LAKELAND, Fla. Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't miss a thing, even if others do.
While reporters have asked him about nearly everyone in camp, there was one name that had not come up until Leyland brought it up himself Saturday morning -- David Pauley.
In case you also forgot, Pauley was the left-handed reliever that came from Seattle along with Doug Fister in the trade that sent Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, Chance Ruffin and Francisco Martinez to the Mariners.
With the Mariners, Pauley dazzled, going 5-4 with a 2.15 ERA. But with the Tigers, Pauley fizzled, going 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA in very limited action, just 19 23 innings in 14 games.
"He's got a track record that was pretty good at Seattle," Leyland said. "I'm not one of those guys you get a player and maybe he doesn't come in like gangbusters right away and you just write him off or forget about him. That's not the case. He can potentially be a big part of our team."
Leyland didn't just tell reporters that, he also made a point of telling Pauley the same thing.
"Of course there's a confidence level there, to know that you're back and know that they have trust and belief in you," Pauley said. "You are who you are. It helps make our job a little bit easier."
It probably didn't make the transition easier for Pauley when he didn't get to pitch until a week after the trade, Aug. 24 against Tampa Bay. That made it 10 days between outings.
In September, Pauley only pitched seven times, including a span from Sept. 3-12 in which he did not go at all. Of course, that was a time when the starters pitched late into games, usually getting to Joaquin Benoit in the eighth and Jose Valverde in the ninth.
But Pauley had already pitched 54 13 innings in 39 appearances before
"He might have been a little tired," Leyland said. "Coming over to a new team, sometimes it just clicks right off the bat. Sometimes it takes time with guys. Whole new new surroundings, thrown into a pennant race right away, I think sometimes that's different for guys."
Pauley, 28, admitted that jumping from a non-contender to a playoff chase was a bit intimidating.
"When you go from a situation that we were in Seattle, where we were all just playing to better ourselves, it was a pressure-free situation and then to come over here and be in a pennant race, you want to do that much better to show that you want to be a part of that situation," Pauley said.
Pauley did not appear in the postseason, leading him to wonder what was going to happen this season.
"It was an offseason of a lot of questions," Pauley said. "You can only control what you can control. So I just had to look at it as kind of, I didn't do what I could, I have to show that I'm better, if it's here or if it's somewhere else. You always play for the person that you're with at that time."
Pauley spent the offseason in St. Joseph, the southwest corner of Michigan. His wife, Samantha, and her family are all from the area.
"Being in Michigan, this year was good because it didn't get too cold," Pauley said. "It wasn't too bad at all. We really didn't get any (snow). At times they were calling for 10-12 inches, we were getting two. Usually when they call for 10, we would get 15. It was a very, very mild winter."
It was also an exciting winter for Pauley as his family got bigger. Son Cameron was born Jan. 6, joining daughter Emme, who turns three in June.
Pauley is hoping for some job excitement as he aims to contribute to a long playoff run for the Tigers this season.
"This is a great group of guys and they're all here for one reason -- to win and to go further than what we did last year," Pauley said. "It's something special."
Many of the Tigers have already remarked that it seems like Prince Fielder has been part of the team for a while as he has fit in seamlessly.
Leyland believes that is a tribute to his team.
He related a conversation he had during Saturday's workout with non-roster invitee Matt Young, who was with the Atlanta Braves last season.
"He came in today and he said the first day he walked in, everybody was shaking hands with him, acting like he'd been here forever," Leyland said. "We really got a good group."
Point of emphasis
Leyland has a few things that he likes to emphasize with his players.
One of those thing is "working hard and working smart." Leyland saw that in action Saturday during batting practice.
Alex Avila was in a group with Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Delmon Young and Brennan Boesch.
"What I liked about that group today is Alex Avila's in that group and he didn't change his stroke at all, trying to start hitting it like those guys are hitting it," Leyland said. "He's hitting it all over. He can turn on it, too, but he had a great batting practice."
Avila, 25, has plenty of power. He hit 19 home runs last season. But he's not considered a power hitter.
"He can hit them over the fence whenever he wants but that's not his stroke," Leyland said. "He's trying to keep his stroke going. That's smart. That's working hard and working smart.
"That's what I'm talking about. He would have worked hard if he was just trying to hit them out and hit a few out but he wouldn't have worked smart. He worked smart."