DETROIT -- Technically, the Tigers opened their season on Thursday. But to manager Jim Leyland, this is the time when the season really gets going.
Between the ceremonies and the family members in attendance, Leyland says, Opening Day feels like more than a game. The second game, even with a sellout crowd, is the start of the daily routine that Leyland wants his team to settle into.
To that end, Leyland said he skipped any thought of an off-day workout Friday so that players and coaches could get settled in. With Wednesday's exhibition game against Triple-A Toledo, many of them had barely been in their in-season homes before Opening Day.
"I didn't want them to do anything yesterday, because that gives them the day to get their stuff situated," Leyland said Saturday. "Unpack their bags, you know, let their families get in, get their apartments straightened out. ... You start getting into a little more of a routine here shortly."
For many, the day was appreciated.
"Great off-day, got a lot of stuff done," said Max Scherzer, who came to the park to play catch in the morning before running errands in the afternoon. "Got a lot of shopping done, picked up some groceries, got toilet paper, trash bags, I was able to get everything taken care of. That was a great off-day."
Valverde urged to throw more pitchouts
DETROIT -- Though Ryan Sweeney's game-tying triple ensured Jose Valverde of a blown save Thursday, pinch-runner Darnell McDonald's steal of second was no less of a concern. It's enough that manager Jim Leyland said Valverde will probably have to do more to hold runners.
Opponents stole nine bases in 12 tries against Valverde last year, both career highs for him. That doesn't include the bases that opponents swiped that weren't credited due to catcher's indifference in a two- or three-run game. By comparison, opponents went 3-for-4 in attempted steals against Valverde in 2010.
Leyland says there are a lot of reasons why catchers usually aren't good at holding baserunners.
"I just think they're concentrated on the batter," Leyland said. "They don't pay too much attention to it. A lot of times, a lot of closers haven't had too many guys on."
Still, Leyland said he wants Valverde to throw a pitchout now and then. It might not catch anyone, but it'll provide a deterrent for opponents who really don't have one right now.
"He's going to have to [pitch out]," Leyland said.
Peralta blames low throws on cool weather
DETROIT -- Jhonny Peralta says his arm is fine, despite two throws in the dirt that first baseman Prince Fielder had to scoop for outs Thursday. Peralta's arm has never been a problem, and it was arguably a strong point of his defense in Cleveland.
Peralta blamed the cool weather for the throws, saying he had trouble getting a good grip on the ball as he readied to release the ball.
"I kind of didn't feel the ball that day too much," Peralta said.
To be fair, Peralta has played his entire Major League career in the Midwest between Cleveland and Detroit. Until last year, though, Peralta had a history of slow starts at the plate that could be cited partly to the spring cold. He went against the trend last year.
Defensively, Peralta made just seven errors in 608 total chances at shortstop last year, good for a .988 fielding percentage that ranked third in the league.
Austin Jackson had base hits on the first and last pitches the Tigers saw Thursday. According to STATS Inc., it's the first time a Tiger has done that in a game since Gary Pettis did so against the Twins on July 29, 1989. No Major League hitter had done it since Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. did it June 26. MLive.com first reported the feat.
Tigers infielder Danny Worth followed up his first Opening Day in the big leagues with courtside seats at the Detroit Pistons game against Washington on Thursday night, and he ended up more in the action than he bargained. Wizards center Brian Cook nearly bowled over Worth along the sideline trying to run down a loose ball. Fortunately, nobody was injured, though Worth had a highlight to remember.
Prince Fielder needs three more hits to reach 1,000 for his career.