LAKELAND, Fla. -- The way Joba Chamberlain threw his glove in the air and tore off his warmup jersey, he looked like he had just won the World Series. In actuality, he only won the Tigers' ragball championship, and he was just playing around.
He was, however, a Cinderella story.
"Some may say he's the first 12 seed to win the championship," manager Brad Ausmus said.
Others would say he's the first Tiger to win the championship, period. The drill, in which pitchers try to field a sharply-hit comebacker from about 30 feet away, only became part of the team's Spring Training this year, having been brought over by Ausmus from his days as a Padres special assistant.
As a symbol of the Ausmus change, ragball became the most-chronicled workout in Tigers camp since pitchers fielding practice in 2007, following the Tigers' spat of pitchers' errors in the 2006 World Series.
It was not new to Chamberlain, who knew it from Yankees camp. The familiarity helped him outlast Phil Coke in a nine-round tiebeaker to win his group, then beat out a field that included Max Scherzer and Kyle Lobstein.
Ausmus turned it into a competition after seeing how players responded to it on the first day of workouts Friday, adding a prize for the winner.
Asked what he won, Chamberlain responded, "Pride."
Actually, he won a little more than that.
"Chamberlain wins the pot," Ausmus said. "Everybody chipped in some money."