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 NATE ROBERTSON NEWS

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PostSubject: Re: NATE ROBERTSON NEWS   Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:08 pm

Fresh start for Robertson on big stage

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

08/29/09 1:36 AM ET

DETROIT -- Nate Robertson now can say with certainty that he feels a difference in his arm after surgery. Saturday will help tell if hitters notice a difference, too.

A year ago at this point, the Tigers pulled Robertson from their rotation in part because he had lost the confidence to attack hitters with the stuff he had. His slider didn't have the same bite, his fastball was slowing and his head was hanging.

Now, as Robertson readies to return from the disabled list with a network televised matchup with the Rays on FOX Saturday Baseball, the anticipation in his voice is difficult to miss. He isn't trying to win a regular job back and isn't seeing this as an audition, but the opportunity to start in the middle of a pennant race clearly means something to him.

Add in the FOX broadcast, with Kenny Albert and Mark Grace on the call, and it's a big stage.

It's the opportunity he has wanted since Spring Training, when he openly wondered whether his days as a Tiger might be done when he didn't make the rotation, but it's in a far better situation than he might've expected. In some ways, it feels like a season debut for him, even though he was pitching out of the bullpen as recently as late June, before he elected to have four tissue masses removed from his elbow.

It's literally a new start, even if Robertson isn't thinking beyond Saturday.

"What's gone on with me, it's been pretty heavy, not just this year but last year," Robertson said. "I know we all shared a pretty miserable season together [last year], but me personally, I didn't have a good year. It started back in '07. I got put on the DL with a tired arm. Whatever was going on with me affected the way I thought about how I was pitching, what was going on with my arm, what kind of stuff was coming out of it, whether it was being restricted.

"Now that I've had this done, it was really perfect timing to have the surgery. The team's been doing good. It was the perfect time to do this and put myself in the best position to maybe contribute here."

This current position came open when Armando Galarraga came up with inflammation in his throwing elbow. Team doctors examined Galarraga's right elbow Friday to make sure he had nothing more than inflammation. Assuming he doesn't, he'll remain in Detroit for the time being to receive treatment and work out, even though the Tigers optioned him to Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.

Robertson isn't heading back to Toledo anytime soon, not with Major League rosters expanding on Monday. Whether he sticks in the rotation is another question.

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

The way Robertson pitched in the last start of his Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday, he looked too good not to get a shot. Thirty-eight of his first 41 pitches went for strikes as part of 6 2/3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against a Triple-A Louisville lineup that has its share of decent hitters.

"The only reason I elected for the surgery was to get whatever was going on in there [the left elbow] out and seeing if that was affecting me," Robertson said. "And I do feel a difference. The biggest thing, I think, is that I don't have to worry about it. I don't think about what these four lumps are doing. Once you see what actually came out of the arm, it's just kind of amazing it was just kind of sitting in there and floating around and maybe constricting something. I don't know, but that's why we did it.

"All that combined has really helped me focus on pitching, throwing my pitches in the strike zone and letting them do what they're supposed to do. The movement on them has been good, the speed. My slider was really sharp my last time out, where it's really biting hard. Commanding those pitches, you give yourself a chance."

For Robertson, Saturday is a big chance.


"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 Sep 02, 2009 12:13 am

Robertson receives another start
Veteran left-hander to face Indians on Thursday

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

09/01/09 8:30 PM ET

DETROIT -- Nate Robertson will get at least one more turn in the Tigers' rotation. Detroit manager Jim Leyland finalized the decision to send him out for another start in Thursday's series finale against Cleveland.

The choice had been widely expected, especially after Robertson threw a full side session on schedule on Monday. Still, the Tigers held back the formal announcement.

It'll be Robertson's chance to follow up his encouraging return last Saturday, when he tossed four innings against the Rays with one earned run and another unearned tally. More important than the statistics was the quality of pitches, from a fastball that hit the 90-mph mark at least a handful of times, and topped out at 91, to a slider that had some of the old bite that made Robertson a stingy pitcher against left-handed hitters in previous years.

Saturday's outing came on just three days' rest after his final rehab start for Triple-A Toledo. Now that he's had a chance to do his usual work between starts, Robertson is feeling comfortable.

Compared with the half of a season in Detroit's bullpen, it's a much easier schedule for him.

"It's night and day, coming in, knowing what you have to do that day," Robertson said. "It's tough [to relieve]. It's a difficult task."

He still could end up in the bullpen again, depending on what the Tigers decide to do once Armando Galarraga returns from Toledo. Galarraga is scheduled to start for the Mud Hens on Friday, as he gets his arm back into pitching shape after missing his last start with inflammation in his right elbow.

Galarraga has remained in Detroit with the Tigers, even though he was optioned to Toledo last Wednesday. The move to the Minors was made so he could avoid a trip to the disabled list. Galarraga said his elbow feels fine, though he feels a little muscle tightness in his right forearm. He said he's just looking for a good outing for Toledo, and he won't work on anything specifically.

As for Robertson's work, he's expected to be available for more than the 70 pitches he threw last time out.

"I hope he can throw 80-85," Leyland said, "but that will depend on the results. We have some extra ammo now [with three September callups in the bullpen]."

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 Sep 12, 2009 12:21 am

Robertson exits early with injury
Starter strains groin in fourth, allows two runs, walks five

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

09/11/09 8:37 PM ET

DETROIT -- Tigers left-hander Nate Robertson left his start in the fourth inning with a left adductor (groin) strain after struggling in his third start of the season against Toronto on Friday night at Comerica Park. He will undergo further tests.

Robertson, who just rejoined the Tigers rotation two weeks ago after a successful return from elbow surgery, was already on the brink of being relieved after giving up two runs on six hits with five walks over 3 2/3 innings. The last of those hits, a Vernon Wells RBI double in the fourth, sent Robertson scrambling to cover home plate.

Once Robertson returned to the mound, manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand soon followed. Robertson left without a warmup toss to test how he felt.

Armando Galarraga, whose rotation spot Robertson filled, replaced Robertson in relief Friday night. He stranded two runners in scoring position with a strikeout of Kevin Millar to end the fourth inning with the Tigers down only 2-1.

Though Robertson wasn't hit for more runs, he appeared out of sorts in his game as he struggled to find the biting slider that returned in past starts. He recorded neither a ground-ball out nor a strikeout, and he induced only one swing and miss from Blue Jays hitters.

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 Sep 16, 2009 11:46 pm

Robertson expected to start again
Injuries have Leyland scrambling to fill rotation spots

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

09/16/09 7:24 PM ET

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland still doesn't have an answer as to who will start Sunday at Minnesota in Jarrod Washburn's place, but he at least has an idea. Nate Robertson's bullpen session Thursday could give him the answer he wants.

"It's a funny game. Robertson was upset [at not starting] because he thought he'd miss a start and be back in," Leyland said. "Well, he's got a good chance to be back in, so we'll see. It's funny how the baseball gods work."

That sums up how the various injuries on the Tigers pitching staff have left Leyland shuffling. So does the fact that the Tigers activated right-hander Alfredo Figaro from the 15-day disabled list, even though his Minor League rehab stint ended a week and a half ago. The Tigers needed the extra arm.

Wednesday's game against the Royals was originally Robertson's spot before he struggled mightily last Friday, caused in large part by pelvic inflammation. Armando Galarraga was originally expected to start in his place Wednesday, but inflammation in his right elbow and forearm won't allow him to throw enough pitches for a starting assignment. He's available in the bullpen instead.

Add in the September return of Jeremy Bonderman, also limited to relief, and Washburn's worsening knee injury Tuesday created a potentially gaping hole for the Tigers. Robertson's healthy return could be key for the Tigers to avoid the kind of struggles that would allow the Twins to creep further into this American League Central race.

Robertson had to rest for three days before working out on a limited basis Monday. He said he felt fine running and playing catch without spikes, and he seemed pretty confident he would be able to throw.

"As soon as we found out that it wasn't a sports hernia and it wasn't a groin pull, I was pretty comfortable with coming back, that I wouldn't worry about missing the rest of the year," Robertson said Tuesday. "Those were the two red flags that we cleared up with the MRI."

Of course, when he said that Tuesday night after Detroit's 11-1 loss, he thought he was throwing to get ready for a bullpen assignment.

"Unless I hear otherwise," Robertson said.

There was no news Wednesday on Washburn, whom Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand pulled from Tuesday's start after a four-run opening inning in which he was clearly hobbling around. Washburn and the team medical staff are trying to find something that will reduce the swelling and pain in the knee, which he pitched through for much of the year but now is struggling to deal with.

The injuries have left Leyland slotting around pitchers to fill spots, but he emphasized that it isn't an excuse for struggling down the stretch.

"Everybody's got their problems," Leyland said. "I mean, the Twins just lost [Justin] Morneau for the season, [Joe] Crede for the season. There's no excuses. I mean, everybody's got their issues. We're not the only team trying to figure a couple things out. I mean, there's absolutely no excuse stuff."

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 Sep 17, 2009 9:21 pm

Robertson throws side, good for Sunday
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on September 17, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Looks like Nate Robertson is good to go for the Tigers Sunday at the Metrodome. He threw a side session this morning, didn't show any obvious problems and said afterwards he's all good.

The Tigers wanted to see Robertson "air it out," as Jim Leyland said, to see how his injury reacted. That seemed to be the problem with Washburn and his knee, which seemed to hold up fine when he threw on the side but swelled up when he got to game intensity.


"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 Sep 19, 2009 11:54 am

Saturday, September 19, 2009
Tigers
Robertson powerized
Tigers lefty had very encouraging bullpen session Thursday
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Minneapolis -- One look at the incision on Nate Robertson's left elbow helps explain why Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp was so pleased with the left-hander's bullpen session Thursday at Comerica Park.

Now that a handful of fatty, marble-like nodules called lipomas have been surgically removed from Robertson's throwing arm, a pitcher who had been mysteriously losing velocity for the past two years is beginning to feel and throw like the pitcher he was in 2006, when he was 13-13 with a 3.84 ERA in 208 2/3 innings.

"It's hard to compare '06 with what I am today," Robertson said Friday before the Tigers kicked off their big weekend series at the Metrodome with a 3-0 loss to the Twins. "But as far as having the kind of pitches to be effective, yes."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said in an uncommonly strong tone Friday that Robertson, who has been dealing of late with a bout of inflammation in his pelvic region, was throwing with genuine power during Thursday's tuneup, which explains why Robertson will start Sunday's game against the Twins.

"Very encouraged," Leyland said. "Knapp said he was pleasantly surprised how well (Robertson) threw."


Robertson and the Tigers medical team believe those lipomas were restricting his motion and, hence, his ability to throw hard fastballs and his once-devilish slider.

The Tigers, in fact, saw the results after Robertson returned to the team in late August after his June surgery.

Robertson had two solid starts against Tampa Bay and Cleveland. A pitcher who was so unimpressive during spring training that he went from starter to a situational bullpen role had a 90-mph fastball and a biting slider.

The Tigers hadn't seen those pitches since 2006. Of course, his and the team's spirits were knocked down instantly when Robertson developed the pelvic-bone inflammation. He has been treated with anti-inflammatories and rest and is, in his and the Tigers' view, ready to go Sunday.

As for the lipomas, Robertson believes they led to his "tired arm" that put him on the disabled list during midseason in 2007. In fact, Robertson believes his arm wasn't tired as much as it already was being seriously handcuffed by the lipomas.

Doctors discovered that some of those removed from his elbow had blood vessels attached, signifying the degree to which they had become an impediment.

Robertson is no newcomer to surgery. June's incisions merely extended the scar that has been growing since he had the first of three elbow surgeries in 1997. Robertson, who turned 32 earlier this month, had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery then. He had a "re-do" three years later to repair a torn flexor muscle.

June's procedure enables him to track his three surgeries in stages that spread across a scar that is about 12 inches long.

"That's what we sign up for," Robertson said, with a shrug and a grin. "I'm not the first athlete who's had surgery."

If his earlier starts and Thursday's bullpen session prove he's on the way back, the Tigers would get an enormous boost, and just in time.


"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   Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:03 am

Healthy Robertson refines his game
Well-located slider has hitters missing and heads turning

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/14/10 9:02 PM EST

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After two surgeries and two offseasons of rigorous workouts, the old Nate Robertson might finally be back. But it still might be a new Nate Robertson as a pitcher.

The swing and miss from Derek Jeter on a pitch in the dirt Saturday seemed to be as good an indication as any that Robertson has the bite back on his slider. The five innings of one-hit ball from Robertson since the Tigers' Spring Training opener two weeks ago have raised hopes that all this work from Robertson might be paying off.

It has gone somewhat overlooked with the similar comebacks of teammates Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman, but Robertson's performance is attractive from inside and outside the Tigers. It certainly has manager Jim Leyland's attention, but now he needs to keep it up.

"Personally," Leyland said, "I think that's the way Nate Robertson needs to pitch."

He isn't simply talking about Robertson's pitches, but when and where he throws them.


Robertson will always be an aggressive hurler when he's on, and his slider gives him plenty of reason for it. He credits a lot of work on his mechanics with shoring up his delivery and getting it consistent enough that he can repeat the pitch, not to mention locate it.

It's not only sharp, he said, but from talking with hitters, it also comes out on the same eye level as the fastball before breaking late. Jeter's swing reinforced that.

He's crediting pure health with helping him do all of that. He doesn't have the same resume of major surgeries as Bonderman, or the unusual situation of Willis, but his work over the past nine months or so has been significant.

His case of fatty masses around his elbow was extremely unusual, as was the surgery last June to get rid of them. Soon after he returned, he had a muscle tear in his groin, which hampered his flexibility.

The combination of all that forced him to work with his delivery once he came back fully healthy.

"I had to break down everything last year," Robertson said. "I had the elbow surgery, and what really was the big speed bump to me was when I had the discomfort in the groin. I had that surgery in November, and if your legs and everything underneath you, shoot, it makes all the difference in the world. You rotate right in the midsection with the legs, your hips, everything else, and I think there was a little bit of a hitch there.

"I feel really, really good physically right now. Everything feels free and easy, and we're seeing the results. The lumps have been out of that elbow for less than a year, and common knowledge tells you it frees a lot of stuff up."

After some encouragement from Tigers coaches, his mindset on attacking hitters has been freed, too.

Much of Robertson's aggressiveness earlier in his career came on the inside part of the plate. Back then, he had the fastball to jam hitters and set up his slider there, and he caught hitters by surprise. Eventually, though, hitters compensated. Once his pitches weren't as sharp, hitters pounced.

This spring, as big of a difference as the slider makes, so does the mix. He's changing locations with his workhorse pitch, and he's using his fastball and changeup to change speeds. He's setting up his slider with a fastball on the outside corner. That's what impresses Leyland as much as anything.

"He used his changeup good. He used his slider good," Leyland said. "The key to him is going to be control, throwing the fastball on the outside corner, coming inside for effect, double up once in a while, don't fall in love inside, throw the slider at the back foot of right-handed hitters, keep it away from left-handed hitters and use your changeup. If he does that, he's a good big league pitcher. That's my opinion."

Robertson particularly liked his changeup and hitters' reaction to it. He also liked how hitters reacted to his sinker.

The entire package together sounded like an approach.

"I don't know right now if I can get a 93, 94 [mph fastball], but if you pitch, if you can throw to both sides of the plate, that's the big thing," Robertson said. "So today, I pitched. I stayed away, and I came in."

"You have to be able to pitch in, and I still want to pitch in. I don't think I'm the kind of guy that can live in there. Arm strength will build as it goes, and it's got life. The two-seamer's got life on it. You know that when you just try to throw one down the middle and the guy swings and misses."

One Major League scout said Robertson's performance so far prompts a new evaluation of him. It could do the same with the Tigers, who haven't used him regularly in a starting role since the summer of 2008. With two open spots in Detroit, the opportunity is there. If the Tigers have a surplus of starters at the end of camp, the opportunity could be somewhere else, too.

Robertson just wants to build off this. Leyland and others are hoping he does.

"You know," Leyland said, "I think Nate Robertson has the best look on his face that he's had in two or three years."

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 Mar 30, 2010 9:04 pm

Tigers wish Robertson well after trade
Willis, Bonderman win Detroit's competition for starting roles

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/30/10 6:34 PM ET

SARASOTA, Fla. -- All through Spring Training, Dontrelle Willis, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman pulled for one another in their comebacks even as they competed against one another for spots in the Tigers' rotation. They would all be Major League starters again, Bonderman figured, but one of them would be starting somewhere else.

They'll still be pulling for Robertson, but they'll be following him in South Florida. Detroit solved its rotation competition Tuesday by trading the longtime Tiger to the Marlins, his original organization, in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Jay Voss.

The deal includes cash going from the Tigers to the Marlins to help pay Robertson's $10 million salary for this season, the final year of his contract.

The move means Willis and Bonderman will fill out the Tigers' rotation. Willis will start the final game of the opening series at Kansas City on April 8. Bonderman, who has to serve a three-game suspension to start the season, will start at home against Cleveland on April 10.

It was the best-case scenario out of a rotation competition that included $34.5 million in payroll for 2010 but just 14 starts combined in 2009.

"I give him a lot of credit," team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said, "because he's in a spot where, for him, he worked very hard to get back to this point where all of a sudden he's got a spot. They acquired him to be in their rotation."

It also solves the most pressing question surrounding Tigers camp. Robertson, Bonderman and Willis were all under contract at salaries for $10 million or more this season, the final year of all their contracts. All three, however, were also coming off injury-shortened 2009 seasons that included multiple stints on the disabled list.

All three pitched impressively in Spring Training, commanding the strike zone and inducing swings and misses. Robertson, having come off elbow and groin surgeries last year, was impressive with the return of his biting slider and the ability to change speeds, helping him rack up 19 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings to go with a 2-1 record and 3.66 ERA.

The Tigers were widely expected to try to trade whoever ended up being the odd man out. That ended up being Robertson, whose outings were well-scouted as Spring Training unfolded.

"I think we would've felt comfortable [starting] any of them," Dombrowski said, "but [Bonderman and Willis] were the guys that were going to be our fourth and fifth starters. If we would not have made a deal, at that point, we probably would've put Nate in the bullpen."

That was where Robertson began last season, a move that was difficult to accept.

"I think it's good," manager Jim Leyland said of the trade. "He probably would've not been a happy camper if it would've worked out that he was in the bullpen. Like I said, he's been a good soldier here for a long time. We appreciate everything he's done for us, and we wish him nothing but the best."

Instead, they put Robertson back where his professional career began. The Tigers acquired him from Florida as a prospect prior to the 2003 season as part of the trade that sent Mark Redman to the Marlins. Detroit called up Robertson down the stretch of the 2003 campaign, and he had been a part of the team ever since. He was one of just three Tigers who had been continuously with the club dating back to that infamous 119-loss season, along with Bonderman and Brandon Inge.

Robertson's 168 starts rank seventh in franchise history among left-handed pitchers. However, he made just six starts for Detroit last year to go with 22 relief outings. He went 2-3 with a 5.44 ERA. He has also been the one Tigers player who lives in the Detroit area in the offseason.

"As far as Nate, it's bittersweet," said Willis, himself a former Marlins player. "He's going to go out there and have a chance with a good team. He's a close friend of mine. I'm sad to see him go, because he's a big part of this organization. He's been around for a while. Like me, he's on his way back to throwing the ball well. And I'm sure he's going to have big things to do in Florida."

Before that happens, however, Robertson had a tough call from Dombrowski to tell him he was no longer with the Tigers.

"I've known Nate a long time," Dombrowski said, "and he was a little shaken, because he had done so much. He said, 'My heart's in Detroit, and I really would've loved to be with the club. But I understand business.' And I'm sure that he'll go out and pitch well for Florida, too. The initial shock of getting dealt is always there, and that's how I would describe it."

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 Mar 31, 2010 9:36 am

Last Updated: March 31. 2010 1:17AM
Nate Robertson: 'I wanted the Tigers to want me'
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- "It's nice someone wants me. But I wanted the Tigers to want me."

Nate Robertson had a difficult time saying goodbye Tuesday. He'd been in the Tigers clubhouse before the bus left for Sarasota, where the Tigers beat the Orioles, 10-9.

The morning moves hadn't involved him, so he drove back to his rented abode after working out.

Then his phone rang, and he saw the call was from Dave Dombrowski.

"I knew at that moment my life and my family's life were about to change."


After seven seasons as a Tiger, Robertson was traded to the Marlins for minor league lefty Jay Voss. In addition, the Tigers will pay nearly all of Robertson's $10 million salary.

With the deal done, the Tigers starting rotation took shape with Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis winning the final two spots.

Bonderman pitched seven scoreless innings against one of Houston's minor league teams Tuesday. Willis allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings against Baltimore.

While that was going on, Robertson arrived back at Marchant Stadium to clean out his locker, but first finding out that life has a way of taunting a traded player.

"As I was driving into the parking lot," he said, "the truck heading to Detroit was pulling away. We passed each other.

"All my stuff was going home to where it's not my home anymore."

Kids clothes. Kids toys.


"I know being traded is the nature of the business," said Robertson, "but this isn't easy."

What's more palatable, of course, is that Robertson will start for the Marlins. He said they've already told him that.

Starting is what he wants to do, but a solid spring camp couldn't convince the Tigers to keep him.

"He would not have been a happy camper if he'd been in the bullpen," manager Jim Leyland said.

Robertson knows he didn't always pitch well as a Tiger. He's not attempting to tell anyone he did. But he hoped for the chance to prove he still could.

"It's pretty heavy to take this all on," said Robertson, a rarity in that he lived in the Detroit area year-round. "My home will still be there. I just won't be in it.

"There are so many good memories I'm thinking about right now. The ups, the downs, but to all the fans, you've been great. The organization has been good to me, first class; I can't begin to think of how many people I'll miss."

The upside of being traded is that another team wants you.

"I probably pitched myself into a position of being available," Robertson said. "It's flattering to be wanted, but I came into this spring with a mission to fulfill my contract and to help us win."

Then he corrected himself.

"To help this team win," he said, knowing that the Tigers aren't "us" anymore.

"For my career, this could be good. But do I think I could have pitched in this rotation as well? Yes. That's what I positioned myself for.

"It wasn't to go pitch in someone else's rotation. But the move has been made and life's about change. Now I'll dedicate all my efforts to the Marlins organization.

"I'm not saying, 'Why me?' " Robertson said. "That leads to negative thoughts. It was me -- now this is the next step toward another opportunity. But it's not the one I selfishly wanted."

Robertson wanted home to still be home. He wanted the Tigers to want him.

But they had other plans.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100331/SPORTS0104/3310342/Nate-Robertson---I-wanted-the-Tigers-to-want-me-#ixzz0jkzE8HjP


"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 Apr 01, 2010 8:29 am

Robertson leaves note for Tigers
Longtime Detroit pitcher was traded Tuesday

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

03/31/10 6:48 PM ET

Wednesday was the first day of Spring Training since 2002 when Nate Robertson wasn't in Tigers camp. Still, he left a message for his old team. Taped to the front of his old locker was a note in big letters: "Thank you to everybody for being great teammates."


"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 Apr 01, 2010 6:27 pm

Posted: 4:27 p.m. April 1, 2010
Nate Robertson throws 7 innings of 2-hit ball for Marlins

FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES

JUPITER, Fla. — Newly acquired Nate Robertson allowed one earned run on two hits in seven innings and even drove in a run in the Florida Marlins’ 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals today.

Robertson, acquired in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, surrendered a run in the when Ryan Ludwick led off with a double to left, stole third, and scored on David Freese’s groundout to short.

Brian Barden went 2-for-2, both doubles, for St. Louis.

Prior to the game, St. Louis traded infielder Julio Lugo to Baltimore.


"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   Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:54 pm



Robertson looks back on Detroit
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on April 4, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Nate Robertson was on the Florida Marlins team bus when he returned a call from a reporter Friday morning. He was heading from the Marlins' Spring Training home in Jupiter, Fla. up the state to Jacksonville for an exhibition game. From there, they had have another exhibition in Greensboro, North Carolina, then flew to New York for Opening Day against the Mets. Before all that, Robertson had to pack up his things in Lakeland, Fla., his old Spring Training home, drop off his car in Fort Lauderdale, then pitch in Jupiter for the Marlins Thursday.

All the while, there's a good part of his heart that's still in Detroit.

"It's kind of a crazy, abrupt goodbye to Detroit," Robertson said. "I still have a home there. It's still home to us, but it's not home with the Tigers."

It was his home and his office through the rise of the Tigers from 119 losses in 2003 to perennial contender now. But when the Tigers put Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis in their rotation and put Robertson on the trade market, Florida went from being a Spring Training stop to a regular-season job for him.

He's back with his original organization, seven years after the Marlins traded him to the Tigers on the day after his wedding. But while he's coming back home, he still feels like he's leaving home. He knew this was possible well before he arrived at Tigers camp two months ago, but it did little to cushion the shock.

Robertson came to Spring Training with Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis as three comeback attempts trying to squeeze into two starting spots. All three not only had injury-shortened seasons in 2009, they battled issues the year before, too. All three, moreover, were under guaranteed contracts for 2010.

In Robertson's case, he proved that surgeries on his elbow and groin allowed him to regain the flexibility to pitch effectively. It was a bittersweet outcome, but he's happy for Bonderman and Willis all the same. They pulled for one another all through camp, and Robertson maintained that outlook Friday as he looked in at Tigers camp from the outside. No hard feelings.

"All of us wanted the very best for each other. There was no doubt about it," Robertson said. "Truth be told, with my situation, I probably pitched myself into this situation. I anticipated from my standpoint. I wanted to see how I felt with the elbow.

"From the get-go I felt really, really good. All spring long, I just consistent threw the ball well. We all put ourselves in a position to start the season out in a rotation. Two of them are with the Tigers, and one is somewhere else. It just happened to be me."

When the Tigers made the deal last week, manager Jim Leyland said Robertson "probably would've not been a happy camper" pitching out of the bullpen, based off his reaction last year. Robertson, by contrast, said he would've handled it.

"I think last year when I went through that, it was more the shock of being in [a starting] position for a while," Robertson said. "I was hoping last year I could have maybe a mulligan and get that shot out of the gate. What was rewarding to me was that I had the surgery and I came back and I got myself back in the rotation at the end of the year in a pennant run.

"If it would've happen again this year, I think I would've been able to handle it a lot better with the assurance that I could be a guy who could be in that. I don't think it would've been something that would've been as frustrating this year. I really had my mind open for anything -- maybe being traded, maybe being released, maybe going to the bullpen, maybe starting. I didn't really worry about a lot of stuff. I think if that decision was made, I would've gotten right on board and been positive about it and felt my very best."

Robertson had been on the Tigers' roster ever since August 2003, when Detroit called him up to give him a shot in their rotation down the stretch of the worst season loss-wise in American League history. He was one of three Tigers who had been part of the team since then, along with Bonderman and third baseman Brandon Inge. He not only saw the Tigers' rise from those depths to the American League pennant in three years, he played a big part in it.

"What I feel good about is I was here when it was as bad as baseball gets really, and it turned into a winning organization, a team that now has the expectations to get to the postseason every year," Robertson said. "When I was here early on, it was like, 'Gosh, where are we going?' Mr. [Mike] Ilitch and Dave [Dombrowski] had a plan. It took some time. I was glad I was part of that plan.

"It was a really rewarding moment to celebrate out there on that field when Magglio hit that walkoff and just stand out there and think about three seasons prior, we were fending off the Twins to avoid 120 losses. And there we were, going to the World Series. There was the turmaround, there was the pinnacle, and now the bar has been set for this team to return to the World Series. It's a pretty cool thing to go through. And they're set up for a while. There's a lot of good talent there, from what I see."

Robertson not only has been a critical part of the Tigers, but also of Detroit. He and his wife moved to suburban Canton, Mich. soon after he joined the organization, and they bought a house shortly after. It's the only place they've known as a family, which now includes their young son Wyatt.

"Not only did I play with the team the last seven-plus seasons, I lived there," Robertson said. "It's not just my baseball home. It's friends and relationships. I've had a chance to respond to a lot of the people that have left a message or phone call.

"It was a good run. I had a lot of fun with it, and I grew to really love the city of Detroit and it's definitely going to remain a big part of me and my family."


"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 Apr 18, 2010 9:19 pm

Robertson quiets Phils' bats for series win
Uggla rips solo home run, RBI double to give Marlins edge

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

04/18/10 6:20 PM ET

Box >

PHILADELPHIA -- They say strong starting pitching is contagious. It certainly was the case for the Marlins in their improbable series victory over the high-powered Phillies.

Taking two of three at Citizens Bank Park isn't out of the ordinary. The way the Marlins did it, though, was a bit unconventional.


Nate Robertson, Burke Badenhop and Leo Nunez combined on a four-hit, 2-0, shutout over the Phillies on Sunday, spoiling the Phillie Phanatic's birthday.

After dropping an 8-6 decision on Friday night, the Marlins rebounded to claim the series, largely because of their pitching. Robertson strung together 6 1/3 scoreless innings a day after Ricky Nolasco turned in a complete game, 5-1, gem on Saturday night.

Limiting the Phillies to one run in two games is a complete rarity.

"When we pitch, we've got a chance," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But one run in 18 innings, with that lineup? Let's get out of town."

The Marlins needed a crisply pitched game, because Phillies lefty Cole Hamels was pretty impressive. The veteran limited the Marlins to two runs in eight-plus innings. Until the ninth inning, the Marlins were making a second-inning home run from Dan Uggla hold up.

Even Uggla was stunned that his blast would be the only run until late in the game.

"Never, I would have never thought," Uggla said of his home run standing. "Nate battled, and kept these guys off balance. He made some great pitches and got out of it. It's not very often you keep these Phillies to one run in two games."

Some insurance came in the ninth when Uggla again came through. This time it was his RBI double off Ryan Madson that provided the margin of victory.

Jorge Cantu now has hit safely in all 13 games this year, and counting 2009, he is riding a 17-game streak.

Nunez polished off the ninth with a perfect frame against three straight left-handed pinch-hitters. The right-hander collected his third save, striking out two.

The Marlins posted their first shutout of the season, and third all-time at Citizens Bank Park. The last time they held the Phillies scoreless in Philadelphia was on Aug. 7, 2008.

Riding Nolasco's momentum, Robertson did his part. His strong effort meant Florida's starters logged 15 1/3 consecutive innings before a reliever was used.

The low-scoring contest defied the numbers both teams have posted at the plate. Entering the game, the Phillies scored the most runs in baseball (78), while the Marlins were fourth (66).

"Obviously, a big series win," Robertson said. "It's hard to follow up on the outing Nolasco had. I was good enough today. It was a good series win."

The Marlins have played four series this season, and in each of them, they've lost the first game. Still, they've won three series. Even in their four-game set last week at home against the Reds, they dropped the first two and then rebounded to take the next two.

"It would be nice if we won Game 1 of a series, instead of having to have to get two and three or three and four to get it," Robertson said. "These are tough ballgames. Tough teams on the road. This is a resilient team. This is a good club, good guys to be around, good clubhouse."

It was a hard-luck series for the Phillies, especially the way their starting pitchers performed. In the three games, Roy Halladay, Jamie Moyer and Hamels combined to throw 22 innings, while striking out 19 and walking just one.

Still, the Marlins walked off the field shaking hands in two of them.

Robertson's performance was impressive, considering he walked four, including three in the second inning.

"You see a veteran pitcher, who is not going to give up a big inning," Gonzalez said of the left-hander. "He's going to get out of a jam. I hope some of the younger guys were watching that. Some of our guys give up a base hit, walk two, and the next thing you know it's a four-run inning. He was able to navigate through that inning, and not give up any runs."

In each of his first two starts, Robertson went five innings, and the veteran was upset at himself for not working more.

The only run the Marlins actually needed came in the second inning. Uggla connected on his second home run of the series, and third of the season. The slugger now has 124 career homers, which is five shy of Derrek Lee for third place in franchise history.

Uggla has 16 career homers off the Phillies, his second most against any team. He has 18 while facing the Braves.

It wasn't always pretty or easy for Robertson. Yet, he found a way to keep the Phillies off the board. In the second, he walked the bases loaded, but retired Hamels for the third out. And in the fourth inning, the Phillies had second and third with no outs.

Robertson worked out of it, striking out Juan Castro. The Marlins caught a break on Carlos Ruiz's liner to center. Jayson Werth on third tagged, and faked going home. Cameron Maybin hesitated and made a wild throw to the plate. But Werth remained at third. The inning ended when Hamels tapped to second.

The Marlins acquired Robertson late in Spring Training from the Tigers, where he was used to pitching in chilly conditions. The game-time temperature was 55 degrees.

"This is my kind of weather right here," Robertson said. "This is nice. I'm sure we'll be begging for something like this two weeks from now. I don't mind pitching in weather like this at all."

Joe Frisaro 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   Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:21 pm

Robertson, N(W, 2-0)

And at this point we are hard pressed to have a starting pitcher with 1 win...


"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 Jul 22, 2010 12:36 am

Marlins designate veteran Robertson

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

07/21/10 7:16 PM ET

MIAMI -- After the Marlins' most lopsided loss of the season on Tuesday night, Nate Robertson stood before his locker and accepted the blame.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Marlins decided to look in another direction for a starting pitcher.


Robertson, 32, was designated for assignment, meaning he has 10 days to either be traded or accept the assignment.

On Tuesday night, Robertson gave up eight runs (seven earned) in five innings. It was his worst outing of the season. The veteran struggled with command of his fastball, which was clocked mostly between 87-88 mph.

"In the meeting, he said he was really sorry about the outing," manager Edwin Rodriguez said after he told Robertson he was being designated.

The Marlins also placed catcher Brett Hayes on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist bruise.

The team selected the contracts of right-hander Jorge Sosa and catcher Brad Davis from Triple-A New Orleans. Sosa, who is making his second appearance with the Marlins this season, will be used in relief.

Davis, a fifth-round pick in 2004, is making his MLB debut. He was in the starting lineup on Wednesday in the third of four games against the Rockies.

Late in Spring Training, the Marlins acquired Robertson from the Tigers for lefty prospect Jay Voss.

While his 2010 contract is for $10 million, the Marlins picked up $400,000 of the deal.

In recent weeks, the Marlins have been trying to trade Robertson, who is 6-8 with a 5.47 ERA in 19 appearances, including 18 starts. In three July starts, he was 1-2 with a 7.94 ERA.

Rodriguez said the Marlins considered keeping Robertson and using him out of the bullpen as a second left-hander. But the team didn't feel it would be a good fit for him.

The Marlins will need to fill Robertson's rotation spot for Sunday, when they face the Braves at home.

Chris Volstad and Sean West, who are both in Triple-A, are candidates to be called up.

Robertson opened the season as the Marlins' No. 3 starter, and he threw 100 1/3 innings.

A nine-year veteran, Robertson broke in with the Marlins in 2002. After that season, he was dealt to the Tigers as part of the trade that brought lefty Mark Redman to the Marlins.

A respected veteran, Robertson took full responsibility for his worst start of the season.

In five innings, he allowed eight runs with five strikeouts in a 10-0 loss to the Rockies.

"Everything starts with your starting pitcher," Robertson said after the game. "We've been playing very well. Today, I didn't set a very good tone. The weight of the game goes on me.

"You're always as good as your next day's starting pitcher, basically. You can have all the momentum in the world, but if a guy goes out there and stinks it up a little bit ... we didn't have a chance tonight."

Joe Frisaro 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 Aug 03, 2010 12:56 am

Posted: 4:39 p.m. Aug. 2, 2010
Cardinals sign Nate Robertson to minor league deal

POSTED BY JAMES JAHNKE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The St. Louis Cardinals today reached an agreement with free-agent left-hander Nate Robertson on a minor league contract. Robertson will report to Triple-A Memphis of the Pacific Coast League.

Robertson, 32, was a member of the Detroit Tigers' starting rotation for five-plus seasons. He posted a career-best 13 wins and 3.84 ERA during the Tigers’ AL championship season in 2006.

Robertson was traded to Florida in March and went 6-8 in 18 starts for the Marlins before being released in late July.

Robertson owns a career mark of 57-77 with a 4.97 ERA in 221 games with Florida (2002 & 2010) and Detroit (2003-09)..

Robertson opposed the Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2006 World Series, taking the loss after allowing two runs in five innings.

Join Free Press special writer Nick Meyer for a live blog of the Tigers-White Sox game on Thursday afternoon at freep.com/sports.


"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   Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:02 am

# Nate Robertson (P)
# Aug 24 2010, 09:10 pm ET

The Phillies signed left-hander Nate Robertston to a Minor League contract on Tuesday.

Robertson, who will pitch Thursday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, went 6-8 with a 5.47 ERA in 19 starts this season with the Marlins. After the Marlins released him, he made six appearances for Triple-A affiliate Memphis, which is St. Louis' affiliate. The lefty went 2-1 with a 9.45 ERA, but opted out of his contract because the Cardinals had not promoted him to the big leagues.


"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   Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:25 pm

Tigers sign Nate Robertson to minor-league contract
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on March 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm

The last time Nate Robertson was in Tigers camp, he was on the verge of being traded to the Marlins. That was at the end of Spring Training in 2010, which is also the last year Robertson pitched in the Major Leagues.

So maybe it was fitting that word leaked during the Tigers game against the Marlins that Robertson was working out across the street in minor-league camp. He agreed to a minor-league contract last week.

The deal does not include any invite to big league camp. He’s slated to pitch for a spot at Triple-A Toledo.

Robertson lasted pitch in the big leagues in Philadelphia in the summer of 2010, and has been bouncing around trying to get another opportunity since. He spent 2011 in the rotation at Triple-A Tacoma in the Mariners organization, split the 2012 season between the Cubs and Blue Jays systems, then pitched 50 1/3 innings out of the bullpen at Triple-A Round Rock in the Rangers system. He returns back to his roots with the Tigers looking for some left-handed pitching depth in their system.

Robertson is now 36 years old and pitches a little differently. He lowered his arm angle in his delivery before last season to give his pitches more movement and his delivery more deception. He had some respectable numbers in the Pacific Coast League last year, going 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA and allowing 45 hits over 50 1/3 innings. He walked 23, struck out 40 and didn’t allow a single home run. He held left-handed hitters to a .213 average (17-for-80) with eight walks and 23 strikeouts, compared with a .267 (28-for-105) clip against righties.

No idea whether that ratio translates to the big leagues. Even with some uncertainty in the Tigers bullpen, it’s not going to be an immediate issue. The Tigers have their candidates for lefty relief going into the season, with Ian Krol, Phil Coke, Blaine Hardy, Jose Alvarez and Kyle Lobstein competing. Meanwhile, Detroit just optioned Casey Crosby to Toledo, where fellow ex-Tiger Wil Ledezma also just signed.


"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 Apr 29, 2014 2:52 am

Robertson setting sights on final big league ride
Longtime Tigers starter trying to reinvent himself as sidearming reliever

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 4/28/2014 4:15 P.M. ET

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Nate Robertson was walking through the corridors of Fifth Third Field recently when he spotted a team photo of the 2003 Toledo Mud Hens on the wall. It's part of a history the team has proudly embraced. For Robertson, it's part of his history.

Robertson can run down the line of players and remember the faces as teammates. Most of them, he notes, got callups to the big leagues that year on a Tigers team that lost 119 games. That includes himself, then a starting prospect with a power arm, a good slider and an attitude to attack hitters.

Robertson knows where the paths of those teammates led. He doesn't know where his own is headed.

"It's good to be back," Robertson said with a smile. "It's good to be a part of it."

Eight years, seven organizations and an arm surgery after helping pitch the Tigers to the 2006 World Series, Robertson is a 36-year-old taking one last shot, trying to make it back as a lefty reliever.

He wants to go out on his terms, but he also wants to see what he has left, to see if his transition into a sidearming reliever can play in the Majors. It's a leap of faith for a Tigers organization that has a stockpile of left-handed pitching, and for a pitcher who delivered in his prime with equal parts power and confidence.

"The only reason I made that call to the Tigers and reached out is because I feel like I'm offering something, too," Robertson said. "I love the game of baseball. I love being here. I love being part of this organization. But I also feel like I can help at the big league level.

"What I'm doing here, I'm really working hard toward trying to get back up there. If it happens, to me, it would be more rewarding to do it at this point in my career, as much time as I've had away from the game. To get back up there, man, that would just be something."

It's a process, one with ups and downs already, but one both parties want to see through. Between a Tigers bullpen in flux and Robertson's display in situations, it's a process that might yet lead him back to Detroit.

"I had him on the way up," said Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish. "He's a good influence, good to have around. How far this takes him, no one knows."

The goatee and glasses look familiar. Once Robertson starts into his delivery, though, the similarities end. This isn't the pitcher who struck out 155 batters his first full Major League season 10 years ago, then won 13 games with over 200 innings on the 2006 turnaround Tigers, pitching the openers to the AL Division Series and the AL Championship Series.

Robertson bid farewell to that pitcher a couple years ago, when he took the advice of a Minor League pitching coach and dropped his arm angle to try to get more movement on his pitches. After 1,152 1/3 Major League innings, the fastball had flattened out, and another surgery didn't help.

Robertson shifted his mindset to pitching for contact. He doesn't have to miss the bat, just the sweet spot.

"I'm not going to go out there and strike out a guy per inning. I just want to keep the ball on the ground," he said. "If they're getting hits through the holes, I'm fine with that, because eventually the ground balls are going to go to somebody."

The approach played last year in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, where Robertson went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA and allowed 45 hits over 50 1/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock in the Rangers' system. He walked 23, struck out 40 and didn't allow a home run. Left-handed hitters batted just .213 (17-for-80) with eight walks and 23 strikeouts.

Robertson wasn't going to crack the deep Texas bullpen, and he didn't get a camp invite elsewhere. If he was going to try once more to work his way up, he wanted the right situation. That led him back to the Tigers, with whom he signed a Minor League deal in early March.

"How is this going to end? To me, it's going to end good no matter what," Robertson said. "This is exactly what I wanted to happen, and my family wanted to happen. I got a chance to be with what I think is the greatest organization in baseball, come back to a place that feels like home. And I know what's on the table.

"I know what I've gotta do, just keep on getting those boys to roll over and give myself a chance. That's all I can do, but have fun doing it. That's the biggest thing. I want to make sure to have as much fun as I can, because if I can't get back up, it'll probably be it for me."

So far, Robertson is getting seven outs on the ground for every two in the air, and he has yet to allow a home run in 14 2/3 innings. He had eight innings of three-hit shutout ball over a six-game stretch before paying for a pair of leadoff walks in a three-run, two-inning performance Saturday. Even then, two-thirds of the balls put in play were on the ground.

"My wife was giving me a hard time about my walks the other night," he joked. "She said, 'You can't get released before I get up there.'"

It's a process, and Robertson is working at it. His fastball sat at 85-86 mph on Saturday, so he has to be precise, though Parrish thinks that will pick up. There are lessons Robertson has learned about reading and reacting to hitters, and adjusting when his main pitch isn't there.

"I had my slider, and I still have an overhand slider that's good. But if I didn't have that, then I was really in trouble," he said. "Now I've got different weapons. I think I've learned how to adapt to the game, adapt to the hitter, the at-bat, and I've learned how to pitch a lot more."

The reminders of those days aren't hard to find. Not only was Robertson a Tigers starter, he was a Michigander, one of the few players to live here year-round. That ended after Detroit traded him in 2010, but like many Michigan homeowners, he found the real-estate market as tough as a stacked lineup.

Robertson kept the house and rented it out. For the past three years, his tenant was former teammate Don Kelly.

"When I signed, I called and I'm like, 'Donnie, man, I don't know what to tell you,'" Robertson said.

Robertson's family is still back in Kansas, so he is sharing the place and commuting with Mike Hessman, another former Tiger who came back. Hessman signed this past winter for his 18th Minor League season with a chance at the International League career home run record. Robertson is six months older than him.

Hessman is the oldest player on the team, and one of just two Mud Hens pitchers in his 30s. Top prospect Robbie Ray was in Little League when Robertson broke in with the Tigers in 2003.

"I try to keep myself restrained from telling too many stories," Robertson said. "I mean, sometimes guys are like, 'Dude, we don't need another one of those old-time stories. That's enough.'"

Said Parrish: "He goes out of his way to talk to the guys about pitching and throwing strikes, getting ahead. He should be good for some of these other guys."

Robertson doesn't want this trip to be about memories. He wants to make a new memory in Detroit, for himself as much as his 6-year-old son Wyatt. If he can get it all together and get back, he said, it would be the sweetest memory of all.

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.


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