Nervous day for Kibler

Jon Kibler normally has a good amount of jitters before a game, he said, but he usually gets past them pretty quickly after a game. Saturday’s jitters stayed with him throughout his outing, setting the tone for what could’ve been a pretty long day at the park had he not made the pitches he needed to get out of it.

In Kibler’s defense, though, he did make some quality pitches, including some with two strikes. The good news for him is that he’ll get another start Wednesday against Panama. When I asked Leyland in the wake of the Bonderman news if he had any plans to shuffle the pitching order around to have some other guys fill innings on the days Bonderman would’ve pitched, Leyland said he did not.

Other notes …

  • I’m sure this will get a mixed reaction from readers, but Brandon Inge’s home run today was very much a product of his adjustment to raise his hands at the plate. It was an offspeed pitch inside, and Inge was able to keep it fair with enough loft to get it down the line and out. If his hands were lower like before, Inge said, he would’ve either pulled that ball foul or plain missed it.
  • Very good read from Curtis Granderson on a low line drive from former Tiger Ramon Martinez, just left of straightaway center field. Granderson had to come in and make a diving catch. Granderson said afterwards that he’s working on reading balls like that better so that he can prepare himself for trying to do the same at Comerica Park, where low line drives can be tougher to read against the backdrop of fans sitting far back from the field of play. Look for more about that on the site tonight.
  • Leyland said he talked to his hitters today about not giving away at-bats this spring. His point was that they can’t afford to come out of the gate struggling at the plate like last year.

What to look for Sunday against the Pirates at historic McKechnie Field:

  • Ryan Perry is scheduled to make his first game appearance. Other pitchers include the starter, Justin Verlander, plus Zach Miner, Clay Rapada, Macay McBride, Casey Fien, Zach Simons, Alfredo Figaro
  • Regulars: Curtis Granderson (last game before World Baseball Classic), Gary Sheffield, Adam Everett, Brandon Inge, Placido Polanco, plus Marcus Thames. Matt Treanor will start again at catcher.
  • The weather is supposed to be crummy for Florida — mid-60s for a high with scattered storms and gusty winds all day.
  • When the Tigers went to Bradenton last year, Dick Vitale was in the crowd and paid a visit with Leyland. This year, with the game on a Sunday in the middle of college basketball’s stretch drive, I imagine he’s out somewhere on assignment. Villanova is at Notre Dame for the early game on Big Monday coming up.


I see Gary Sheffield is on the travel roster for tomorrow against Pittsburgh. They must be letting him DH right? Or is he going to play the outfield? How does that get decided? Does Jim Leyland call the Pirates to ask if they can use the DH? Are there particular teams that usually allow this and other teams that don’t? Or is it just a random decision?

Sheffield is on the travel roster today and is the DH. At NL parks in Spring Training, the Tigers will call ahead to see if the other team will agree to use the DH. Most of the time, they will, though not always. This early in camp, it usually isn’t a problem, because it allows the NL team to get some at-bats for another position player or two.

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