A behind-the-scenes glimpse of the first week of spring training
A behind-the-scenes look at the first week of spring training:
Joel Zumaya has been one of the first Tigers to arrive at Marchant Stadium each morning. But when the rest of the players finish their 30 minutes of stretching exercises and adjourn to the adjacent diamonds, Zumaya heads back to the clubhouse. He is still not allowed to throw or participate in the pitching drills.
I feel bad for him, Jim Leyland admits.
Vance Wilson, who hopes to resume catching by March 20 and be ready to play on Opening Day, isnt even allowed to throw the ball back to the pitchers in the bullpen.
They dont want to put any unnecessary strain on my elbow, he explains. (Bullpen catcher Scott) Pickens is my thrower-backer.
More good news on Gary Shefield: Leyland says hitting coach Lloyd McClendon reports that the Tigers designated hitter is swinging the bat unbelievable.
Rookie pitcher Rick Porcello is 19. Leylands son, Patrick, is 16. The gap is narrowing.
Thats when you know youre getting old, Leyland says.
A few eyebrows were raised when Curtis Granderson walked into the Marchant stadium clubhouse the other day with a Burger King bag in hand, rather than his customary McDonalds.
I mix and match, explained the Tigers budget-minded 20-20-20-20 centerfielder, who recently signed a new $30 million contract.
To which Leyland quipped: If Curtis Granderson is going to McDonalds hes probably talking to the guy about buying a McDonalds.
How starved are Tiger fans for baseball?
I spied one fellow snapping photos of the sign that marks Tigers owner Mike Ilitchs empty parking space, and a elderly woman leaning halfway out of the window of her husbands moving pick-up truck to take a picture of Hall of Famer Al Kaline _ who was driving away in his own car at the time.