Happy reporting day, whatever that's worth
Reporting day has come and gone with very little fanfare. Guys who have been here for days come in to work out. A couple guys walk in to drop off their stuff. Jim Leyland and the coaches report in for afternoon meetings. Other than that, the big day is largely symbolic. The quote of the day on that one came from Jordan Tata:
"They’re not all pulling up in a big bus," Tata said.
Leyland did, however, talk for a few minutes after he came in. Among the topics:
- He hasn’t thought about the Opening Day starter, but his initial guess would be that Justin Verlander would be the guy. No surprise there.
- Whatever the rotation order, he expects to slot Kenny Rogers in between Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman with the other two left-handers (Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson) working back-to-back.
- Other than deciding whether Gary Sheffield or Miguel Cabrera hit third or fifth, the lineup is pretty simple.
- Brandon Inge will probably work at every position in camp except first base (and pitcher). However, they’re still working on trading him, and Leyland called that a "strong possibility."
- Expect a lot of talk in the coming days about Leyland wanting his players to beware of expectations. He wants to set the tone that they’re here to work, that there are no shortcuts, and that they can’t spend spring training thinking about what a great team they have.
The only other news of note came from Gary Sheffield, who is swinging the bat now and has "no doubt" he’ll be ready for opening day, and most likely the start of spring training games in less than two weeks. (Games are that close? Wow.) The only constriction for him right now is throwing, and that’s by design. He wants to ease his way in as far as throwing, and though he thinks he could make a throw from the outfield if he had to, he’s only throwing from about 60 feet for now.