LAKELAND, Fla. -- It's not true that the Tigers must have an experienced closer. The closers for last year's three National League division champions had a total of five career saves before last season.
Washington: With closer Drew Storen sidelined by elbow surgery, set-up man Tyler Clippard (one career save) stepped in. He recorded 32 saves.
Cincinnati: Closer Ryan Madson was lost for the season in spring training with a torn ligament in his elbow. In late May, young flamethrower Aroldis Chapman (one career save) took over as closer. From late June through early September, he converted 27 straight save opportunities. He finished with 38 saves.
San Francisco: With closer Brian Wilson lost for the season with elbow surgery, the Giants got 21 saves by midseason from Santiago Casilla, a veteran set-up man. Down the stretch Sergio Romo, who had three career saves, became the closer. He went 9-for-9 to finish the regular season. In his three saves against the Tigers in the World Series, he didn't allow a runner.
BOESCH UPDATE: Now that Brennan Boesch is healthy, the questions resume about whether he fits on the roster or might be traded.
Boesch took his first swings in competition this year Tuesday. He started at designated hitter for a group of Tigers minor leaguers that beat Western Michigan University, 4-2, at Joker Marchant Stadium. Boesch grounded out, singled, walked and pulled a homer far over the rightfield fence.
"I was nervous," Boesch said. "I hadn't played in a while. I felt like it was Opening Day at Comerica even though there were 200 people in the stands."
Boesch hopes to play his first big-league exhibition game today. If he starts, he'd be due to face his college roommate from Cal, Toronto right-hander Brandon Morrow . "I'm going to text him and say, 'Please just lay it in there for me.' I haven't had too much success against him," said Boesch, who has fanned in all five of his regular-season at-bats against Morrow.
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