Technically, spring is nearly three weeks away. For baseball fans, spring starts today as most of the teams, including the Tigers, begin their respective spring seasons. At 1 pm, the Tigers will square off against the Reds. I signed up for MLB.com’s Gameday Audio but unfortunately, they don’t let us listen or watch streaming audio/video so I’ll be shutout from listening the game (assuming it’s even on, AM1270 isn’t carrying it). Nate Robertson is expected to start and he’ll most likely throw three innings. Roman Colon, Jason Grilli, Chad Durbin, Fernando Rodney and Chris Spurling are all expected to get some time out on the mound.
Of course nothing matters less (to a team) then early spring training games. If the Tigers lose their first seven spring games, it’ll get some press, but it won’t mean too much. Same goes with if they win their first seven. Teams rarely play their starters the entire game and pitchers usually throw no more then three innings. So if Robertson gets shelled, I wouldn’t look too much into just as much as you shouldn’t look too much into the fact that some career minor leaguer goes yard twice.
With that though, spring is important for rounding out a teams roster and then there’s always the hope you find that one gem. Position battles will be decided over the next month as well. The Tigers need to decide on a fifth starter and they also have to decide what they’ll do in centerfield (although to me, Curtis Granderson is a no brainer). Most other spots are set, but Jim Leyland needs (or wants) to find a spot for Dmitri Young so we’ll probably see him at third base and in the outfield just to see what he can do. The rumor is, he came into camp in better shape, which is definitely a good thing.
The first game that will be on local radio will be this Saturday.
Korea and Chinese Taipei kick off the World Baseball Classic tonight. Set your VCRs (I know, I’m behind the time and haven’t gotten Tivo yet) because the game’s going to be shown at 1:30 am on ESPN2. The first live game is Friday morning at 4:30 am between Japan and China.