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October 1, 2011

Jim Leyland


Q. Jim, what did you see out of Justin Verlander in the short time you got to see him last night? It looked like he was struggling a little bit with the strike zone.
JIM LEYLAND: I don't think he was struggling at all; he struck out the first guy. We didn't get the ball out of the glove, then "Ingie" got a tough hop. I thought he was fine. There was an unfortunate play with Derek, the first hitter.
I thought he was fine. Maybe a little antsy, but I think that's common with all guys this time of year. I didn't see anything unusual.

Q. Can you tell me a little bit about the evolution of Scherzer since he came over from the Diamondbacks?
JIM LEYLAND: Scherzer I think he was primarily a fastball guy over there. And that's still probably his number one pitch. But I think he's worked a lot on his change-up, which is a very, very good one now. And his third pitch is a slider. It has been inconsistent; it has been tremendous at times and not as good at times.
So he's an outstanding young arm and he's still learning the art of pitching with real good stuff.

Q. What do you think his upside is?
JIM LEYLAND: It's huge. He's got a huge upside. There's no question about that. He can throw the ball 97 miles per hour, 96 miles per hour. He has a very deceptive change-up. He's very young. We think he has a bright, bright future.

Q. Jim, it's obviously been a bit of a rough year for Brandon Inge. How do you think he handled the demotion mid-season? What does it mean for him to have a role here in the playoffs?
JIM LEYLAND: I give him all the credit in the world. You always find a way to gain new respect for people. What he did was unbelievable to me. He didn't have to do that. He went down to Triple-A, worked at it. He was determined. I think the big thing is, he's always been a Tiger. I think probably deep inside, he started as a Tiger, he probably wants to finish as a Tiger. He came back. He's gotten some huge, huge hits for us. As we know, he's a great defensive third baseman. It's really been a nice story, to be honest with you. I think the guys really welcomed him back. He's been a big part of this organization for a long time.
I think, like I said, that was one of the best stories of the year for me.

Q. Jim, did you ever think Fister could be this good, this dominant?
JIM LEYLAND: No, I had no idea it would be like this. I think I addressed that a little bit yesterday. We thought we were getting a very good Major League pitcher. It turned out he got on a roll at the right time for us.
The key to that trade for us was the fact that we had Fister for a long time. It was not a "borrow a pitcher" for the last couple of months. We'll have him in the fold for quite a while. That was the key. That's probably why Dave ended up making the trade. We did give up players for him obviously.

Q. How surprised were you to learn that Sabathia would not get the ball tomorrow after he sort of lobbied for it yesterday?
JIM LEYLAND: You know, I don't really pay much attention to that, to be honest with you. I worry about my team, what we're doing. We went to work on ours in my office during the rain delay. Obviously, what Joe does is none of my business. I know we're going to have to beat CC Sabathia at some point. However it works out, it's probably a little disappointing to a lot of people. Probably including Joe and I, that Verlander will not pitch two games. I don't know about CC. I don't want to stick my nose in somebody else's business. It's probably a little disappointing.
But it is what it is. Like I said, yesterday, there's no sense getting excited about it. You roll with the punches and this is not a crisis. This is baseball. This is postseason baseball. It got delayed a little bit. It's certainly not a crisis.

Q. Back to Scherzer, have you ever seen a trade, especially a three-way trade, that has worked out so well for everybody as this one has?
JIM LEYLAND: No, that's a great question and a great point. It has. It's very rare that everybody involved in a three-way trade gets a chance to gloat about it. It worked out pretty good for everybody. That's really the way you want trades to work out. When you trade somebody to another team, as we did Curtis, it turned out great. We're very happy with Jackson and Scherzer. That's the way you want it to be. It means you can probably do business in the future. I think everybody was on the up and up that was involved in that trade, all three teams. It was done very classy. It worked out very well for everybody. That's very fortunate, and very unusual, probably.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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