DETROIT -- Debate all you want whether the Tigers' experiment with two coaches for hitting is showing results in the way they've been hitting lately. It sure hasn't hurt. Moreover, both manager Jim Leyland and the hitters like the difference. The change came during the Tigers' trip to Texas and Tampa Bay in late June, when the team asked roving instructor Toby Harrah to hang around the club for a while and provide another coach for hitting cage work and extra batting practice.
At the time, the Tigers were averaging 4.25 runs per game while hitting .262 with a .735 OPS. Since then, they're averaging 5.6 runs with a .289 average and an .813 OPS. To say Harrah has come in with new ideas would be too simplistic. In many cases, it's another set of eyes the Tigers haven't had watching more hitters who have wanted to do extra work. "They got two cages going down there and he helps," Leyland said. "That's a big job. A lot of guys need attention and that's great. A lot of clubs have done that." Leyland said he and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski talked about it before the season but didn't go with the idea. Leyland did not want to get into the question of whether they could do it next season. "I'm not worried about next season, to be honest with you," Leyland said.