Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tiger Notes

I've been talking a lot lately about position battles and how some role players might fit into the line-up. Over at Tiger Blog, Jeff K has an article on Tiger lefty/righty splits over the past three years and suggests what the best possible platoons might be based on those splits. In particular he mentions how Young's potential role as a multi-position player might influence Leyland's thinking.

Tom Gage of The Detroit News had an interesting interview with Joel Zumaya and Justin Verlander this morning. The most revealing news coming from the interview is that Zumaya said he wants to be a closer:

"I see myself in the future being a later reliever, a closer, more than a starter. I just feel we have a different mentality on the mound. I'd love to come out there when the game is on the line. I'm a big adrenaline guy.

"He's more of a relaxed guy out there -- real energetic, but relaxed on the mound. He takes no crap from anybody, either, but when I'm out there, it's a whole different attitude. I'm so intense. Mellow off the mound, but intense on it.

"I have lots of life to live. I'm young, I can go to Triple A, but I'd love to eventually close Verlander's games. It would be awesome. You'd have two bulldogs out there -- one guy starting and throwing the way he throws, a relief guy in between throwing maybe a little slower than we do, then bam, ninth inning, here I come."

In the past, he has said that he wants to start so he may now be saying he wants to close just because he thinks it will get him to the majors quicker. Either that or the Tigers have convinced him that he'd be better off as a closer. Some scouts have mentioned in the past that his delivery and make-up might be more suitable to relieving than starting. Still, the Tigers have always used him as a starter and have made no definitive statements about his ultimate role so I think we need to stay tuned on this one. Personally, I hope they use him as a starter because I think starters with his kind of potential are harder to find than closers.

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