The Tigers opened up the spring by pounding Florida Southern College 13-1 yesterday. Today they will face their first major league opponent - the Toronto Blue Jays. Some key pitchers will be working for the Tigers today. Probable fourth starter Jeremy Bonderman will get the start. He'll be followed by two of the contestants for the fifth spot - Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga.
Spring training performance doesn't mean too much for those who are guaranteed a spot on the team. However, it does mean something for pitchers coming off injuries or bad seasons. It will be interesting to see how hard Bonderman throws. He could throw mid 90s when healthy. He was throwing 91-92 MPH last September. It is also important that he shows command of his slider as he won't be an effective pitcher without it.
As for Robertson and Galarraga, my expectations are not too high. At this point, I'm hoping they can get the ball over the plate without giving up home runs. Robertson looked somewhat promising last September but has a long way to go. If they fail to show anything this spring, then I think Phil Coke might get a chance to start, although I think Jim Leyland would rather he stay in the bullpen.