March 31st, 2008

Todd Jones on bullpen scrutiny

“The storyline’s been set by everybody. Everybody wants to take their shots at the bullpen and make fun of them and stuff like that. It hurts, because these guys down there, we’re trying to do the best we can. Everybody wants to make a knock-knock joke out of our bullpen, and I think it [ticks] me off. You can look at it any way you want to, but we just have to try to go out there, make pitches and try to get guys out.”

“Once Joel last year got hurt, everybody wanted to kind of point at the bullpen as being a weakness. With Fernando going down this year, guys out there trying to make pitches and not doing, it’s just going to be a self-fulfilled prophecy. You guys are going to write about it, and everybody’s going to just wait until late in the game and a lead gets away and they’ll say, ‘We told you.’ But the truth of the matter is, all of these guys on this staff can get guys out, or they wouldn’t be here. These are the guys that we’ve got. We’re going to go with them, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We need to embrace some of these guys instead of kick them.

Cabrera's homer

He’s the first player to homer on opening day in his first game as a Tiger since Ivan Rodriguez and Rondell White did so at Toronto to open the 2004 season. That was the day Detroit jumped on Roy Halladay for three homers and went on to a 7-0 win over the Jays.

In case you were wondering

Renteria batted .290 with runners in scoring position and two outs last season. In 2006, he batted .308. Even in that bad 2005 season in Boston, he batted .298 with RISP, though that dropped to .247 with two outs. That’s why he’s more of an extra RBI guy than a leadoff man.

On a side note, David DeJesus left the game with an aggravation of his sprained right ankle. He injured it a week ago and missed four games before returning to the lineup Saturday against the Brewers.

Happy Opening Day

As you can probably tell by now watching on TV or looking outside, they’re going to be able to get this in. It’s not really that warm, more like around 50, but the only big weather factor when the starts is probably going to be the wind, which appears to be going in from right field.

Not a whole lot of news today, other than minor items. Dontrelle Willis’ minor-league start on Sunday was a mixed bag, according to Leyland. He still had good velocity, but his command was in and out. The velocity is still a point of encouragement for them, but he has to be able to command without falling into the trap of trying to aim the ball.

Clay Rapada, meanwhile, will be ready to begin the season in the Triple-A Toledo bullpen, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. He pitched in a minor-league game on Sunday.

I’d give lineups, but you probably know those by now. Enjoy the day.