Pudge to throw out first pitch before Game 4

Pudge to throw out first pitch before Game 4

DETROIT -- Former Tigers great Ivan Rodriguez hasn't been back to Comerica Park since he retired, but he'll be back on Thursday for the Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

The Tigers announced that Rodriguez, who originally was to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for a potential Game 5, will instead do it for Game 4, which was pushed back a day by rain.

Rodriguez, whose arrival in Detroit as a free agent after the 2003 season marked the first big step in the team's return to glory, was a cornerstone on the 2006 team that stunned baseball by reaching the World Series, three years after the Tigers lost an AL-record 119 games in a season. He spent five years with Detroit.

It was Rodriguez who paved the way for the Tigers to convince other top talent, such as Magglio Ordonez and Kenny Rogers, to come to Detroit.

Rodriguez retired in April after a 21-year Major League career. He was honored in a retirement ceremony in Texas, where he spent 13 seasons, but hasn't been back to Detroit.