LAKELAND, Fla. -- Remember when Delmon Young mentioned the lack of a left-handed batting practice pitcher when asked about the Tigers' struggles against lefties during the World Series? That spot has been filled.
The Tigers hired Ed Hodge, who served as batting practice coach for the Houston Astros the past couple years.
The Tigers have no shortage of right-handers to throw batting practice, from coaches to bullpen catcher Scott Pickens to former Major League catcher Joe Siddall at home games. However, they haven't had a lefty in several years.
It sounds like a trivial matter, but to players, it makes a difference. Prince Fielder compared it to trying to take a math exam without doing the homework leading up to it.
"It definitely helps having a lefty and a right-handed pitcher, because you're going to see both," Fielder said. "Especially for me, being a lefty, from the seventh inning on, that might be all I see. I definitely need it, personally, just to make sure I'm doing everything I can to prepare and help my team in those situations."