February 23rd, 2009

Another good day for Porcello, Zumaya

Usually the second time around on live BP sessions, hitters start to catch up, making more contact and putting more pitches in play. That was not the case with Rick Porcello on Monday. Instead, it was more hitters watching pitches go by. Matt Treanor caught him and said it was nasty stuff.

For anyone wondering, Porcello is scheduled to pitch an inning Thursday against the Nationals at Viera, then throw a side session back in Lakeland over the weekend, then in next Monday’s exhibition game against Florida Southern.

Zumaya was one of the final pitchers to throw Monday and kind of cranked it up in his second time out. He wasn’t particularly happy with his split changeup, muttering something after letting go of one of them, but his curveball was breaking well, fooling right-handed hitters who would back away from the plate before the ball turned over. Inge was one of those, and he was crowing afterwards that he simply put a ball in play. Zumaya’s fastball was cranking up but in and out locationwise, because he was admittedly overthrowing.

Nate Robertson also threw Monday and turned up another good session for his slider. He said he’s having an easier time getting around on the pitch now compared to last year, and it’s putting some bite back into the ball. We’ll get a better idea how far he has progressed when he pitches Thursday and mixes in his other stuff to set up Nationals hitters, but it appears he has the slider back.

That was about it from camp today. Players were getting out in a hurry because they had a charity golf outing this afternoon. And as third base coach Gene Lamont said, guys are getting anxious to start playing some Spring Training games.

Cabrera held out of workout

Word from the Tigers is that Cabrera was excused from Monday’s workout for a previously scheduled appointment, not related to any ailment. In other words, no reason for concern. He was back on the field taking batting practice near the end of the Tigers workout.

Spring rotation set

We now have the schedule for the starting candidates (well, most of them) for the first few games:

  • Justin Verlander and Zach Miner will pitch Wednesday against the Braves at Joker Marchant Stadium
  • Edwin Jackson and Nate Robertson will pitch Thursday against the Nationals in Viera
  • Armando Galarraga and Dontrelle Willis will pitch Friday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin
  • Jeremy Bonderman will pitch Saturday against the Mets in Lakeland

All of them are expected to pitch two innings apiece.

If you’re trying to project the regular season rotation from there, don’t bother. The pairings are based off of their throwing groups from live BP sessions over the last 4-5 days.