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Red Wings make visit to Comerica Park

Red Wings make visit to Comerica Park

DETROIT -- Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard doesn't have a problem putting his body in front of a 100-mph slap shot. Howard also didn't stress catching a 95-mph fastball from Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

Howard, along with several other current and former Red Wings, were on hand for batting practice at Comerica Park prior to Wednesday's game against the Indians.

Howard admitted he was initially a little nervous going behind the plate, but said he quickly saw the similarities of catching and goaltending.

"I was back there first a little shaky, but he's got great control and he put it right in the glove," Howard said. "The fastball is about the same as a slap shot. It's coming in there real fast and you have to hope to get a glove on it. The curveball was just like a deflection with the change of directions."

Verlander said he was only throwing 85 percent for the majority of the session, but dialed it up towards the end.

"He did a really good job," Verlander said of Howard. "I was really impressed, especially with breaking balls. I thought he'd be really good with fastballs because there's not much movement, similar to a puck. But with the breaking balls, he did a much better job that I anticipated. He caught all of them. That's not easy to do."

Howard was pretty confident he'd be able to return the favor and get Verlander on some skates after the baseball season. Verlander, on the other hand, was not nearly as enthused with the idea.

"That's not going to happen, unless I'm holding on to the rail," Verlander said. "The last time I was on something that moved under my feet I broke my right wrist when I was like nine."

Current Red Wings, Kris Draper and Drew Miller, along with former Red Wings, Darren McCarty and Chris Chelios, were supposed to take batting practice on the field. However, wet weather prevented the grounds crew from taking the tarp off the field.

Instead, the Red Wings hit in the indoor batting cages and were accompanied by several Tigers players. After the BP session, the Red Wings went on the field and took some fly balls.

-- Alex DiFilippo

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