Tigers manager Jim Leyland made his "likely" decision official Wednesday: Rogers will start the Tigers' season opener April 3 at Kansas City. Jeremy Bonderman will start the second game April 5 and then the Tiger's home opener April 10 against the White Sox.I like the idea that Leyland is announcing his decision now rather than waiting until spring training is over. Rogers has the best track record of any Tiger starter and spring training will not change that.
MLB.COM also reports that the starting center fielder will probably bat leadoff ahead of Placido Polanco. He won't say whether it will be Curtis Granderson or Nook Logan but he said he'd prefer it be one of them rather than a platoon:
The switch-hitting Logan is a lifetime .318 hitter against left-handed pitching, but former manager Alan Trammell repeatedly pointed out Logan's need for improvement against righties and to hone his bunting. Granderson, a pure left-handed hitter, actually hit better against lefties at both Toledo and Detroit, but his on-base percentage was stronger against righties.
The two seem to complement each other well, but Leyland has said twice already that he'd like to see the contest won outright, if anything for stability up the middle.
"I'd love to have a center fielder, period," Leyland said. "Now whether that's going to work on this team, I don't know, but I'd preferably like to have a catcher, shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. I like to have them etched in stone, but I'm going to have to tinker with that for a while."
If he really wants one guy to win the job, then I think it would have to be Granderson. I wouldn't want to see a platoon but I could imagine it happening at least at the beginning of the season. It's really hard to see Logan winning the job outright with his inability to hit right-handers.