Leyland discusses three roster decisions looming
Jim Leyland was asked before Friday’s game if all of his roster questions could come down to the same day near the end of spring training, or if they could stagger them.
“I think they possibly could all funnel down to one day,” Leyland said, “but I think you could possibly make one of those decisions sooner than the other two. You could get your position players [set], but the bullpen spot and the fifth starter spot are going to go real late, because we don’t know. We have no idea.”
Leyland has talked about the outfield decision they have to make, and he has played Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas accordingly in an effort to get them both ample at-bats.
“I think Dirks and Thomas are real close,” Leyland said earlier in the week. “I’m happy with it.”
Of course, Leyland also has played Ryan Raburn and Brandon Inge quite a bit at second base, and now Inge at third while Miguel Cabrera is out in an effort to get Inge as many at-bats as possible. He also has talked about second base as a mix.
“Second base is not a problem,” Leyland said March 12. “It might be a problem figuring out who’s going to play there, but it’s not a problem, because I’m covered three ways for sure.”
The positional issues — or issue — could get a little bit of clarity coming up next week. Leyland also said Friday that he hopes to use a day next week against a left-handed starting pitcher to test out his Opening Day lineup, including the batting order he’ll likely use April 5 against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester. Third base could be tricky that day, assuming Cabrera isn’t yet back to game action by then, but the DH slot for that day could be telling, whether it’s Ryan Raburn or Delmon Young or somebody else.