More from Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones

Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones was generous enough with his limited time to sit down for a lengthy interview a few days ago for the feature currently on the site as he approaches his first spring training in charge of the pitching staff. He had a lot of good answers to a lot of questions, not all of which made it into the story. Here’s a sampling of some other answers:

  • On how different of a task his current job is in spring compared to bullpen coach: “Especially during spring training when you have so many guys in camp, I knew it was going to be totally different. But there’s a lot of planning, a lot of sitting down, making notes, going over schedules and redoing schedules, that kind of stuff. You don’t want to get anybody hurt in Spring Training if you can help it. Hopefully everybody has thrown plenty before they get here, because it becomes a daily grind once you get to Spring Training. You’re going to play catch every day, you’re going to throw every day, and some of the guys aren’t used to doing that. As far as organizing the schedules and everything, Gene Lamont is just fabulous. He’s the best I’ve ever seen at having guys in the right place at the right time. Gene is going to be a huge help, and Jim will be a huge help.”
  • On Leyland’s view that fifth starter candidates shouldn’t view this as a competition: “I agree with him totally. He doesn’t want it to be like a competition as much as we want the guys to get ready for the season. Even though the guys that we have that will be fighting for that spot, I’m sure it’s going to be in the back of their mind: I’ve got a chance to be that guy. But we want them to just concentrate on the things they need to do to get ready for the season, regardless of where they pitch, whether it’s here or it’s in Toledo or Erie or wherever.”
  • On evaluation versus competition: “It’s all going to be evaluated, but we don’t want them to put any extra pressure on themselves. We want to see them at their best. I think if they put extra pressure on themselves, they might not be at their best. And I don’t want them to feel that if they have a bad outing, now I’m out of the running, or I have to go out there next time and do twice as good. That’s not the case, because everybody has bad outings.”
  • Does he leave Verlander alone or does he just afford tips now and then: “I think it’s a little bit of everything. Ver is extremely driven. You notice that, not in the season that he had last year, but in his preparation during Spring Training. Because the previous couple years he got off to a slow start, so he changed some of the things — not so much mechanically, but he changed some of the mindset during Spring Training in order to get off to a better start last year, which he did. He’s accountable for everything he does. He’s driven. He wants to be the best. I think his attitude is just tremendous, because he wants it really bad. And it seems to me, just being around him a couple times this spring so far, that he wants it as bad or worse this year than he did last year. And there’s something to be said for that, after the year he had.”
  • More on Verlander’s approach: “He’s different than what I remember three or four years ago during Spring Training. Last year, his focus was tremendous, and I see the same thing already this year. Because guys in this game, they want to be the best. And Ver wants to be the best. There’s no question in his mind. And in order to be the best, you have to be focused all the time. You can’t really take any days off. I see the same attitude from him this year as I saw last year.”
  • On whether Verlander has something still to prove: “I’m not sure he looks at it that way as much as he just wants to go out, give us a chance to win like he always does. I don’t think in his mind he’s sitting there thinking, ‘Ok, I won 24 games last year. I’m going to win 27 this year.’ Those are things that are out of his control. We have to score runs on those days and whatever. But it’s just like his mindset, his focus, is just unbelievable in Spring Training. It’s the same way during the season. He’s a special individual.”
  • Is workload from postseason run a concern with anybody: “It’s always a concern, I think. But normally, you make adjustments as far as how much you throw coming into Spring Training. I think it’s more of a situation when you first get to the big leagues and those innings jump, maybe from 150 to 200, and then you see how you feel that offseason. I think once you’re established and you pitch in the big leagues for a while and you’re used to throwing that many innings …
    If Ver had gone from 150 to 250, I’d be really concerned. You’re always a little bit concerned. It’s always in the back of your mind. But I’m not really overly concerned about it, unless he comes to me and says, ‘My arm’s tired.’ Then obviously you worry.”
  • On Porcello throwing earlier this winter: “It’s a fine line, there’s no question. I spoke to Rick and he had told me he wanted to start throwing his bullpens a little earlier this year, and I said absolutely. He didn’t have a great spring last year, and he wants to do the things, I think, that he did at the end of the season, earlier this year. He wanted to just change his routine a little bit, which I don’t blame him. He wanted to throw more this offseason. He did. I think he’s comfortable where he’s at right now. I don’t blame him for wanting to throw more.”

7 Comments

Anybody else here think they will consider Castellanos as a shortstop of left fielder conversion candidate?

By the time he is will be ready for MLB , Cabrera will be back at first and Fielder will be the DH.
Cabrera is better at 1b than PF, and will be usefull there more years than PF. So soon or later , Prince must be the DH.
Cabrera will do better than the incumbent committe and for a couple of year it will work.And that is all they need to keep Victor and have a better chance of win a WS ring
But Cabrera could be out of the team after 2015.We are talking about more or less 40 millions a year ( in 2015 $). A 32 yo player in way to the HoF. And the pockets wil be empty by then after extending JV one year before.So then will be him or PF.

Of course, with a WS ring.Or two.The choice will be les painful
Until then Castellanos must wait . He will have his chance in a couple of years at most.If he has to be converted, 2B looks like a easier and useful destination

Interesting. Castellanos has played short and LF in his prep though. If he is sure handed enough he could transition to short. i would expect he has a quality arm and better used there than at 2nd though we certainly have a need there TOO. Jhonny is not going to be able to carry the torch at short for too long.

You don’t need me to say this, but I will anyway: A lot of guys who get drafted played shortstop in high school.

Played SS: Miguel Cabrera. Brandon Inge. Don Kelly.Plus the current SS: Peralta,Santiago, Worth. 6 in the roster. They can put 3 SS in the infield

The current makeup of the roster gives the Tigers the luxury of waiting for Castellanos. They can delay starting his big league clock, which will be important if he is indeed worthy of his prospect status. Granted, I’m one of those who is okay with a Raburn/Santiago platoon at secondbase. They did address the other infield platoon by moving Cabrera to third.
I’ll have a better idea after going to Lakeland, but I suspect a lot of people will be surprised to see Clete Thomas go north with the big club. He’s flying under the radar right now, and he’s out of options. JL likes him, too.
May as well make another prediction out of the blue. All else being equal (that’s the key), I think Below will be the first guy to pitch in the 5th slot.

True Jason. HS shortstops are often the most athletic guy or best player on the team and get the toughest position (not looking out to CF).
I’m only saying it would be an easier adjustment for him to play short than 2nd.
The predictions of him taking over 3rd will depend on what happens with Miggy.

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