Tigers know not to take division-rival Twins lightly

MINNEAPOLIS -- Don't tell Tigers manager Jim Leyland that the Twins are heading for a down year.

"They're going to be one of the better offensive clubs in baseball," Leyland said Sunday. "They have a terrific guy at the end [in closer Glen Perkins]. They have a terrific manager, and they're going to be very tough. I would assume they'll score a lot of runs. The report is they can hit, and they have a versatile lineup."

They don't have former Tiger tormenters Denard Span and Ben Revere anymore. Both were traded for pitching help, which is good news for Detroit. The bad news is it opened up center field for switch-hitting rookie Aaron Hicks to win out of camp.

The Tigers have scouting reports on Hicks from Spring Training, and they have input from guys who faced him in the Eastern League last year. Still, it's not the same as seeing him firsthand.

"This new kid's supposed to be a heckuva player," Leyland said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.