January 22nd, 2009

Winter caravan notes: Lyon, Rogers, Larish

By now, you probably already know that the Tigers are close to a deal with Brandon Lyon. I would anticipate an agreement to come out at some point on Friday. By now, I think the closer topic has been discussed pretty thoroughly, so you can discuss as you please. As for other notes from the caravan …

  • Still wondering what Kenny Rogers is going to do? So is manager Jim Leyland. He said at the media luncheon Thursday that he received a very nice voicemail from Kenny recently, thanking him and saying how much he enjoyed his time here. However, the message left no answer as to whether he plans to continue playing. “It was a great [message],” Leyland said. “I don’t know what he’s doing.”
  • If you’re wondering whether the Tigers will allow one of their relief prospects from last year’s draft to make the jump to the big leagues out of camp, the answer is yes. Leyland said he has received assurances from Dave Dombrowski that he could if he wants. “If you run into another Verlander or Zumaya, he’s on the team,” Leyland said.
  • I mentioned this is one of the stories tonight about Leyland not wanting to tinker, but Leyland said that Jeff Larish will be battling for the last spot on the roster. That would seemingly suggest that the Tigers will decide whether to keep a corner infielder/left-handed bat or a fifth outfielder.
  • For someone who barely spends any time in the winter weather, Carlos Guillen keeps a very stylish, very expensive winter coat.

Good news on Hollimon

hollimon.jpgForgot to mention this last night, but talking with Michael Hollimon at the caravan stop in Toledo, there’s good reason to think that he should be ready for the start of the season. He estimates his left shoulder is at 90-95 strength following surgery to repair a labrum tear last September, and he’s doing all baseball activities in his workouts in Dallas. He’s planning on reporting to Lakeland a couple weeks early and picking up his program under the watch of the Tigers athletic training staff.

There was an initial fear after the surgery that Hollimon could miss half of the 2009 season.

Between Hollimon’s progress and the Tigers’ optimism that Clete Thomas could be back sooner than expected, those are two big pieces of depth at Triple-A Toledo should Detroit face any early-season injuries in the lineup. It also translates into a full season of development for Hollimon, which can only help him and the Tigers depending on how the middle infield pictures looks at season’s end.