We did not have anybody that we thought was really ready to close coming out of Spring Training. We tried Rondon, but we did not feel that he was ready to be able to close games at the major league level, which put us in a little bit of a quandary. So with that being said, we tinkered around the first part of the season and ended up signing Jose Valverde who was throwing the ball good, and is throwing the ball good. He became more of an option for us because he’d done it before and he wasn’t afraid. Since making him the closer, he’s been successful most of the time and has blown three saves. It doesn’t appear that he’s quite the same as he was a year or two years ago, but he’s certainly not bad. Where we stand right now is I think there will be some situations where he will be the closer, but as you saw (Sunday) if the lineup is set up for someone who has a different repertoire of pitches, I might go that way. [Valverde] is gonna close some games.
@Hammonds253 #askleyland. How valuable is a player like Matt Tuiasosopo to your club in his limited starts and pinch hitting?
He’s been terrific. I’ve got a soft spot for him because he really won the job out of Spring Training and he’s proven that we made a very good decision. He’s done a very good job for us wherever we put him.
He looks pretty good. I think he was a little stale the first couple of days in Toledo but it looks like he’s picked up and gotten back into the swing of things a little bit. I’m still holding my breath a bit because sometimes when guys are out for so long when they come back they get a few hits but they’re still not really in sync and it takes them a while to get in a good groove and get going, but if yesterday is any indication, he’s well on his way.
@MattWilhelm9 @tigers #AskLeyland Don Kelly has been on fire. Have you thought about starting him more often?
I’ll answer that question this way, Don Kelly is a valuable player for us when used in the right spots and when used sparingly either to rest somebody, play on a Sunday or against a tough sinkerballer or righthander and that’s probably what we’ll continue to do with him.
That’s where you’re torn between a rock and a hard pile. I would not have bunted Torii Hunter if they had a left-handed pitcher warming up in the bullpen. But if [fans] watch the game, they did not have a lefthander warming up in the bullpen, so that meant that Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez were gonna get a chance to drive in a run. Prince Fielder is a 100+ RBI guy. He’s very capable of knocking that run in, which he did I believe. You don’t ever want to take the bat out of Miguel Cabrera’s hands but I will also say this, when you’re in the ninth inning of the game, a tie game, particularly at home and the first guy gets on and you don’t bunt, and Torii Hunter who can hit into double plays, hits into a double play it takes the starch right out of your team. So that means Cabrera is hitting with nobody on base. So now you’re saying that to win the game, Cabrera has to hit a home run. That’s pretty hard to do. So this is one that I’ve tossed around with a lot of other managers, had they [Twins] had a left-handed pitcher warming up in the bullpen that, a tough lefthander that I knew Prince was gonna have to face, I wouldn’t have bunted him, but because they didn’t have a lefty and I knew Prince and Victor would get to hit off a right handed pitcher- I mean Victor knocked in one hundred something runs for us and Prince is a perennial 100+ RBI guy. The fourth and fifth guys are supposed to be able to knock in some runs for us, and in this case they did and we won the game.
Here’s everything you need to know when the Tigers take on the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park this week.
Monday, June 17 – Baltimore Orioles (Probables: Scherzer vs. Hammel) @ 7:08 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.)
- Mario Impemba’s Military Veteran Program (MVP): Beyond “Operation Opening Day”, Fox Sports Detroit broadcaster Mario Impemba continues to thank the men and women of the United States Armed Force with the launch of a new program, MVP (Military Veterans Program) — Mario Impemba’s salute to those who served. Through the program, Mario hosts Veterans who fought in earlier conflicts (World War II – Persian Gulf) to attend Monday home games at Comerica Park. The group of 20 Veterans and guests receive a lower-bowl ticket to the Tigers game, a “MVP” t-shirt, a voucher for ballpark dinner (hot dog, chips and soda) and an autographed photo of Tigers broadcaster Mario Impemba. The Veterans and guests arrive to the ballpark in style by way of the Fox Sports Detroit Fan Express.
- Prostate Cancer Awareness Game: Major League Baseball and the Detroit Tigers partner with the Prostate Cancer Foundation for the 2013 Home Run Challenge. The goal is to raise awareness and funds to aid in research to fight against prostate cancer. The partnership is celebrated league-wide on Father’s Day, June 16 with MLB players and umpires wearing light blue wristbands and blue ribbon decals during the game to raise awareness of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. On Monday, June 17, The Tigers host a special group of guests during a pregame ceremony on the field at Comerica Park to raise awareness for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Special guests include Dr. Evan Keller, Dr. Ajjai Alva, Dr. Todd Morgan, Dr. Felix Feng, Dr. John Jiang, Dr. Jinlu Dai, Dr. Joe Sottnik, Dr. Mary Osisami and Dr. Ram Mani. All are physicians from the University of Michigan and are grant recipients of the Prostate Cancer Foundation conducting research at the University of Michigan to find a cure for prostate cancer. As part of this recognition, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Prostate Cancer Foundation blue ribbon temporary tattoo, upon entry of the ballpark.
- Game Ball Delivery: Senior Airman Erica Kohout of the United States Air Force from Traverse City will deliver the game ball. Senior Airman Kohout recently returned from her first tour of duty in Afghanistan where she served as a surgical technician. She has earned an Afghanistan Campaign medal and a NATO medal. Senior Airman Kohout has proudly served her country for three years.
- Summer Fan Pack: Take advantage of the Detroit Tigers Summer Fun Pack! This package is available exclusively on tigers.com for only $35 per person! Each $35 package includes: an Upper Box Infield ticket, Adult Value Meal (Hot Dog, Pepsi and Lay’s potato chips), Detroit Tigers Olde English D t-shirt , coupon valid for a complimentary ride on the Comerica Carousel or Fly Ball Ferris Wheel. Available for June 17th and 18th games.
Tuesday, June 18 – Baltimore Orioles @ 7:08 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.)
- Head coach of the University of Michigan men’s basketball team, John Beilein, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
- Scherzer’s Superstars: Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer invites 16 fans to Comerica Park for each remaining Tuesday home game. As guests of Scherzer, the group watches batting practice on the field, receives complimentary Scherzer’s Superstars t-shirts and has the opportunity to meet Scherzer. The participants in the program are matches from Big Brothers Big Sisters Metro Detroit.
- The first 10,000 fans to enter Comerica Park will receive a MLB Network / Detroit Tigers drawstring backpack, courtesy of MLB Network.
- Game Ball Delivery: Sergeant Michael Moore of the United States Army, from Detroit, will deliver the game ball. Sergeant Moore recently returned from Afghanistan after his second deployment to the Middle East. He has earned numerous medals including two Army Commendation medals, two Army Achievement medals and the IN-4 award recognizing the Best Soldier in Basic Training. Sergeant Moore has proudly served his country for seven years.
Wednesday, June 19 – Baltimore Orioles @ 1:08 p.m. (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.)
- Cabrera’s Chamitos: Tigers All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera invites 20 fans to Comerica Park for each remaining Wednesday home game as part of his Cabrera’s Chamitos program. The group will watch batting practice from the field, receive complimentary Cabrera’s Chamitos t-shirts and will have the opportunity to meet Cabrera. The group is also treated to complimentary transportation to Comerica Park by the FOX Sports Detroit Fan Express. The program participants are from deserving charitable groups in the greater Detroit area. On June 19, children from SER Metro Detroit’s Youth Program Mission will participate in the program. SER Metro Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. is a multi-service, Michigan corporation committed to the development and utilization of the nation’s workforce. SER promotes upward mobility and economic self-sufficiency for Metropolitan Detroit residents through a comprehensive service delivery system in the areas of literacy, education, employment, community development and economic opportunity. The Youth Program Mission, which targets teenagers 14 to18, focuses on academic enrichment, tutoring and mentoring activities, leadership training and career guidance and counseling.
- People Tribute to Heroes: Major League Baseball and People magazine announced three finalists to represent the Tigers in the Tribute for Heroes campaign, a national initiative around the All-Star Game to recognize veteran and military service members for their work. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander was on a guest panel of players and retired service members who helped select the finalists. Prior to the game, the three Detroit Tigers finalists will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony. Fans can learn more about their stories, read other heroes’ stories, and vote on their choices at tributeforheroes.com. Voting runs through June 30. The Tribute For Heroes campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans, which is an initiative of Major League Baseball, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which provides grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury treatment to veterans and their families.
- Game Ball Delivery: Master Sergeant Aaron E. Duggins of the United States Air Force, from Flint, will deliver the game ball. Master Sergeant Duggins serves as a firefighter and an Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent. He recently returned from Guam and has also served deployments in Oman, Kyrgyzstan and Southwest Asia. During his service, he has been named the Noncomissioned Officer of the Year three times. Master Sergeant Duggins has proudly served for his country for 13 years.
On Saturday, the Detroit Tigers hosted the third annual Classic Car Show, presented by Motor City Casino Hotel and Total Lubricants at Comerica Park. The event featured over 100 classic cars from the early 1900s to 1980s.
The public and fans attending the day’s game against the Cleveland Indians had the opportunity to stop by Columbia Plaza in front of the Big Tiger and check out all the cars on display. The winners were chosen by a group of celebrity judges.
Check out our photo gallery of the winning classic cars, and other scenes from the Detroit Tigers third annual Classic Car Show.
On Sunday, June 9 Tigers fans young and old had the opportunity to meet and take pictures of their favorite Tigers players at the 2013 On-Field Photo Day.
Members of the 2013 team walked the outfield posing for pictures and interacting with the thousands of fans who came to the game early for this great event.
Don’t miss the chance to see your Detroit Tigers up-close on Sunday, June 9 at the Tigers On-Field Photo Day, weather permitting.
Gates open at 11am, and Tigers fans will have the opportunity to come down onto the field at Comerica Park and take photos of their favorite Tigers players as they walk around the outfield, meeting fans.
Although this is not an autograph event, it is a great way for Tigers fans to get an up-close look at their favorite Tigers players.
Join some of your favorite Detroit Tigers at CJ Mahoney’s Sports Grille (2511 Livernois Rd. Troy, MI) on Thursday, June 6 for the third annual Tip A Tiger! 21+ ONLY! Have your dinner and drinks served by a Tiger, with all proceeds benefitting the Detroit Tigers Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch charities, as well as Orange Hearts, a charitable organization supported by Joaquin Benoit.
Members of the Tigers scheduled to appear include, Andy Dirks, Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Drew Smyly, Brayan Peña, Doug Fister and Jose Ortega.
Tickets are on sale now. To learn more, see photos and get yours, visit www.tipatiger.com
The Memorial Day weekend was a busy one at Comerica Park, as the Tigers hosted games against the Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates.
The team also celebrated several special events at the ballpark. Beginning on Friday, May 14 with the 43rd annual Polish-American Night at Comerica Park. Bands filled the concourse and hundreds of traditional Polish dancers took to the field in costume to celebrate the night.
On Saturday, May 25 the Tigers celebrated the 45th Anniversary of the 1968 World Champion Tigers. Featuring a special roundtable discussion on the Big Cat Court followed by a moving on-field ceremony, the entire day was a tribute to the contributions to the boys of summer from 1968.
On Memorial Day, the Tigers hosted a special Veterans Recognition Game. More than 1,500 tickets were donated to the event and many of the veterans were invited on to the field for a special ceremony. The Tigers and their opponent the Pittsburgh Pirates also wore special uniforms in honor of Memorial Day.
Before today’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tigers Manager Jim Leyland answered fan questions submitted through Twitter. Since the skipper doesn’t speak in 140 characters or less, here are his answers to your questions. Did he answer yours?
@jawilla11: #Ask Leyland How do you motivate a player when he’s in a slump?
Well as a manager, you try to keep them loose, try to keep their confidence level up and try to show confidence in them by playing them. The most confidence a manager can show in a player is to put them in the lineup. At some point obviously it’s up to the player, but at the same time you try to be there for them a little bit more than somebody that’s not in a slump-pay a little more attention to them.
@Tigers2435 What is the most difficult part of your job?
I think trying to keep everybody on the same page. There’s a lot of distractions up here and I think that the biggest part is trying to keep everyone on the same page to accomplish the ultimate goal.
@kristen_squires How do you choose which pitcher comes out of the bullpen?
It all depends who’s fresh, what the other team’s lineup looks like, lefties, righties, switch-hitters how they do against righties and who’s fresh for that day.
@theericwilson What is your favorite baseball memory?
I would probably have to say winning the first division title with Pittsburgh in 1990. We were so bad and they were so bad when we got there and it took us a few years, but then when we finally got it and finally accomplished that and won our first division title, it was great.
What was Your Favorite Baseball Memory with the Tigers?
My favorite memory with the Tigers had to be 2006 because the expectations weren’t much and we came in and my first year we were able to go to the World Series. But favorite memory, Magglio’s home run.
During yesterday’s ceremony honoring the 45th anniversary of the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers, Jose Feliciano sang the National Anthem in a tribute to his performance before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series. Here is the anthem in its entirety.