Tigers temper expectations for pitchers at plate

Tigers temper expectations for pitchers at plate

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Tigers spent the weekend getting Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Drew Smyly and Rick Porcello used to hitting again by having them take practice. They are not raising expectations for them to be productive hitters.

"I just want to emphasize to lay the bat on the ball," manager Jim Leyland said. "Don't try to do too much, just lay the bat on the ball. If they try to overswing and hit home runs and that kind of stuff, they're wasting their time."

Verlander and Fister will start Games 1 and 2 of the World Series in San Francisco, where the Tigers will not have the luxury of the designated hitter. Smyly and Porcello were included because they could end up in a hitting situation as either a long reliever or a spot starter in case of injury.

Verlander, famously, is 0-for-24 as a hitter, striking out 14 times while laying down nine sacrifice bunts. Fister had two hits as a Mariners pitcher in 2011 but went 0-for-2 with the Tigers this season.