Good session for Dontrelle

Say what you want about pitchers being ahead of hitters at this point in camp, but the fact that Dontrelle Willis was pounding the strike zone means something. After his turn in live batting practice this morning, both Jim Leyland and Brandon Inge (who batted against him) said it’s the best they’ve seen from him since he joined the Tigers.

Willis’ delivery looked very controlled, more subdued, and his overall results were pretty consistent.

“What I wanted to do was throw everything in the zone and make them hit the ball,” Willis said.

For the most part, they didn’t hit it, which is expected at this point. But he didn’t have to do anything special to get it there.

“I’m sure Dontrelle walked off there today feeling pretty good about himself,” manager Jim Leyland said. “And he should.”

Ryan Perry also threw on Saturday. Not surprisingly, his velocity his impressive, while he seemed to be trying to get a firm grip on his command.

Willis and Perry were part of the third and final group of pitchers to throw their sessions. Every pitcher will get one more round of live BP, starting with Justin Verlander, Brandon Lyon, Zach Miner and others on Sunday. The difference Sunday is that Leyland will hold out most of his regulars, who will instead hit regular BP in the stadium. Leyland said he wants to do that to give them a day away from having to stand in against those guys.

In case you’re wondering about the rotation once games start, Sunday’s group of pitchers will be up to pitch in Wednesday’s Spring Training opener against the Braves. That will presumably include Verlander and Lyon.


I’ll believe it when I see it for myself. I’ve never witnessed a more nervous pitching staff in my life, led by the ‘bullet-sweating’ trio of Willis, Zumaya and Rodney! Most hitters could simply wait these guys out and get a free pass on base. How pleasantly surprising it would be to see those three actually get ahead in the count, which is what good pitching is all about. Maybe Rick Knapp will be able to help that cause instead of, doing nothing and getting paid for it, like Chucky-Cheeze Hernandez!

Okay- not that pitching against Leyland and Inge is saying TONS….but it’s very encouraging to hear so many good things about so many Tigers pitchers this spring.

Of course the Lions were 4-0 in the preseason, and being a Detriot fan, I am cautious…..but being a Detroit fan- I’m also hopelessly optimistic. Go Tigers!

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