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 NATE ROBERTSON NEWS

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PostSubject: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:49 pm

Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tigers sign Robertson for three years
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Nate Robertson isn't on the outside looking in anymore. By signing a three-year contract Wednesday, the left-hander joined the long-term nucleus of the Tigers' starting rotation.

That means that three of the Tigers' five starters for 2008 -- Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis -- are signed through 2010. Justin Verlander is as good as signed for that long because he can't be a free-agent until after the 2011 season.

Roberston's contract is worth $21.25 million, topping out at a possible $11 million in 2010.

As for Kenny Rogers, there's nothing long-term about his arrangement. At 42, he's signed for this season only, but he still has long-term aspirations. In other words, if all goes well, Rogers would like to be part of the Tigers' staff beyond this season.

Signing Robertson served as a commitment to an unsung starter who often seems to pitch better than this record indicates.

For instance, he's averaged 6.18 strikeouts per nine innings pitched as a Tiger, eighth best among all pitchers in franchise history with at least 800 innings, according to the team's research.

He also ranks 15th among all American League pitchers with 134 games started since the start of the 2003 season.

"Nate has been a quality starter during his time with the Tigers," said general manager Dave Dombrowski. "We are excited to sign him to a long-term contract and we look forward to him being part of our rotation for years to come."

Roberston, 30, was acquired by the Tigers from Florida in a five-player deal on Jan. 11, 2003. He became a fixture in the Tigers' rotation in 2004 and is the only Tiger who also calls the Detroit area home in the off-season, residing in Canton.

"I've made Detroit my home," he said Saturday at TigerFest, "and hope it stays that way for a long time."

A three-year contract is the first step in that direction.


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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:50 pm

NATE ROBERSTON: Tigers lefty on where Gary Knotts is, why Brandon Inge is Gold Glove-caliber

January 19, 2008

Detroit pitcher Nate Robertson appeared on WDFN-AM (1130) this week.

Here is a portion of his interview.

How does it feel to sign a $21 million contract?

I had a dad that was in the Army he helps me keep things in perspective. I don’t get too into that. We put in a lot of work, that’s just like the market value of what we do now. And I’ll tell you straight up I think it’s ridiculous that they pay baseball players what they do know but we’re doin’ it and the money is there, so somebody has to make it.

You guys have a chance to sell out every game:

Yeah, it’s just fun to see how far this club has gone from the tail-end of ’03 to where we are at now. Ownership has been outstanding. The front-office has put together a championship caliber team and I’m glad to be part of it.

In ’03 if someone had told you that you would be playing with the best team in baseball what would you say?

Back then Cabrera and Dontrelle weren’t on the map. That’s when they became young superstars, winning the World Series with the Marlins. And I had a good feeling with Dave [Dombrowski], I was with him over in the Marlins organization when I first got drafted. I knew it was important for him, as long as he got the go ahead, to go out and get good solid, top of the line players. It took some time. We had to break down this mess before we built it up. When I came over here it was a mess. But, we’ve certainly made things right in Detroit.

Where is Gary Knotts, the guy you got traded with, today?

Gary Knotts actually made a nice little comeback. He re-signed with the Phillies organization, and he threw the ball really well. He had some shoulder problems that developed in Detroit and kind of lingered on. We may see him in a Phillies uniform. He may do alright.

You have this charity basketball game next week, are you a big hoops fan?

Yeah, I’ve been to a lot of Pistons game and I’ve always admired the athleticism of the fellas that play in the NBA. Obviously I have no chance at being that athletic. I need to jump off somebody’s back to dunk a basketball. It’s a good thing I’m a coach. I’m going to let them do what they want to do. I’m gonna’ be standing there hanging out and watching them do their thing.

Are you guys allowed to play pickup basketball?

I was allowed to play two days ago. Ever since I put my name on the dotted line, that wouldn’t be a very good idea. There’s been some freaky stuff that’s happened to some guys. I’m just kind of a bystander.

What are you allowed to do outside of the season?

Sit on the couch and eat popcorn and watch a movie. That’s about it.

There are questions about Detroit’s pitching. Is that fair?

They have the right to question it. The biggest thing is, it comes down to health. You get some guys coming off injury-plagued seasons. That’s a question every year. We didn’t think we would lose Kenny Rogers like we did. We have five starting pitchers that have pitched in the World Series that’s pretty good.

You probably led the league in lack of run support does that bother you?

I think it's one of the beautiful things in baseball, but at the end of the day it’s tough. There’s been no question. My agent will try to defend me. Over the last three years I’ve had the third-worst run support in the league. Year after year I am one of the top two guys in the rotation when it comes to quality starts. It’s just the way it is. I’ll take bad run support every year if we go to the World Series.

Have you spoken to Brandon Inge? What is his attitude?

I texted him. I think the understanding is he wants to play every day. I think he is a solid big-leaguer. I love when I am pitching that he is at third base. He’s a gold-glove type third baseman and that’s the kind of guy you want. I would love to have Inge as a teammate he is one of my favorites in the clubhouse and on the field. You gotta’ be sensitive to what he wants.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:51 pm

Monday, January 21, 2008
Tigers' Robertson is on the home team
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- He's truly become one of us.

He shivers when we shiver, trudges through the same Midwest slush, waits in traffic when we wait.

And when inevitably cut off by another driver, he flips no, he doesn't do that. Not Nate Robertson.

But little by little, and sometimes by a lot, as has happened this winter, this Tiger -- never a big winner, at least not so far, but a good, dependable pitcher -- has become a local fixture.

For instance, Robertson not only went to the Thanksgiving Day parade, he was its grand marshal.

He also was the only Tigers player who could have picked up teammates at the airport before TigerFest earlier this month, if he'd been needed or asked, because he was the only Tigers player already here.

Robertson chooses to live here. He is from Kansas, his wife Kristin (expecting their first child) is from Florida, but there's something about Detroit -- maybe its hardworking, blue-collar way, reflective of the kind of pitcher he is -- he's grown to love.

Regular guy

Some teammates might accuse him of not wanting to pay to live elsewhere. Robertson, who lives in Canton, is known as the frugal Tiger -- but after signing a three-year $21.25 million contract this week, chances are he'll buy a few more toys.

Maybe even get some new gadgets for that ol' truck of his.

"I see things the way they are," Robertson said. "I value a dollar bill, but I give away a lot of money, too. Like I tell my teammates, let's crack open your checkbook, I'll crack open mine, and we'll see where our money goes.

"Another thing is that I don't need a vehicle to make me feel good about myself."

Robertson doesn't even need more wins than losses to feel good about himself because through all the tough times he's occasionally encountered in Detroit, there never has been a moment in which he has doubted his capacity to contribute.

Besides, "this is a team thing," Robertson said. "We have a manager (Jim Leyland) who keeps things in perspective and while my won-loss record (42-55) isn't where I want it to be or maybe where it could have been, I'm not worried about that.

"I'm just worried about playing for a real solid club that can go out and have a chance to win a World Series.

"That's the big focus."

Robertson never has had the kind of lights-out season that attracts national attention. He's been more than workmanlike. At times, he's been excellent, but the various pitfalls that can prevent a pitcher from winning as many games as he might dream of winning, or aspire to, have frequently befallen him.

At times it's been run support, as in the lack of it. Sometimes it's been a matter of not pitching well despite adequate support. And often he's simply looked like a solidly honest pitcher who's part of the unsung, but capable supporting cast every successful team needs.

Bright future

But there always has been the thought that one of these years, this left-hander is going to have it all go his way.

"I agree with him that his better days are still in the future," assistant general manager Al Avila said.

If that's the case, such days will no doubt encounter the added affinity a city feels for one its own.

Because Robertson has become one of Detroit's own.

"When I was younger, if you'd ask me where I would pick to live, it probably would not have been Detroit, Michigan," he said after agreeing to his new contract last week. "But I got traded the day after we got married, so we just came on up.

"For my wife and I, this has been home since our marriage began. And we've just grown to love it."

Even in winter? Even in winter.

"As I said, my wife is from Florida, but I've gotten her to live here the last five years," he said. "So I don't understand why I can't get some these big, tough baseball players to come up here and live."

But he can't. So it's only Robertson who shivers when we shiver.

And steps in puddles the same as us.

Because now he's from these parts -- the same as us.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:54 pm

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Tigers' Robertson to give clinic at new training center
Tim Twentyman / The Detroit News

Detroit Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson and University of Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins will be on hand for the grand opening of the Varsity Shop Training Center in Bloomfield Township on Sunday. Robertson will perform a free pitching clinic from 2-2:30 p.m. and will sign autographs from 2:30-3.

The Varsity Shop Training Center is a new 11,000-square foot sports training and instruction facility. It includes 9,500-square foot turfed practice area, as well as five full-size batting cage nets, four pitching machines, Little League and high school pitching mounds, four fully-equipped warm-up stations, and practice accessories.

"I grew up in Kansas and I think it wasn't until I was in high school that we had an indoor facility to use," Robertson said Thursday. "Obviously, there is a need for them in places like Kansas and Michigan, so kids can stay sharp.

"I wanted to play catch today and it's 12 degrees outside."

Professional baseball and softball instructors are on site at the new training center.

"I was a baseball geek when I was a kid. Now I have three kids and I have caught the baseball bug again," said co-owner Marc Secontine, who also runs the family-owned Varsity Shop in Birmingham, a sporting goods store. "If you build a facility like we have -- they will come."

The facility can be used for team practices or individual workouts. Membership is required, but there is no fee to become a member. Membership can be obtained by visiting www.thevarsityshoptrainingcenter.com or the facility at 2085-B Franklin Road.

The grand opening will also be broadcast live at the Training Center by 97.1 FM "The Ticket" featuring Pat Caputo.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:55 pm

Thursday, February 28, 2008
Son's arrival delays Robertson's first appearance
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Nate Robertson's first start of the spring is being pushed back a day. But there couldn't be a better reason. He's become a father for the first time.

Robertson's wife, Kristin, gave birth to a son, Wyatt Dale (6 pounds, 14 ounces) at 1:23 am Thursday morning.

Virgil Vasquez started in Robertson's place against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

Robertson will make his first appearance Friday against Toronto following Justin Verlander's start.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:56 pm

03/04/2008 7:40 PM ET
Parenthood helps Robertson prep
Not doing as much in offseason might help Tigers left-hander
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Tuesday was a good day for Nate Robertson.

Sure, the three scoreless innings were nice, but those six hours of sleep? Priceless. As he pointed out, usually you need one to get the other.

To say that fatherhood has already put a new outlook into Robertson's life would be an understatement. Since wife Kristin gave birth to their first son, Wyatt Dale Robertson, last Thursday, Nate Robertson's life has become a cycle of workouts by day and fatherly duties by night.

The fatherly worries, of course, are there all the time, though mother and son are doing fine. Minutes before his first outing of the spring last Friday, Robertson joked, he was sending a text message to see how his wife was doing.

He's known as a fiery competitor on the mound, but even he notices a difference in himself.

"I'm kind of an intense guy," he said, "and sometimes I think my intensity goes to a level that it doesn't need to. So making this takes a little edge off."

Even before the fatherly perspective, however, came the veteran perspective. He has long since known that he doesn't have to try to make the team every spring anymore. After signing a three-year contract this winter, he knows he doesn't have to worry about long-term security, either.

That's part of why he can look at Tuesday's trio of scoreless innings against the Astros at Osceola County Stadium and kind of shrug. He felt good about what he was doing, but he wasn't going to think for a minute that he was ready for the season to start. The vast majority of his pitches were fastballs, and he limited himself to just one slider, the main pitch in his arsenal, to get an inning-ending strikeout.

"The big thing is my command on the inside [of the strike zone]," he said. "I think it's a little too early to get excited about anything and praise anything. Especially early on in camp, most hitters come in and they're not really overanxious to attack the inside pitch. I'm throwing in there quite a bit and guys are just not comfortable with it. They're looking to get their swings in out over the pitch."

Or as he put it later, "Nobody takes home a trophy for winning the Grapefruit League."

Even before he became a dad, though, he was looking at his career in a different light. Instead of trying to work hard since last fall, he has tried to work smart.

He still isn't sure what happened early last season that caused him to break down. He spent a month on the disabled list with a tired arm after neglecting to retire any of the eight batters he faced in a June meltdown at Texas. He had been dominant for just under two months before that. He had his strong points afterwards, but he always seemed to be catching up from lost time.

"In April, it just felt like I could just go out there and get it done," Robertson said. "In May, I was a totally different pitcher. Something happened in May. I just try to look at it as a bad month."

Robertson doesn't grasp exactly what happened, but he's doing what he can to avoid it. When the season ended, pitching Chuck Hernandez strongly suggested not to do much pitching over the winter, and he checked with Robertson later to make sure he wasn't. The less energy Robertson expended in the winter, the idea went, the more he should have for the dog days of the season.

That was a sea change for Robertson. The previous winter, he worked out like crazy while training in the Detroit area, throwing indoors and lifting despite pitching an extra month with the postseason. Now, he had to cut it back.

In some ways, planning for the birth of his son helped. His life had become so enveloped in his family that he couldn't spend the same amount of time training, though he was still a regular at the gym.

Instead of throwing more than a half-dozen bullpen sessions before he arrived at Spring Training, he had thrown just one. Once he arrived, he bought into the advice from rotation mate Kenny Rogers to not overwork himself in his spring outings. Cut back the effort level to 90 percent, put away the slider for a while and keep matters simple for the first few outings.

For Robertson, that means honing his offspeed pitch while trying to command the inside fastball.

"If you can establish inside command, everything to me goes off of that," Robertson said.

It's something that had been brought to him before, but he never felt comfortable enough in his situation to try it.

"It crept into my mind the last couple years," Robertson said. "But I think this year, especially after the Tigers were great to me and my family with the three-year deal, that brings a lot of peace of mind. With my competitive mind-set in the past, I wanted to go out there and win Spring Training games."

Time will tell if those changes make a difference. Robertson has been one of the Tigers' best workhorses the last few years until that DL stint, but his results haven't always been what he'd like. His career splits include a 3.87 ERA before the All-Star break, but a 5.30 ERA after, including an .826 OPS allowed. He has had more than his share of low-scoring losses, but opponents have also hit .332 in his defeats, according to research on baseball-reference.com.

Robertson would still like to win every time. He's not that laid-back. But these days, he has other things on his mind, too. And this spring, he has no complaints.

"After watching my wife [give birth], I have no right to complain about anything, even fatigue," he said. "I have no place to say anything."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:59 pm

07/20/2008 2:43 PM ET
Robertson frustrated by short outing
Starter lasts just 2 1/3 innings in extra-inning loss to O's
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Nate Robertson got a no-decision for nine innings of one-run ball two starts ago at Seattle. On Saturday, he had a 6-0 lead by the time he took the mound for the first inning, but didn't last through the third.

"I guess it's the unexpected outcome of a baseball game," Robertson said Sunday morning. "That's the only thing I can say. If you haven't seen it yet, just wait. That's baseball. That's just the way it is, that's the game. It's dramatic. That's not good enough. It's not a way to escape an explanation, [but] that's all I've got."

Like his catcher, Brandon Inge, said after the 10-inning loss, Robertson felt like he made some good pitches that found holes. But he also echoed manager Jim Leyland's opinion that he has to shut the door.

"When your team goes out and gets a six-run lead, there's still a lot of baseball left," Robertson said. "But your team got you a six-run lead, that's the biggest thing. That's the frustrating thing when you're the starting pitcher. Skip said it well: 'Regardless of what the outcomes of some of those ground balls were, you have to shut it down; that's your job.' And that's my job with a lead like that, to protect it. I'm the starting pitcher. I'm supposed to get deep in the game, give them a good, quality outing.

"A hit's a hit. Whether it's a lined shot or a ground ball, it's a hit. You have to work through those things, and I didn't work through it."

Leyland said Sunday morning that he felt like Melvin Mora's two-run homer in the bottom of the first to put the Orioles on the scoreboard may have been the biggest hit of the night. It goes back to the emphasis of the shutdown inning after a pitcher gets a big lead. A double-play ground ball in that situation would have ended the inning with Detroit's lead still standing at 6-0. Instead, Mora's homer cut the lead to 6-2.

It was one of just two extra-base hits off of Robertson, who gave up a total of eight hits in his 2 1/3 innings.

"There's no excuse," Robertson said. "It's where the ball ends up sometimes."

Robertson's frustration was evident as Leyland came out to the mound to take him out of the game in the third inning.

"It's frustrating, yeah, when you're getting taken out of a ballgame in the third inning," Robertson said. "But what's in your defense? I mean, I got two guys on and all of a sudden, it's 7-5. My manager is a guy that's the best manager I ever played for. I admire the way he manages the game. His job is to put this team in a position to win a ballgame, so he makes moves accordingly.

"It's really kind of a sickening feeling. Even going into that inning, it's 7-2, and it's your game to win. So yeah, it's one of those frustrating moments in baseball."

So where does Robertson go from here? For starters, he goes far away from that game.

"You have to just kind of put this one in the rearview mirror and not let it get into your mind and go into your next start," Robertson said.

That said, he admitted, "We've had a few of those this year. And that's why we're a game under .500."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:08 pm

08/24/2008 8:19 PM ET
Relief appearance heartens Robertson
Left-hander records two outs, feels confident in his slider
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- The last time Nate Robertson was a reliever, he was in his first full big league season trying to earn a spot in the Tigers rotation behind teammates Jason Johnson, Mike Maroth and a 21-year-old Jeremy Bonderman.

His latest relief effort wasn't about getting back a starting spot -- not yet, anyway. It was about getting back his slider. In that sense, his two batters faced potentially provided him a nice building block.

"I felt like I threw one bad slider today out of six," Robertson said. "And I know what I did [on the bad one]. That's the big thing. Instead of searching, trying to figure it out, you know what you're doing."

Robertson's first appearance out of the bullpen in four years came just four days after the Rangers hit him for five home runs over 3 2/3 innings in a loss that prompted manager Jim Leyland to make a move. Sunday's timing, however, had more to do with Robertson's work Saturday with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, who used a drill to get him to work on the mechanics of his workhorse pitch.

Robertson said he wanted to try the adjustment in a game as soon as he could. So when the Tigers were down by a 7-3 margin, Leyland called on the lefty to face back-to-back left-handed batters in the bottom of the eighth.

"For me, it's not good just to sit on it," Robertson said. "We're going to work on it out there beforehand, so it's good for me to get out there and get in a game. If I work on something, I like to take it out there as soon as I can. That way, you can build off of it, not think too much about what you're trying to do."

The slider Sunday proved effective. Ross Gload swung and missed badly out in front of back-to-back sliders to start off the inning before grounding out to second. Mark Teahen fouled off one before grounding out to first on a fastball.

Leyland went to Aquilino Lopez to finish off the inning with switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo and back-to-back right-handed hitters coming up.

"He actually threw a couple better [sliders] today," Leyland said of Robertson. "One didn't work very good, but a few others worked OK.

"I normally don't go out and change pitchers like that with two outs, but I didn't want him to pitch too much. I wanted him to walk away feeling OK. Not that it seems like a big deal, but I think it is."

Robertson said that he'll probably have another session of drills with Hernandez on Tuesday.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:09 pm



Nate Robertson and his family will spend Christmas in
Michigan for the first time. (Duane Burleson/AP)


12/24/08 10:00 AM EST
Robertson stresses spirit of giving
Tigers left-hander eager to pass on selfless values to his son

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

As the one Tigers player who lives in the Detroit area for the entire offseason, Nate Robertson gets to see his home area in a whole different light around the holiday season.

This year, he and his family will spend Christmas in Michigan for the first time, welcoming relatives and friends from other parts of the country. It will also be the first Christmas as parents for Nate and Kristin following the birth of their son, Wyatt, in February. He shared his holiday memories and his hopes for the future with MLB.com.


MLB.com: You've done a lot of community visits this offseason. What has it been like for you to interact with the community during these times?

Robertson: Well, you know, it's hard for me to speak about tough times when a lot of people look at a guy like me and think there's no way I can relate and understand what they're going through. But the truth of it is, my wife and I just came back from a holiday party the Tigers put on for a group of foster children. Even people that are going through tough times, whether they've lost their job or they have the anxiety of possibly losing their job and the economy's tough, you go into a situation like this and you see these kids who really never had families growing up.

Just the opportunity to go and have a dinner at a ballpark -- a lot of them are teenage kids, too -- they just had a great time and you should've seen their faces when these gift certificates were presented to them. When you see little things like that, that's what it's all about. My wife and I, we've been up here for a while now, and we know that it's important. Serving others before you serve yourself, that's how things work. That's what it means to us in this community. There's tough times, and then there's really tough times. You can talk about the economy all you want, but when you have kids that have next to nothing or just the clothes on their back, well, that's pretty tough. It's just how you measure it.

MLB.com: What's your first holiday season as a parent like so far?

Robertson: I guess it's learning the groundwork as far as how we're going to celebrate with our son and being careful as to what we give him and why we give it to him, because there's an opportunity to spoil the heck out of him, and you have to watch yourself when you do something like that. When he grows, he has to understand the value of things. You have the opportunity, especially during Christmas, the season of giving, to teach your kids a lot of things. Even at nine months, you give him a toy and you take it from him, and you can see how quickly he can turn on you. Christmas is a celebration of a time when God sent his son to serve others and put others before himself.

MLB.com: Is there a big holiday tradition in your family?

Robertson: We're actually spending our first Christmas here in Michigan. That's one big change, not just Wyatt. The tradition at home, it's kind of funny. When you're growing up, it expands, and once you start a family and your brothers and sisters start families, it downsizes again. We just kind of typically do our Christmas morning together as a family. On Christmas Eve, we still just kind of do whatever, staying up late, wrapping some gifts. More than anything, we try to enjoy it a little bit more in kind of a quiet setting, have a meal together, watch a movie together. "A Christmas Story" is playing nonstop, one of my all-time favorite movies, and I think I've got my wife on board with that now, too.

Outside of Cleveland, and it's only like a 10-minute cab ride, they have the house from "A Christmas Story" where I think they did about half of the movie shooting outside the house with the Red Rider BB gun. We took pictures right there in front of the leg lamp. It was cool, because I like the movie so much. And Christmas came down with Wyatt this year, and I bought him a Red Rider BB gun.

MLB.com: What's the best Christmas gift you ever received as a kid?

Robertson: I think looking back, we had some really cool stuff. And most of what we got was pretty much handmade by my dad. We weren't big spenders because we couldn't spend big. We didn't have a whole lot, and my dad was always a mastermind in many trades. I'd say one of the coolest things that we got my dad made, a dune buggy. We still have it. It was just a really cool little buggy. All the parts were just scrap parts, just leftovers from the base that he worked at in the Army. He knows how to weld. He's really good with his hands. He welded all these scrap pieces together, and out comes a red dune buggy with a big exhaust coming out and a Kawasaki engine. He had a clutch system that he really just threw together. He got a seat belt out of a salvage yard, some Buick or something. And it was just an awesome little ride.

The funny story behind that is that I wrecked it Christmas morning. He pulled it out and we looked in the garage at it, like this thing is crazy. I was kind of intimidated by it. I was probably 10, 11 years old, somewhere around there, and I got on there, I got going, the thing took off on me, I felt like I was losing control. I turned the corner and I went right into the back end of the family Lincoln. I busted up the back fender of the car and I busted up the buggy. The best gift I ever got, and I wrecked it. But I think it was one of the coolest gifts I ever got.

MLB.com:
Are you a last-minute shopper, or do you get your gift-buying out of the way early?

Robertson: Oh, I'm last-minute. It never seems to fail, just never seems to fail. And it's just not the smart thing to do. I feel like you actually pretty much narrowed it down to the exact thing that you want to get by that time. That's the approach, I guess. That's my excuse.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:11 pm



Duane Burleson
Detroit Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson throws during a session at the University of Detroit. He works out there twice a week.


Tigers' Nate Robertson in best shape of career
by Steve Kornacki
Sunday January 18, 2009, 12:30 AM

DETROIT -- Nate Robertson balanced on the physioball, his abdominals carrying the load.

He stretched out his arms with a mild grunt and held the position for several seconds.

"I call this the Superman," he said, twisting his neck slightly to look up and smile.

Then, the Detroit Tigers' left-hander thrust his arms back to his side.

"This is the 'Matrix'," he said. "You know, how they did this position in the movie."

Next, he brought his arms back out front and extended both thumbs up.

"This one is called the politician," he said.

It also could signify the reaction of his ball club to the intense conditioning program he has undergone in hopes of overcoming a miserable season and regaining the form that merited a three-year, $21.3 million contract a year ago.



Duane Burleson
Detroit Tigers' Nate Robertson, left, works out with Detroit Mercy assistant strength and conditioning coach Nick Wilson.

Not much of an offseason
Two days after the season ended, Robertson was in a pilates class near his home in Canton. He kept going three times a week, and worked out with a trainer twice weekly at the University of Detroit Mercy.

"I got going right away because I had a bad taste in my mouth that I wanted to replace," said Robertson, who was 7-11 with a 6.35 ERA and was sent to the bullpen to rediscover his once-potent slider. "I'm getting everything in place and preparing myself."

He could feel the confidence the team and fans once had in him disappearing.

"And I want that back," Robertson said.

It was determined that a lack of flexibility was part of what was holding him back.

"Free movement helps with life on the ball and accuracy in your throws," Robertson said. "I'm so excited with how I feel now."

Robertson has lost 10 pounds. He weighs 229 and wants to be 224 when reporting to spring training with the other pitchers Feb. 13.

"Now I'm in great shape and will be ready to roll," said Robertson, 31, who is arriving in Lakeland, Fla., two weeks prior to the required report date. "What you do when people are not looking means a lot, and I wanted to do all I could.

"My flexibility and stability are better. And I have no issue with the bone spur in my hip. Our orthopedist said that if I strengthened the small muscle groups around the hip, it would stabilize it. I'm very pleased with the progress. I've never spent much time with flexibility workouts. I'm more free and easy now."

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski is impressed with Robertson's physical improvement, and said he will be given every opportunity in spring training to earn the final starter spot.

But Dombrowski said there was a chance he could pitch out of the bullpen unless he beats out Zach Miner and Dontrelle Willis to join Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and recently acquired Edwin Jackson in the rotation.

Robertson has started 163 games and has 11 career relief appearances.

"I've been a starter my whole career and didn't do very good out of the bullpen," Robertson said. "I have a lot of respect for guys who come out of the pen because it's a different preparation and so different mentally.

"I like competition, though. It's good in battling for positions. And there's not a guy outside of Armando Galarraga who performed up to expectations."

Galarraga, 13-7 with a 3.73 ERA as a rookie, was the only starter with a winning record other than Miner (8-5), who had 13 starts among 45 appearances.

The bad taste in Robertson's mouth came after leading the American League with 119 earned-runs allowed, finishing fifth with 26 home runs served up, and seventh with 218 hits allowed.

So he started working out with his wife Kristin's pilates instructor, Judy Farmer, and in a training program designed by Tigers strength coach Javair Gillett that he has carried out with Nick Wilson, the University of Detroit Mercy assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Wilson, formerly a strength coach for the Toledo Mud Hens and Lakeland Tigers, said the workouts focused on lower body work, while core development and flexibility were gained in the pilates classes.

Getting his slider back
Rediscovering his slider is the next item of business, and Robertson is following new pitching coach Rick Knapp's throwing program and beginning bullpen sessions.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland is pleased with his conditioning progress. He said Robertson and others did not come to spring training in top shape in 2008.

"They're working hard to do that this year," Leyland said.

"It's a lesson that we all learn. I think Nate is working really hard right now, and I think he's going to come in and give himself the best chance to be in the rotation."

Robertson is eager for something even better than the 13-13 record and 3.84 ERA he had in 2006.

"My No. 1 goal is to put this season behind me," Robertson said. "As a team and an organization, that's everyone's goal."
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:12 pm

03/15/09 6:04 PM ET
Robertson's task: Be 'more left-handed'
Tigers pitcher seeks to find balance between finesse and power

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

VIERA, Fla. -- Nate Robertson never really fit the profile of a stereotypical left-handed pitcher when the Tigers called him up six years ago. He might end up more like one now that he's older.

A day after Tigers manager Jim Leyland talked about Robertson defining what kind of pitcher he is now, pitching coach Rick Knapp provided a little more definition on what kind of pitcher they're working with him to become.

"I think that Nate needs to be more left-handed," Knapp said. "I think [Saturday] he took strides to that."

He isn't talking about which arm. He means how Robertson pitches with the arm he's got.

There are stereotypical crafty left-handers, such as Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer or Atlanta's Tom Glavine. There are also left-handers that can, and will, pitch inside in order to set up outside pitches. Knapp and the Tigers aren't quite trying to get Robertson to be a finesse lefty, but they're trying to get him further from the form with which he struggled last season.

"I want him to be himself," Knapp cautioned. "I just want him to be a hybrid version of himself."

By claiming the inside of the plate early and attacking it, Robertson gained a reputation early in his career as someone who pitched like a harder thrower than the velocity would read. He threw well into the lower-90's, with the mentality of a power pitcher and the strength of a power slider.

Robertson hasn't displayed the same velocity as past years, and while his hit rate has always been high, his strikeout rate has fallen, from 6.03 per nine innings in 2007 to 5.76 last year. Robertson's working to regain his slider, while Knapp and bullpen coach Jeff Jones are working with him to put the package around it.

If Robertson can move the ball inside, he can set hitters up outside. If he can let his pitches move where he wants in the strike zone, the lefty can also set a pitch on the edge of the zone that tempts hitters enough to misplay the ball, rather than completely miss.

"Command and control, back and forth and up and down, getting ahead, realizing the kind of game you have, those are things that are going to make you good," Knapp said. "If you add velocity on top of all those things, you'll be really good."

Robertson has never been a big ground-ball pitcher. His highest ratio of ground balls to fly balls was 1.08 in 2005, but it has fallen in the three years since. He has had more fly balls than grounders in each of the past two seasons, good for a 0.87 ratio in '07 and 0.88 in '08.

While his batting average against on ground balls has been higher over the past two seasons, according to baseball-reference.com, his slugging percentage against on fly balls soared from .609 in 2007 to .719 in '08.

Robertson can be successful without the same velocity, Knapp said. But he has to adjust. Knapp saw strides towards that Saturday.

"I think there are plenty of left-handed pitchers in the big leagues with the same stuff that he has," Knapp said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:13 pm



03/20/09 7:13 PM ET
Robertson brims with confidence
Tigers left-hander delivers statement performance vs. Nats

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers asked Nate Robertson to pitch more left-handed, as they put it. Taking a few examples from prototypical lefty Kenny Rogers was a pretty good place to start.

"Maybe I'm learning about what you do after you throw a thousand innings in the big leagues," Robertson said.

Statistically, Robertson picked up where he left off from his last outing by tossing four more scoreless innings, scattering two singles, on Friday against the Nationals. From a pitching standpoint, however, it was a little different performance.

He was still the aggressive Robertson, going after hitters, but he mixed his mode of attack from inside to outside and back. He mixed his pitches and sequences in a way that kept the Nationals tentative, rarely squaring up a ball that came out of his left hand.

The results seemed more like Robertson circa 2004 or 2005. He struck out five Nationals, three of them on called third strikes, and walked one batter when he couldn't finish off Elijah Dukes with a 1-2 count in his final inning.

Those four innings required just 52 pitches, low enough that manager Jim Leyland sent him out to the bullpen to throw 10 more pitches and finish out his afternoon rather than start him into the fifth.

"I sure as heck had a lot left in the tank," Robertson said.

Leyland essentially said afterwards that Robertson's success was legit.

"You can throw badly and still get good results," Leyland said. "Today he threw real good and had good results."

At least 15 of Robertson's strikes were called, six of them on the first pitch of the at-bat among the 14 batters he faced. Three others made contact on the first pitch and flew out. That meant a lot of working ahead in the count for Robertson.

Once he got ahead, he put some of his lefty thinking to work, mixing up his locations rather than simply pounding hitters inside.

"I've been a guy in the past that's worked inside a lot," Robertson said. "But when you can open up the inside by showing them what you're going to do away, then you can make it relatively easy. I was able to just come in and get back out there, come in and get back out, and throw a slider off of it from time to time."

Robertson struck out the side in the opening inning, including two batters after Nick Johnson's double put a potential early run in scoring position for Washington. Ryan Zimmerman took three strikes, including a four-seamer inside for the second out, before Dukes went down swinging on a slider.

When the Nationals lineup came back around in the third, Robertson put up back-to-back called third strikes on Lastings Milledge and Johnson. Against Johnson, in particular, Robertson adjusted from throwing the fastball that resulted in a first-inning double down the right-field line. Once Robertson put Johnson in an 0-2 count, he threw back-to-back sliders and got him looking.

If that seems more like another Tigers left-hander, it isn't coincidence. After pitching coach Rick Knapp talked to Robertson about more of a typical left-hander's approach, Robertson gave Rogers a call earlier this week.

More than simply a discussion of pitching, though, Robertson talked with Rogers about the challenge of competing for a job in camp as a veteran.

"Here's a guy that's found his way for many years," Robertson said. "His encouragement to me was just if you have confidence in knowing that you can go out there and get outs, and you've got the opportunity in the first place, that's all you can ask for."

In past years, Robertson could work on a pitch or an approach without having to worry about the results, since his rotation spot was safe. Now, he doesn't have that luxury and back-to-back solid outings probably isn't going to decide anything yet.

"The fact of the matter is, the plane's flying out of here in less than two weeks, and here we are," Robertson said. "There's no answers yet. I know that at least my luggage will go back to Detroit. I have a home there."

That said, his performances over the past week surely help his chances. Among the starting pitching candidates not named Rick Porcello, Robertson has by far the strongest stats. Since Angel Berroa hit a three-run homer off of him in a wild two-inning outing against the Yankees on March 8, Robertson has a seven-inning scoreless streak going with three hits and a walk and six strikeouts.

Leyland said Thursday that he's free to talk with players if they're worried about their status, but he doesn't have a whole lot that he can say. Robertson isn't likely to do that. If he had a confidence dip towards the end of last season, it isn't apparent now. He said after his last outing that he saw this as his job to lose, and he carried himself like someone who wanted to take the job now.

"To me, the confidence is there that I can pitch," he said. "I'm going to be successful at this level. In my mind, I know that I can do that. Finding the strike zone wasn't necessarily the problem last year. It was when the ball [was] in the strike zone, what the ball was doing. When those guys are swinging and missing like that, they're not recognizing pitches, then I'm getting my stuff back to where I want to be."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:15 pm

Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tigers' Robertson makes bid to stay in rotation
Left-hander strikes out five Nationals over four shutout innings for advantage over Porcello.
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Your move, kid.

If the fifth spot in the Tigers' rotation has come down to Nate Robertson and Rick Porcello, as appears to be the case, the chess game took an interesting turn on Friday.

Robertson had his best outing of the spring: four shutout innings with five strikeouts in a 5-2 victory over the Washington Nationals at Marchant Stadium.

Instead of searching for his game, Robertson may have found it. Rather than looking lost, perhaps his effective past has been found.

And although nothing is being touted down here as head-to-head competition for the last spot in the rotation, veteran vs. rookie, the timing of their starts lends an appearance of being head-to-head because Porcello pitches today in Tampa against the Yankees.

Robertson fired the first shot with four shutout innings on Friday. Now, what will Porcello's response be today?

The other pitchers vying for the open spot haven't completely eliminated themselves, but they've struggled -- to put it mildly. Dontrelle Willis hasn't had a scoreless outing yet. In his last 5 2/3 innings, he's allowed eight runs on 11 hits.

Zach Miner was hoping to be considered, but he's had a bad spring, too. In his last four outings, he's allowed 14 runs in 11 innings.

Porcello, meanwhile, has been excellent. In three appearances, he's allowed one run in six innings. But because of a stubborn cut beneath the fingernail of his right index finger (it kept bleeding whenever he threw the ball), Porcello hasn't pitched since March 9.

That's not enough time to be back-burnered, by any means. But while he's been out Robertson has thrown seven scoreless innings, reminding one and all that he doesn't intend to go down -- or be banished to the bullpen -- without a fight.

On Friday, the missing depth on his slider was back from wherever it's been. He mixed his pitches well, allowing two hits and a walk, but looked like a pitcher deserving strong consideration for his old spot in the rotation.

"He was good, real good," manager Jim Leyland said. "The best he's been so far. Better sliders, good change-ups, located his fastball. He pitched very well."

Now it's Porcello's turn.

The cut under his nail has healed, the stage is big (Yankees in their own yard) and there's plenty of time for him to still be the kind of pitcher to whom the Tigers can't say no.

"For me," Porcello said, low-key as always, "it's just a matter of getting back out there, no matter where it is. That's what I'm really looking forward to.

"It's just another team, and another game. I'm looking to be sharp and hopefully throw well."

If nothing else, however, Robertson is encouraged by how he's thrown in his last two games -- and so are the Tigers. Saying "not so fast" to those who would count him out, he's still in the mix.

Very much so.

"I'm going to be successful at this level," Robertson said. "In my mind, I know I can do that. The confidence is there. If I get my pitches to do what they're doing, and the hitters aren't recognizing pitches, I'm getting my stuff back to where I want it to be."

But Leyland isn't tipping his hand.

As he said on Thursday before the Tigers' game against the Atlanta Braves, he's done nothing that would indicate to anyone -- to the media or to the players themselves -- who has the edge for a job.

He's not talking to one pitcher more than another.

He's not dropping hints.

He's simply watching while it sorts itself out on the field.

"The boys are competing," Leyland said. "That's what they have to do. It looks like everybody is tuning it up a notch."

That's often the case as decision time approaches.

"Everybody wants to know (where they stand)," Robertson said. "Guys like to have an idea. It's a different spring for me fighting for a job, a different dynamic.

"I'm trying to keep a positive attitude about it. But the fact of the matter is that the plane is flying out of here in two weeks -- and here we are. No answers yet.

"At least I know my luggage will go back to Detroit. I have a home there."
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:18 pm

04/02/09 4:51 PM ET
Robertson accepts role in the bullpen
Left-hander begins to look at a career beyond the Tigers

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The last time Nate Robertson started a season in the Tigers bullpen, he ended up winning back a spot and starting a five-year stint in Detroit's rotation. This time around, he's taking his relief role as a sign of a possible end.

While Robertson believes he can still be an effective starting pitcher, his remarks in the Tigers clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium on Thursday morning clearly made it sound like he doesn't think it's going to happen in Detroit. If he can't start here, he gave the impression he wouldn't mind starting elsewhere.

"I think the cycle of a player's time in certain places, it comes and it goes," Robertson said. "This is my seventh year in the organization, and maybe my time here is nearing its end. And I'm fine with that. I'll tell you what, this is a first-class organization, and I appreciate everything that's been done for me.

"I don't go home and say, 'Man, I feel like these guys are really sticking it to me.' But at the same time, I'm 31 years old and I've got to think about my career. I can be very productive as a starting pitcher. That's what I believe. I think I can go out there and be durable, take the ball every fifth day, give you a chance to win as a starting pitcher in the big leagues. There's no doubt in my mind."

The Tigers obviously feel differently at this point. And the response from manager Jim Leyland provided serious doubt that Robertson is going anywhere.

"I don't want to start on a negative note here," Leyland said. "I think Nate Robertson has an excellent opportunity to be a huge part of our ballclub. You don't always finish how you start. But at the same time, the best way to get yourself in the position that you want to be is prove that you're supposed to be in that position."

Or, as Leyland also said, "We don't end anyone's career in the organization if we think it's best for our team that they make contributions."

Robertson spent Spring Training competing for what was supposed to be one rotation spot but ended up being two when Jeremy Bonderman had a setback that sent him to the disabled list. Swingman Zach Miner and 20-year-old Rich Porcello won those jobs Wednesday, while Bonderman is expected to be back within a few weeks barring further issues.

The bright side in Robertson's performance were the steps he made towards becoming a more effective pitcher. His 6.35 ERA last year was the highest for any American League pitcher with at least 162 innings. His 119 earned runs allowed led the league, and he was briefly pulled from the rotation in August before finishing out with a series of September starts.

Pitching coach Rick Knapp suggested to Robertson early in camp that he should "pitch more left-handed," meaning mixing pitches and working in and out of the strike zone more. Robertson responded with back-to-back effective outings before a double-play throw sprained his left thumb with little more than a week left in camp.

Robertson returned from the thumb injury for one last outing, this one a long-relief outing Tuesday. He gave up five runs on six hits in three innings, including two home runs.

"If you look at Spring Training, the only [thing] I think I graded myself badly was when I put people on base [with walks]," Robertson said. "The balls weren't being driven up until that last outing, when I gave up a couple long balls. For the most part, keeping the ball on the ground has been something I've been doing pretty well. Taking all that and applying that to be an effective starter in the big leagues, I think that I'm on track for where I need to be. You don't just lose the ability to know how to pitch.

"Again, you have to take some of the experience. You learn a lot of stuff up in the big leagues. Starting Monday, this stuff goes on the back of your baseball card. All that [Spring Training] stuff doesn't mean anything."

Leyland said he called Robertson into his office to explain the situation before he called in Porcello and reliever Ryan Perry to tell them they had won jobs.

"In my conversation with [Robertson]," Leyland said, "I explained to him the importance of the entire pitching staff, the importance of him accepting the situation with a tremendous attitude, and the bulldog approach that he showed me before at times to take this and run with it. I'm well aware that Nate Robertson wants to start. I think that he believes he's a starting pitcher. I believe that myself if it's the Nate Robertson of 2006."

The Robertson of 2009, however, is going to begin in the bullpen. His guaranteed contract, which will pay him $17 million through next season, would be an impediment to any deal.

"I'm going to continue to work hard and prepare myself, wherever that road may take me. I've always been pretty solid in believing that there's a plan for me somewhere, whether it be here or somewhere else. As long as you're healthy, then you have an opportunity. One person's opinion on you is going to vary from another's in this game. I've been around long enough to see that.

"I'm going to obviously do my very best to be a good teammate to these guys. I've been around a lot of these guys for a while. I think it just comes down to what I think about myself, and that's what I stick with."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:31 pm

Robertson fits into Tigers' bullpen
Former starter throws two perfect innings in relief on Saturday

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

04/11/09 6:45 PM ET
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland says there's a very valuable role for Nate Robertson in the Tigers' bullpen. If Robertson can make the adjustment to pitching out of the bullpen, his pitches should be a fit in a relief role.

"It's different," Robertson said, "but it's an adjustment I think I'm making pretty good right now. Just gotta go with it."

He certainly took off with it Saturday.

With three appearances in Detroit's six games, Robertson is tied for the lead on the Tigers and tops the club in relief innings. But it's his Saturday appearance in particular that showed his potential value on this staff.


After Justin Verlander's 97 pitches through five innings forced Leyland to go to his bullpen, Robertson came in for back-to-back left-handed hitters to start the sixth. Robertson not only stayed in for two innings, he retired all six batters he faced.

In the meantime, the Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, putting Robertson in line for the victory.

"We all know the situation with Nate disappointed" him over not getting a starting job, Leyland said. "But at the same time, to me, what he did today is as good as somebody giving you five innings as a starter. You have a one-run game, and he went through it and got us two innings. That's a heckuva contribution.

"That's what you try to impress upon your pitchers. Everybody down there is going to have to do a job if we're going to be good. There's no such thing as mop-up outs and all that junk. That doesn't happen. The importance of that kind of stuff is huge, and I was thrilled."

To call Robertson thrilled about relieving would probably still be a bit much, but he has adjusted to the point that he knows the value.

"This is my assignment," Robertson said. "My whole thing was to give me a couple days to deal with it and then move on. And now this is what I'm doing. I prepare myself in a different way. That's how I look at it."

While the issue of not making the rotation seems to have dissipated, his pitches seem to be improving. His fastball, which had been in the mid-to-upper 80s during his Spring Training bid for a starting job, topped 90 mph on Thursday at Toronto, though it slipped back to 86-87 mph Saturday. His slider, meanwhile, consistently has more movement than it did in his final Spring Training start.

Whether it's the shorter outings, the higher intensity, or extra work in the bullpen between outings, Robertson likes his pitches right now.

"The one thing, and I said this at the end of spring, my slider's back, and it's got really got really good bite right now," Robertson said.

That was the work in progress for when when he came to Spring Training, and the reason he changed his offseason workout routine to gain some flexibility. Whether a shift to shorter outings with more intensity is making a difference, or whether Robertson's thumb injury has healed enough to gain some of his previous stuff there, is a good question.

"In Spring Training, it was coming around real nice," Robertson said. "The setback for me was when I took the ball off my thumb, because I was feeling really comfortable with everything [up to that point]. But now that I'm at the tail end of this situation, and the two outings that I've come out of the 'pen, it's been really, really sharp."

Add a nasty, biting slider with a fastball that has a little more life on it, and you have the makings of a potentially effective reliever. He still throws his changeup on occasion, because he doesn't want to be a two-pitch hurler, even in relief.

Because of his history, his appeal as a long reliever is obvious. Still, that hasn't been his role so far. If the slider keeps working for him, he's a viable option against left-handed hitters in the middle to late innings, freeing up Bobby Seay for more late-game situations. Saturday was a perfect example.

In a bullpen where Leyland said he's still trying to sort out what to do in the seventh and eighth innings, Robertson is an intriguing piece.

"He can do a lot of different things for you," Leyland said. "He can pitch long. He can get a lefty for you. He's a very valuable piece for you."

It's a role that Robertson can see, and he's preparing himself to fill it. In the process, he's arguably proving himself as a pitcher.

"Obviously, he was somewhat vocal in how he was disappointed to go to the bullpen," Verlander said, "and I think he's going out there and trying to prove something. There's nothing wrong with that. He's going out there and showing he can get guys out. I think it might've lit a fire."

Asked if he had something to prove, Robertson turned the question around.

"Well, I think we all do," he said. "It's not just me. This team's got something to prove."


Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Tue May 19, 2009 11:27 pm

Robertson placed on DL
BECK'S BLOG

The Tigers not only lost a 13-inning game to the Twins Wednesday night, they also lost a versatile middle and late-inning reliever who could've helped in that game. Detroit placed left-hander Nate Robertson on the 15-day disabled list Thursday morning, retroactive to May 6, with a low back muscle strain.

To take his spot in the bullpen, the Tigers called up left-hander Luke French from Triple-A Toledo.

Robertson hadn't pitched since last Tuesday, mainly because the Tigers' starting rotation had been pitching deep enough into games that relief innings were scarce. Wednesday's game against the Twins was very much the opposite, which made Robertson's absence notable.

Robertson was the only Tigers reliever who didn't pitch in the game, which ended with Joe Crede's grand slam off Brandon Lyon in his third inning of work.

The 23-year-old French has enjoyed a solid opening inning in the Mud Hens rotation, posting a 2-2 record and 2.91 ERA in six starts with 29 strikeouts over 34 innings. He'll be in uniform in time for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Twins at the Metrodome.

* Posted on May 14, 2009 at 9:30 AM


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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Tue May 19, 2009 11:28 pm

Robertson placed on 15-day DL
Left-hander will miss time with lower back strain

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/14/09 2:30 PM ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Nate Robertson wasn't available as the Tigers and Twins played through 13 innings Wednesday night. That's why Brandon Lyon took the loss in his third inning of work.

As it turns out, Robertson won't be available for a while. On Thursday, the Tigers made it official, placing Robertson on the 15-day disabled list with a muscle strain in his lower back and recalling left-hander Luke French from Triple-A Toledo.

The origins of Robertson's back issues date back to last weekend's series at Cleveland. Leyland said Robertson felt the strain doing squats. Robertson said the injury seemed to be minor until the off-day Monday.

"It was tight going into the weekend in Cleveland, and it just finally came to a head," Robertson said. "I woke up Monday morning, and I couldn't get out of bed without using the nightstand next to me to push me up."
The Tigers had hoped -- really, had almost expected -- to be able to loosen it up in a day or two. That's why they didn't make the DL move Tuesday night, instead designating Juan Rincon for assignment to make room for Dontrelle Willis, whom the Tigers activated Wednesday to start the game that night.

"We weren't sure about Nate," manager Jim Leyland said. "We didn't find out until [Wednesday] afternoon that it would have to be a DL, and by then it was too late [to get somebody to Minneapolis from Toledo].

"There was nothing anybody could do about it. We did it right. We just got into one of those games."

French didn't get the call about the move until late Wednesday afternoon after the Mud Hens' game that morning and scrambled to get onto a flight to Minneapolis late Wednesday night. Even with the extra innings, he wouldn't have been able to get to the ballpark and into his gear to pitch had the Tigers made the DL move before the game.

"I felt really bad for Lyon going out there and having to throw 60 pitches," Robertson said. "And he's not the kind of guy that [normally] goes out and throws 60 pitches."

Not only was Robertson not available, but Ryan Perry was off, too, after his two innings in Tuesday's game plus a side session. Had Lyon retired Joe Crede for the third out of the 13th inning, Leyland said they would've gone the position player route. Their only player left on that side was utility infielder Ramon Santiago, who last pitched as a kid in the Dominican Republic more than 10 years ago.
The 23-year-old French has enjoyed a solid opening season in the Mud Hens' rotation, posting a 2-2 record and a 2.91 ERA in six starts with 29 strikeouts over 34 innings. He earned the call over a lefty reliever, such as Clay Rapada, in part because of the role.

"We needed a long lefty desperately," Leyland said. "He was starting, so he fit into that role."

How long he'll be up here remains to be seen. The Tigers backdated Robertson's move to May 6, his last appearance against the Twins at Comerica Park, so he's eligible to come off in a week. Robertson was hoping to at least be able to ride an exercise bike Thursday or Friday.

Given the abundance of caution with back injuries, though, Leyland isn't guaranteeing he'll be back when he's eligible.

"He's not going to be ready for at least seven, eight days," Leyland said. "Maybe more."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Tue May 19, 2009 11:30 pm

Robertson's back pain starting to wane
Reliever hopes to return to bullpen on Thursday for Tigers

By Kyle Austin / MLB.com

05/19/09 6:56 PM ET

DETROIT -- What a difference a night makes for Tigers reliever Nate Robertson.

On the 15-day disabled list with a lingering strain in his lower back, Robertson spent much of the weekend in pain. That was until Tuesday morning, when Robertson said he woke up feeling remarkably better.

He threw long tosses from center field on Tuesday afternoon and even threw a few balls from the mound, and said he is on schedule to make his expected return to the bullpen on Thursday.

"I don't see anything keeping me from that," Robertson said of his scheduled return.

Tuesday's workout served as a stark turnaround for Robertson. He spent Saturday out with back spasms, and said he was also restricted in what he could do on Sunday. This was after six days of no improvement since he was placed on the disabled list on May 14 (the move was backdated to Robertson's last action on May 6).

"I'm just relieved, because I've never had an issue down there, and for the first six days of it I was pretty concerned," Robertson said. "I didn't feel like it was getting better."

The training staff switched his anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend, which kick-started his recovery. Robertson said the big test will be if he feels as good on Wednesday, the day before his return, as he did on Tuesday.

Robertson made the switch from the starting rotation to the bullpen, where he is 1-0 with a 6.30 ERA in 10 innings pitched, at the start of this year. He said coming out of the bullpen should help him ease back into things. Nonetheless, he's leaving the disabled list more cognizant about how to take care of his back.

"I'm going to be a lot more aware and cautious with anything to do with my lower back," Robertson said.

Kyle Austin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Thu May 21, 2009 5:49 pm

Tigers activate Robertson from DL
Left-hander returns to bullpen in time for Thursday's finale

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/21/09 11:57 AM ET

DETROIT -- The Tigers activated Nate Robertson from the 15-day disabled list Thursday morning, bringing back the veteran left-hander to their bullpen in time for the series finale on Thursday afternoon against the Rangers.

Robertson went on the DL last week with a lower back strain after he injured himself working out in Cleveland. His back locked up on him during an off-day in Minnesota, leaving him unavailable for the series against the Twins, but a combination of anti-inflammatories and therapy loosened up his back a few days ago. He was able to complete a throwing session and was cleared for action.

Robertson has allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 10 innings this season, walking six and striking out seven. He serves as both a second lefty reliever behind setup man Bobby Seay and a long relief option alongside Zach Miner.

Detroit made room for Robertson's return after Wednesday's game by optioning left-hander Luke French to Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers could make another move after Thursday's game to bring back Magglio Ordonez from the family medical emergency list.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Thu May 21, 2009 6:50 pm

Robertson could use some time in Toledo if you ask me
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Thu May 21, 2009 8:53 pm

gs78 wrote:
Robertson could use some time in Toledo if you ask me

Yes
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:23 pm

Tigers place Robertson on 15-day DL
Club recalls Taiwanese left-hander Ni from Triple-A

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

06/28/09 1:57 PM ET

HOUSTON -- Taiwanese pitcher Fu-Te Ni is getting his shot in the big leagues. Nate Robertson, meanwhile, is facing the likelihood of surgery, albeit a relatively minor one.

The Tigers placed Robertson on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning with a mass in the inner portion of his left elbow. They replaced him with Ni, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo. Ni arrived in the Tigers' clubhouse late Sunday morning along with his translator and was available to pitch.

The move provides the side effect of a shift in Detroit's bullpen, where Robertson's struggles had limited his appearances recently. The veteran made the club as a member of the 'pen after spending the better part of five years in the rotation. He had a solid first few weeks as a long and middle reliever, going 5 2/3 innings with two runs allowed in his first five appearances, but his struggles had grown more pronounced lately.

Robertson owns a 1-0 record and a 7.71 ERA, allowing 18 runs on 25 hits over 21 innings with 14 walks and 17 strikeouts. Left-handed batters were hitting .326 against him with an .873 OPS this season. He had retired just two of nine batters faced over his past four appearances, and neither of the lone batters he was brought in to face Wednesday against the Cubs and Friday against the Astros.

The mass of tissue in his elbow likely played a part in that. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand compared it to a cyst, and said Robertson had complained of numbness and tingling in his left ring and pinky fingers, meaning the mass was pressing on his ulnar nerve.

"He's had the masses, but it's like someone who has bone chips," Rand said. "People who have bone chips or bone spurs in their elbow, they don't do anything with them until they become an issue. It's something that had not affected him in any way pitching prior to this. It's starting to affect him with numbness and tingling in his hand."

Robertson returned to Detroit on Sunday for a Monday exam by team doctor Stephen Lemos, who's expected to perform surgery to remove the mass Tuesday. How that procedure goes will determine what sort of timetable Robertson faces to get back to pitching. Because Robertson had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in the same area in 1998, they're hoping they can go in his elbow and minimize the scar tissue.

Ni's arrival makes him the first Taiwanese player to pitch for the Tigers and the sixth Taiwan-born player to make the Major Leagues. The Tigers signed the sidearming lefty to a Minor League contract this past offseason and invited him to Spring Training before putting him in the bullpen at Triple-A Toledo.

Ni was arguably the most effective reliever for the Mud Hens over the course of the season so far, going 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 24 appearances. He allowed 31 hits over 34 2/3 innings with nine walks and 32 strikeouts. Left-handed batters hit just .184 with one home run against him, thanks in part to an improved breaking ball, according to bullpen coach Jeff Jones.

"Give him a shot. See what he looks like," manager Jim Leyland said. "We'll use him to get some lefties out."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:28 pm

Robertson has surgery, out at least a month
BECK'S BLOG

I'm not on the series in Oakland, but I received word that Nate Robertson had successful surgery to remove four small cysts from his left elbow. Dr. Stephen Lemos, team physician, performed the procedure here in Detroit. It's a relatively minor surgery, but the hope is that it's a big help for Robertson. Because the cysts were around his ulnar nerve, he was experiencing numbness in his left hand, as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand explained Sunday.

The timetable calls Robertson to wait 3-4 weeks before he can pick up a ball. From there, it's a matter of how long his throwing program lasts. The timetable would seemingly suggest an August return at the earliest, or a September return when rosters expand.

Posted on June 30, 2009 at 2:01 PM


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:04 pm

Robertson delivers in rehab start
Lefty tosses three shutout innings for Triple-A Toledo

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

08/16/09 3:00 PM ET

DETROIT -- The Tigers received good news Saturday night from Triple-A Toledo, where left-hander Nate Robertson threw three scoreless innings with three strikeouts in the latest start of his rehab assignment.

Robertson, on the disabled list since late June for surgery to remove tissue masses from his left elbow, scattered three hits. He needed 43 pitches (including 26 strikes) to complete his outing, slightly lower than his rehab schedule would suggest for his pitch count.

Reports from the Tigers suggested Robertson hit 89-90 mph on his fastball, according to radar guns. That, too, would be an uptick, suggesting that Robertson is getting a freer motion in his arm with his elbow unrestricted.

Another rehabbing Tigers pitcher, Jeremy Bonderman, followed Robertson with an inning of relief, allowing a Wes Bankston solo homer as his only damage. He needed just nine pitches to retire the side, including a strikeout.

Robertson has allowed three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings in three rehab starts. Bonderman, limited to only one outing for Detroit this year due to right shoulder soreness, has given up seven runs on 13 hits over six innings in five rehab appearances. He'll continue to work out of the Mud Hens' bullpen, while Robertson is slated to pitch again later this week.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:37 pm

Tigers recall Robertson to start Saturday
Club temporarily sends Galarraga to Triple-A to regroup


By Jason Beck / MLB.com

08/26/09 3:20 PM ET

ANAHEIM -- Nate Robertson is returning to the Detroit Tigers to start. Armando Galarraga is heading to Triple-A Toledo to basically recuperate.

The Tigers announced Wednesday that they've optioned Galarraga to the Mud Hens for what is expected to be a 10-day stay, the minimum required for a player optioned out unless he replaces an injured player. The right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start for Detroit on Friday with inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Taking his place in the rotation while he's out will be Robertson, who will make his first Major League start in over a year on Saturday. The veteran left-hander, who spent the first half of the season in the Tigers' bullpen before going on the disabled list for surgery to remove tissue masses from his left elbow.

Robertson will be activated from the DL and start against the Rays on Saturday. Rookie Rick Porcello, who was originally scheduled to pitch on Saturday, will be moved up to pitch in Galarraga's old spot on Friday.

Robertson made five starts as part of a Minor League rehab assignment with the Mud Hens, each one increasingly better than the previous en route to a 1-1 record and a 1.89 ERA over 19 innings. His latest outing on Tuesday night was his best, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against Louisville with two walks and nine strikeouts. His fastball cracked 90 mph for the second consecutive outing, reportedly topping out at 91.

The 31-year-old was not an automatic choice, manager Jim Leyland said on Wednesday. They had a couple other options, but the coaches at Toledo recommended Robertson.

"I was encouraged to know that he was their choice," Leyland said. "They felt he gave us the best shot."

For Robertson, it'll be a long-awaited return to a starting assignment he has tried to regain since this past spring. He was one of several candidates for one of two open rotation spots in camp, but he lost out to Porcello and swingman Zach Miner. Robertson went 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 21 relief appearances before going on the DL.

Robertson hoped the surgery at the end of June would help him regain the free and easy arm movement that would allow him to throw harder and with more bite on the slider that has always been his workhorse pitch. He lost that over the past couple of years, and it showed in his statistics.

Robertson was part of the Tigers' rotation from early in the 2004 season until late last summer. He owns a 49-66 career record and 4.83 ERA in 163 Major League starts.

"It's time to take a look at him," Leyland said. "We need a pitcher, so let's take a look."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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