|Tigers right-hander thrilled and surprised |
From the 'Detroit Free Press' by John Lowe, Sports Writer - March 21, 2001 - Newspaper Clipping:
Even on the days that he's not pitching, Jeff Weaver usually wears a determined, competitive expression at the ballpark. But the right-hander broke out with a big grin Tuesday.
Weaver had found out just a few hours before that Tigers manager Phil Garner had selected him for his Opening Day start. Weaver will face the Minnesota Twins in the April 3, 2001 season opener at Comerica Park.
"It caught me by surprise," Weaver said. "I'm thrilled. This is definitely an honor, and I'm going to do my best to uphold my end of the bargin."
Asked what makes Opening Day special, Weaver said, "That's the game that gets you out of the gate."
Weaver, only 24-years old, has to be one of the few pitchers ever who will start on his first Opening Day on a big-league roster.
The Tigers summoned Weaver to the majors two years ago in the season's second week. He had only six games of minor league experience, but he had impressive stuff, and the staff was beset by injuries. In Weaver's first start, he pitched five innings and dominated the Minnesota Twins.
He began last season as the fifth starter. Garner wanted him to have the fifth starter's workload, which typically is less than that of other starters. Weaver, pitching in more innings than ever, had worn down physically as a rookie.
Garner told Weaver that he was happy with how he ended last season and with how he has pitched this spring. Weaver had a 2.79 ERA in September -- his best for any month last season. But typical of the run-support problems that have plagued him throughout his two-year career, his September record was 2-4.