The doldrums of early Spring Training are starting to set in. A few days after pitchers and catchers started working out, you were looking forward to having the full squad in camp. Now that full-squad workouts are in full swing, Leyland is letting pitchers take batting practice to break up the pattern of bullpen sessions and fielding drills. The next step is to have hitters face pitchers, which will be coming up and give a better reading on how pitchers look. Then everyone will look forward to games next week. A few weeks after that (sooner for others), fans and players start looking forward to opening day.
It’s a progression in stages, and it’s starting. But whenever the doldrums start to set in, you also remind yourself that it’s much more boring with nothing going on in early January.
As far as news and not-news on Friday:
- Again, it’s just batting practice, but Brandon Inge and others were putting on shows on the practice fields. Jim Leyland spent a good amount of time again watching Cameron Maybin at the plate. He’s definitely impressed, though he still has no chance of making the jump to Detroit when this team breaks camp.
- Leyland continues to caution not to expect great things out of Marcus Thames at first base. If he had that much potential there, as Leyland said, he would’ve done it before. Still, he’s comfortable enough that he doesn’t expect to use Ivan Rodriguez or Carlos Guillen at first. Thames continues to work out with the outfielders and first basemen, and Leon Durham joined in on giving him tips at first base. Durham is the hitting coach at Triple-A Toledo and a favorite hitting instructor for many who have come up through the Tigers system, but he also made the jump from the outfield to first base with the 1984 Cubs.
- A month after Leyland’s comments on Neifi Perez, Leyland said Friday he thinks Perez struggled a bit from a loss of playing time. Perez, for his part, agreed with Leyland’s assessment that he didn’t get the job done last year. Perez obviously thinks he can play a lot better, and if he does, he’ll probably get the second utility job. Leyland called him a player he has to "get ready," as in get ready for the season.
- Yes, as the photos suggest, Ramon Santiago is looking stronger. He said he did some extra training work this offseason and he tried to put on a little weight to prepare for how much he lost over the course of last season.