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Inbox: Sizemore to start at second?

Inbox: Sizemore to start at second?

At this stage, would it make sense for the Tigers to do anything else but keep Sizemore at second base all year long? Also, it seems that using Carlos Guillen to back up second base from time to time would help in developing some of the Tigers' young outfielders and keep Guillen in the lineup.
-- Steve W., Auburn, Ind.

I think if you're going to start Sizemore at second, you pretty much have to give him some security there to keep him from looking over his shoulder. The Tigers have hinted at that, with manager Jim Leyland saying during TigerFest that you have to accept the ups and downs that go with a rookie starting position player. That doesn't mean you don't have insurance on the roster in case things go completely wrong, but it means that the decision to start Sizemore has to include a healthy dose of patience.

As for Guillen backing up at second, while I'm pretty sure Guillen would like that, I don't see the Tigers going for it. They want to commit Guillen to the outfield if they're going to use him there. I'd be surprised if they didn't carry two bench players with middle-infield capabilities, whether it's Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly, or Santiago and another signing, or at least Ryan Raburn as an option at second. That would allow Santiago into the shortstop mix a little more.

How do the Tigers plan to use Rick Porcello this year? Specifically, will he be on a strict pitch count this year as he was last year?
-- Mark B., Grand Rapids, Mich.

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I had a good talk with pitching coach Rick Knapp about that during TigerFest, and I asked Leyland about it, too. Plans aren't set on that yet and probably won't be until camp, but the general impression is that the restrictions will be looser. That said, there'll still be some restrictions. I think you'll see his pitch counts closer to 100 more often than last year, but still not like what you would see with others in the rotation. He has a year under his belt, but he just turned 21.

What do Tigers players do after TigerFest? Do they go back to their native countries, head to Florida, or stick around in Detroit for a while?
-- Kyle D., Commerce, Mich.

The vast majority of them either head to Florida or head home. The one player who usually sticks around is Nate Robertson, and he lives here. Even so, this is usually around the time of year he packs up his stuff and makes the trip to Lakeland.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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