LAKELAND, Fla. -- One day you're growing up in Arkansas and the next you're at spring training, working out with the American League MVP and Cy Young winner.
It didn't happen quite that fast for lefty Drew Smyly. It just seems like it.
Smyly, 22, was the Tigers' second-round pick in the June 2010 draft. His ascension in the system has been rapid, considering he's just two years out of college.
Last season, Smyly earned Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors with an 11-6 record, 2.07 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 22 appearances (21 starts) with Single-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
Before he came to Lakeland, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said he was looking forward to seeing Smyly more than anyone.
"Some people in our minor-league system -- and I don't know if they're right or wrong -- they think he's ready to pitch in the big leagues right now," Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski has Smyly on the list of candidates for the fifth-starter job, which includes ...