Postscript on World Baseball Classic
Now that it’s official that Justin Verlander won’t be on Team USA, that clears the Tigers to put him on a pretty regular schedule of pitching once every five days. Project that out, and he should be on track to pitch Opening Day, though manager Jim Leyland hasn’t announced anything on that front quite yet.
Rodney’s a more interesting case. He said again this morning that he ready to pitch for the club again, as he did in 2006, but he wasn’t sure what happened. So it doesn’t appear that he pulled out. It looks like the Domincan team opted for some younger relievers, including Jose Arredondo and Rafael Perez. However, Arredondo looks like the only reliever resembling a closer on that squad.
As for Rodney, look for him to get at least one outing where the Tigers stretch him for 40-45 pitches, like pitching coach Rick Knapp plans to do with Brandon Lyon. For one thing, it gets his arm stretched out. For another thing, it gives him a chance to mix in his slider.
Also had a chance to check with Carlos Guillen, who suggested there’s a chance he could end up at DH in some opening round games. It would free up a corner outfield spot for Bobby Abreu, and it would ease some wear and tear on his knees playing on the artificial surface in Toronto.