing you learn when writing a piece like that: How many Yankees fans lack a sense of humor.

FROM: Lee

Your column that the Yankees do not grow old gracefully is pretty interesting. Are the quotes accurate from these past managers and owners?

Uh, no. The tipoff was in the fact that I said the old Yankees diaries were grabbed by Navy SEALS at the YES Network fortress. Almost all of the historical information in the column is factual: The Yanks dumping Ruth, management leaning on Joe McCarthy to remove Lou Gehrig from the lineup sooner than he did because Gehrig's production was down, Steinbrenner forcing Reggie Jackson to take a physical ... all true. I had some fun with the "quotes" and what they were "thinking" at the time.

FROM: Eric S.

Really liked the concept, Scott. Was completely thrown off when I saw you were going make-believe, and not funny at that. The real dagger was the Gehrig stuff, though. That is just tasteless. I am hard to offend and think I have a well-developed sense of inappropriate humor, but there are some things that will never be funny. With all that Yankee material in your hands, trying to instead get laughs out of a debilitating disease is kind of pathetic. You could have done what it seemed like you set out to do -- tell the actual stories, not a corny, LOL nimrod version and had a great column. You can do far better.

Oh come on now. You can't tell me you didn't at least chuckle at the Joe Pepitone line.

FROM: Steve

You're an idiot. I want the 30 seconds of my life back that I wasted reading this drivel.

We just completed an old-fashioned baseball trade: I dealt your 30 seconds for the 30 it took to read your drivel.

FROM: Lee P.

Scott,
 
I actually know Babe Dahlgren’s grandson.  John wears Babe’s 1939 World Championship ring in honor of his grandfather. He will get a kick out of your column! I grew up in NY and finally moved to sunny, beautiful Southern California in 1995 and still love the Yankees. Yankees management and the media are always up to something. Keep up the good work!

Ah, 1939: A four-game Yanks sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, and Dahlgren contributed a homer and two RBI.

FROM: Edward
Re.: Compared to Yanks, 'immature' Rays whip-smart

You may be the worst baseball columnist on all of the major sports sites on the internet. Your bias shines through in every article you write, and is hardly EVER backed by any facts. Consider a new career. Maybe put a cool rag on your forehead, sit in a dark room, and re-evaluate your life.

Funny, I do that about twice a year. Usually with pizza, Mountain Dew and National Lampoon's Animal House playing.

FROM: Bob

Cheesy? Cheesy? America's game should not wear Red, White and Blue on the most important days of the country? While Jackie Robinson's efforts were tremendous -- big Dodger fan here -- it was only in this country could that have happened in the western world. The only country to elect an African-American and did not have colonies in Africa. But it would seem history is not your forte, Ass!

If 100 percent of the profits from the red, white and blue caps went to the troops, I'd be fully in favor of it.

FROM: Chris

Wow ... banging on the Yankees with Tampa as the new flavor of the week. What guts, Scott. But I guess who would read what you write if it didn't include knocking the Yankees? I know I wouldn't. And congrats on one thing: You didn't even mention New York's bloated payroll. Oh but I forgot, you're a pro. You will save that one for next week when the Bombers have turned it around again.

Sorry, I stopped reading when you said you wouldn't read what I write if it didn't include knocking the Yankees. Was there anything pertinent after that?

Likes: Jim Leyland on interleague play. He's right. ... Very cool story, Cleveland's Orlando Cabrera missing a game the other day to become a U.S. citizen. ... Mets pitcher Dillon Gee. ... Sean Burroughs back in the majors (with Arizona) for the first time since 2007. Great story. ... Stephen Colbert the other night: "Starbucks is being sued for firing a dwarf. Or, as Starbucks calls him, a 'tall.'" ... Bridesmaids is pretty funny for a chick flick. Not great. But entertaining. Probably about as good as we're going to get in another crappy summer movie season. ... Bob Seger in Detroit for three shows this week. Wish I could be there for one of those -- and preferably for this past Tuesday's show when The Rockets opened. What a great, underrated Detroit group they were from the late 1970s-early 1980s. Turn up the radio, indeed.

Dislikes: Farewell to Harmon Killebrew, one of the great human beings the game has ever seen.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When the Senators stopped playin’ ball
"The Twin Cities got the call
"Minnesota joined the American League
"With Mele at the reins
"The Twins made instant gains
"In ’65 they had the flag and an MVP
"I’m talkin’ baseball
"Allison and Perry
"Twins baseball
"Kitty Kaat and Jerry
"Don Mincher and Mudcat comin’ through
"Jimmie Hall and Davey Boswell, too
"Just like Tony ... the Killer and Carew

-- Terry Cashman, Talkin' Baseball (Twins version)

Posted on: May 8, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Sizzling Sizemore leading Indians

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- This might sound funny, but the fact that Grady Sizemore has hit so well since returning to the Indians lineup on April 17 is almost a bonus. What Cleveland was celebrating upon first welcoming back the three-time All-Star was simply what he brings with him into the clubhouse.

Sizemore is one of a handful of elite players in the majors whose mere presence makes everyone around him better.

"You see the way he plays the game, the way he runs out every ground ball, the way he's diving all over the place," designated hitter Travis Hafner says. "He's the first one here every day. Him and Shin-Soo Choo are our two best players, and when they play that way, it just sets the tone."

Maybe something like a team's best talent always hustling should be taken for granted, but anybody who's watched Detroit's Miguel Cabrera "run" to first at times knows that the tone can be set in the wrong direction, too.

"Obviously, what he's done speaks for itself," outfielder Austin Kearns says. "But just his presence every day, how he goes about his business, how he plays the game ... it's the way it's supposed to be done."

Though the Indians dropped Sunday's series finale in Anaheim 6-5, they still earned a split on their West Coast trip (3-3) and have won nine of 12, and Sizemore on Sunday went 3 for 5 (including a homer and a double) and continued to spark the Tribe after a tough, tough year.

Micro-fracture surgery is not a first choice if you're an athlete facing the knife. It's a nasty injury with a long, tedious rehabilitation. Sizemore had the surgery on his left knee last June and hadn't played since last May 16 [aside, of course, from a minor-league injury rehab assignment just before being activated in mid-April].

Sizemore says, as Tom Petty once did, the waiting was the hardest part.

"I think just the time away from the team while you're rehabbing, it's frustrating," says Sizemore, 28. "The amount of time it takes.

"Every case is different. I didn’t really have a set program. You're really going month-to-month. We had a general outline, and I was constantly going back to the doctor to get re-examined and see where I'm at."

How many times? Too many to count, Sizemore says. But it was every five or six weeks for the past year.

Baseball-wise, the most difficult part of coming back after missing so much time, Sizemore says, is, "it's all difficult. The hardest part was probably stuff you can't simulate in games -- balls in the gap, rounding the bases hard, having to come to a complete stop when you're running."

Of course, by roaring off to a 10-4 start before Sizemore's return, the Indians didn't make it any easier on the poor guy.

"It was fun to watch, but it made the time I had left to return that much harder," Sizemore says, smiling.

But now, it makes things that much easier -- except, perhaps, where the outfielder's future is involved. In the final season of a six-year, $23.45 million contract, the Indians hold an $8.5 million option on him for 2012 (with a $500,000 buyout), though that becomes a player option if he's traded.

Though his long-term future in Cleveland seems doubtful, at this point, he's probably safe from any stealth July deals.

"I'm just trying to get through the weeks right now," Sizemore says. "It's the furthest thing from my ming right now. My biggest thing was to get back on the field, and not look past tomorrow."

Likes: Hitting streaks. ... Derek Jeter passing Cal Ripken Jr. for most games played at shortstop with one team. And after his two homers Sunday and boosting his average up to .276, maybe now he's earned another grace period. ... Rookie phenom debuts, and Eric Hosmer's mother, father, brother, aunt and uncle all flying into Kansas City from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for his debut on Friday night. ... Tom Hamilton, now in his 22nd season as the radio voice of the Cleveland Indians. Always great fun talking with Tom. ... Friday Night Lights back on television. Four shows into its final season and I'm still debating whether to just pick up the entire season on DVD. If I get the DVDs, I can rip through all 15 episodes. But not having the DVDs slows down the process and forces me to savor each episode for just a little longer. It's such a great show.

Dislikes: Awful, awful stuff in post-tornado Alabama. Here's a list of ways you can help.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
"And they've been known to pick a song or two
"Lord they get me off so much
"They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
"Now how about you?

-- Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sweet Home Alabama

Posted on: April 26, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Stuff my editors whacked from the column

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Outtakes from some time spent with Jered Weaver and his choir of Angels. ...

-- After tagging Jered Weaver with the only loss he's taken in 2011 -- an arbitration beating last winter -- Angels general manager Tony Reagins confirms Weaver's account, that it was business as usual when the right-hander came to camp this spring.

"Unchanged," Reagins says of Weaver's demeanor. "I think he knew what to expect in the process. He went through it, but he didn't let it affect him.

The Angels had offered $7.365 million. Weaver, who earned $4.265 million in 2010, countered at $8.8 million. Weaver says he arrived in spring camp with neither a chip on his shoulder or with excess motivation to prove that he should have been awarded his payday.

"Not at all," Weaver says. "Business is business. Obviously, it was the first time I've gone through anything like that. You never take the business side of baseball and bring it to the fun part of it. That gets you in trouble. I've got pretty thick skin."

-- Weaver is eligible for free agency after the 2012, season, by the way. And with Scott Boras as his agent, Angels fans are advised not to fall too deeply in love with him.

-- Weaver gives off the appearance of a quiet, laid-back guy. But there's more beneath the surface.

"I see a guy who is a leader," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher says. "He really stepped into the role last year. He wanted to challenge himself, and he reaped the rewards. He puts in a lot of hard work. He communicates very well with his teammates. He's very open. He mingles with everybody."

Says fellow starter Dan Haren: "I'm laid back off the field, and I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve on the field. He's laid back off the field, but on the field he's competitive and fiery. I've pitched on quite a few teams, and he ranks right up there with his will to win. He'll do anything. I've seen him throw 125 pitches and then beg to go back out there.

"You don't see that much anymore. At least, I don't."

-- Weaver doesn't throw as hard now as when the Angels made him their No. 1 pick in 2004, but he's acquired the wisdom that comes with five years in the league and that's made him more dangerous.

"He understands how to pitch," Reagins says. "When we took him, he threw much harder than what he throws now. But velocity is not as important as being able to throw the ball where you want to."

Weaver's fastball averaged between 93 and 95 m.p.h. a few years ago. Now, it averages somewhere between 91 and 93.

"But I like the results better," Reagins says.

Likes: Glad to see Ryan Ludwick slam the game-winning homer in the 13th inning in San Diego the other night. Not because I was rooting against Atlanta, or rooting for the Padres. It's just that Ludwick is a good man and has been buried in such a dreadful slump all season. Cover this game long enough and that's what happens: You don't root for teams. You root for people. ... Speaking of which, a pleasant memory came floating back Tuesday when a friend was trying to recall the name of the sweet old elevator operator at Tiger Stadium. Sarah, bless her soul. ... The framed Tiger Stadium print in my home office. Takes me right back to Midwestern summer nights. We're never too old to be reminded of our youth, are we? ... Here We Rest, the new CD from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. ... Blessed, the new CD from Lucinda Williams. ... Pipes Cafe, a great breakfast and lunch joint in Cardiff, Calif. Get the breakfast burrito.

Dislikes: The dead hummingbird I found on by back porch Tuesday morning, courtesy of my cat. At least, that's my current suspect, though CSI is still investigating and there is no proof. ... Never saw the J. Geils Band before they split up. That's probably the only band I never saw live that I really, really wish I would have (not counting groups that existed before I was old enough to go to concerts, like The Beatles). I would think there would be a ton of dough to be made with a J. Geils reunion tour. (I'm also not counting U2, which I've never seen, because they're currently on tour and, as such, they don't rank in the "Missed Chance" category. They're coming to a stadium near me in June and I figure I'll catch 'em.).

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You talk about the junk you do
"Like you talk about climbing trees
"You live the life of a little kid
"With bruises on your knees
"You will never cop to the damage that's been done
"But you will never stop 'cause it's too much fun
"Now you want somebody to be your buttercup
"Good luck finding your buttercup"

-- Lucinda Williams, Buttercup

Posted on: February 25, 2011 9:42 am
 

My bad

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Before we get too much deeper into spring, I need to correct something.

When I was with the Tigers in Lakeland last week writing this column on Miguel Cabrera, I joined a clubhouse interview with young catcher Alex Avila in mid-stream. Avila, who, along with Magglio Ordonez, spent much of the winter working out with Cabrera in Fort Lauderdale, was discussing those workouts with a small group of four or five reporters. But I misunderstood the context of the conversation when I first walked up and was under the impression that Avila was discussing Cabrera.

As such, I quoted Avila saying, "He's an animal. He was always a couple of minutes late [to the gym]. We were like, 'Where have you been?' And he was like, 'Oh, I've been riding my bike 15 miles.' And this was BEFORE the three of us would work out really hard."

Problem was, the quote is accurate, but the subject is not. As an alert reader pointed out when she noticed a discrepancy between my column and that of Jason Beck, the fine Tigers beat man for MLB.com, Avila at that point was discussing Ordonez, not Cabrera. I've since double-checked this, and it's true. I stand corrected.

A moment later, the interview with Avila shifted to Cabrera -- whom Avila, Ordonez and manager Jim Leyland all agreed worked out really hard this winter and is in terrific shape. It just wasn't him who already had been on a 15-mile bike ride before joining his two teammates at the gym.

I know it's a week later, but for the record, I just want to make sure I straightened that out.

Posted on: February 22, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Now at second: Nishioka's translator?

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins will take the art of importing a Japanese free agent to a unique level when infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka runs through Minnesota's first full-squad workout of the spring on Wednesday.

As Nishioka and Alexi Casilla familiarize themselves with each other this spring, manager Ron Gardenhire says he intends to have Nishioka's translator stationed in the infield during drills.

"Once the games start, it will get more entertaining," Gardenhire joked.

The purpose of keeping the translator close by, even if it means getting caked with infield dirt, is very simple.

"I want Nishi to communicate with the other players if any of them have any questions," Gardenhire said.

The general thinking is that Casilla will be the Twins' shortstop this season and that Nishioka will play second base. But the Twins say right now that no determination has been made and that that could flip. Nishioka, the Twins' first Asian-born player and the 2010 MVP of the Nippon League, was a shortstop in Japan.

Gardenhire said the early-spring plan is to work each man out at each position and go from there.

But the main thing early, he said, is to make sure Nishioka is comfortable.

"We had a little conversation today," Gardenhire said. "I want to make sure he understands we know he can play and that he doesn't have anything to prove. He's an All-Star. He's won a batting title. We know he can play."

Nishioka has been in town for several days but has been working out on the Twins' minor-league fields. He made an appearance in the big-league clubhouse early Tuesday morning but did not participate in the workouts.

"I was looking forward to participating in practice starting the 23rd with the first workout, so I wanted to be in the best shape possible," said Nishioka, who will wear No. 1. "I'm more excited than nervous."

Nishioka said he spoke with former big leaguer Kaz Matsui before joining the Twins "but it was brief, just good luck, nothing specific." He also said, when asked about adjusting to a new life in the majors, "I would like to learn English and try and adjust to that."

Meanwhile, Gardenhire is hard at work on his Japanese. At least, certain words and phrases.

He was leafing through a small pocket book called "Survival Japanese" on Tuesday morning and has already downloaded and printed a handful of pages' worth of Japenese baseball terms.

How's his Japanese coming?

"I have it in my book, not in my vocabulary," Gardenhire said, before joking, "If there's a nice-looking chick, I may ask him about her."

Seriously, Gardenhire said, "it's hard for me to put it in one word. But I want to do it in one sentence. He's going to understand me before it's all done. We're going to get it."

Sunblock Day? Lots of fog this morning. But that gave way to sun, 83 degrees and smiles. Pass the sunblock.

Likes: Always good to see former Twins manager Tom Kelly in uniform and assisting in drills here. ... Likewise, same with Hall of Famer Al Kaline at Detroit's camp in Lakeland. ... Oh my goodness, now Twins catcher Joe Mauer is a spokesman for Head & Shoulders Shampoo. Well lathered, Mauer. ... Nino's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant remains on top of its game in both the chicken parmesan and pizza departments. I can attest to both over the past few nights.

Dislikes: What they ought to do to the scumbag who poisoned the trees at Auburn is turn the environmentalists loose on him ... on Arbor Day.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I've been burning down all my yesterdays
"I can't stick around to see the smoke
"'Cause we’re on our way, and we don’t care where
"There’s no time to sit around and mope"

-- The Push Stars, Minnesota

Posted on: February 20, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Verlander wants to be Mr. April

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander is a three-time All-Star, has logged 200-plus innings for four consecutive seasons, has won 37 decisions over the past two and owns a career 3.81 ERA.

So what to work on in spring training?

April.

"I'm a little more focused on some things I need to come out of the gate strong," Verlander was saying the other day in Lakeland.

Last April, Verlander went 1-2 with a 5.53 ERA over five starts.

Put those aside, and the Pride of Old Dominion University was 17-7 with a 3.07 ERA the rest of the way beginning on May 1.

It's been a disturbing pattern: Over the past three Aprils combined, Verlander is 3-8 with a 6.28 ERA over 16 starts.

That's why Verlander this spring is keeping a list of five bullet-point items in his locker.

"Every day I'll look at that list," he says. "They're just some things I worked on in April when things weren't going right. Things that helped me get to my May and June form."

In a way, Verlander is concentrating on his own Daylight Savings Time program.

"Trying to set the clock forward a month," he says, grinning. "To May."

He was not specific in what those bullet points are.

But he is specific when he's on the field.

"I don't just work on those things when I'm throwing in the bullpen," Verlander says. "I'm working on them at other times, too. Like even when I'm playing catch every day."

As they say, spring forward ... and try to avoid falling back.

Sunblock Day? Only another suitable-for-framing 85-degree day with no humidity.

Likes: Love Josh Beckett wondering if Boston can win 100 games and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins is predicting 100 wins for the Phillies. We'll see. ... The gulf at Punta Gorda off of I-75 is a beautiful sight on a sparkling, sunny day. ... Things are going much better on the drives since I picked up an iPod plug-in for the rental car's auxiliary jack instead of relying on the cigarette lighter cable that tunes to a particular radio frequency. Crystal clear music for the drives now, instead of intermittent static.

Dislikes: So at 7 Sunday morning, I'm in Circle K getting coffee (OK, there's the first problem). I head to the men's room. It's locked. The gal behind the Circle K counter sees this and instructs me, "Use the other one." Really? The ladies' room? "Nobody's in it," the gal says. At this point, it sounds like the men's room is out of order. So still in an early-morning haze, I open the ladies' room door and take a step in. And there's a lady sitting there on the toilet, pants at her ankles, and she immediately throws up her hands and lets out a scream. Rightfully so. The Circle K woman apologizes profusely. I get my coffee, pay and get the hell out of there as quickly as I can before the lady emerges from the restroom.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"It was 1990 give or take I don't remember
"When the news of revolution hit the air
"The girls hadn't even started taking down our posters
"When the boys started cutting off they're hair
"The radio stations all decided angst was finally old enough
"It ought to have a proper home
"Dead, fat or rich, nobody’s left to bitch
"About the goings on in self destructive zones"

-- Drive-By Truckers, Self-Destructive Zones

Posted on: February 18, 2011 10:25 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 10:30 am
 

Leyland: Cabrera 'in the best shape of his life'

LAKELAND, Fla. -- As an uncertain Tigers club waited Friday morning to see what turn the Miguel Cabrera case will take next, manager Jim Leyland fiercely proclaimed that saga will have no bearing on his team and that Cabrera, "in the best shape of his life", remains primed for a great season.

"I think Miguel Cabrera is probably going to have the biggest year of his life," Leyland said Friday morning before the Tigers' pitchers and catchers worked out.

Cabrera, arrested for suspicion of drunken driving in Florida on Wednesday night, still is not in camp and it is not known when he will arrive. The Tigers do not hold their first full-squad workout until Saturday.

"It's not going to affect the team at all," Leyland said. "All of these people getting dramatic about this s---, all this negativity, it's not going to affect this team one bit. Trust me. That's all reading material. Everybody is going to get all upset, get real dramatic ... do you think Magglio Ordonez and those guys are going to go about their business any different?

"Nobody's going to do anything different. They're going to bust their ass. I know for a fact, without getting into this situation [in detail], I know for a fact that Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He's stronger than he's ever been and he's quicker than he's ever been. It has no effect.

"It might make some dramatic reading material. Everybody's projecting all this crap, it's not going to do s--- along those lines. Believe me. Nothing."

Leyland had started his morning session with reporters by saying that he would not address the Cabrera situation, that general manager Dave Dombrowski would be the club spokesman on it. But he relented some when asked specifically about how Cabrera's troubles will affect the team.

As for the rest, Leyland said, "I'm not going to talk about that. Dave will speak for that. I'm the field manager. I manage the players on the field. Our clubhouse will be great, and our team has a hell of a chance to be an outstanding team, and that's going to have no bearing on that one way or another. Trust me when I tell you that.

"He's going to be welcomed with open arms by his teammates and they're going to want to see him hit that son of a bitch over the right-center field fence. I'm just telling you. So don't get all excited about 'Aw, I wonder what it's going to do in the clubhouse, to the chemistry, and all of that bulls----.'"

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com