Pitchers v. hitters

It’s going to be a rainy afternoon here in Lakeland (not that I’m complaining), but it should hold off long enough this morning for the Tigers to get in their first round of live batting practice between pitchers and hitters. Again, it’s hard to get a good read from these things, because pitchers are almost always ahead of hitters, but it’s a better read than the bullpen sessions we’ve been watching.

In news this morning, manager Jim Leyland said that if everyone’s healthy, he probably has four bullpen slots set for Opening Day. Lyon, Rodney and Zumaya are among them. Leyland didn’t name anyone else, but my read is that Bobby Seay is another. That leaves three, Leyland has already indicated that Zach Miner will almost certainly be in the bullpen if he doesn’t get the starting job. That essentially leaves two open spots, but with the closer and setup jobs stable (unlike last year), the Tigers have a lot of flexibility with those two openings.

“If healthy, I think we have a chance to have a lot of depth in our bullpen,” Leyland said.

Also, Juan Rincon said this morning that he will not play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He wants to stay in camp and try to win a job. It brings up one of the recurring issues that seems to be going on this year — in this market, and with so much competition in some of these camps, players seem reluctant to go away for a couple weeks and try to pick up where they left off with just a couple weeks left in camp. Even a week, Rincon said, would be too long to be away.

If you were worried about Zach Miner, fear not. He missed yesterday’s workout with a nasty stomach virus, but he’s back today and holding down solid food.

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