TigsTown Notebook: 4/13

You've read the recap, but you still want more: more coverage of the minor league clubs, more information on the Tigers' top prospects. TigsTown.com has you covered, updating you on the latest news and notes out Toledo, Erie, Lakeland and Big Rapids. This entire week will be a preview of the notebook, just to see the premium info you'll get by upgrading to a Total Access Pass.

Toledo
Notes: Those hoping to swing through the Warehouse district of downtown Toledo this weekend to catch the home opener for the Toledo Mud Hens better be ready to pay a premium to get in. Still two days before the game, and the Mud Hens have announced the game is completely sold out, including standing room only. The Mud Hens are anticipating the largest crowd ever at Fifth Third Field, another great sign for a strong minor league club in the Tiger farm system. Tickets remain available for the weekend games of the series.
TT Stat: Gookie Dawkins was off to a rough start, that is until Tuesday night, when he blasted a pair of home runs in front of friends and family at Charlotte, nearby his Chappells, South Carolina residence. Dawkins was brought in to as a 6-year minor league free agent, and while the Tigers don't have high hopes for him, he's the only Toledo member with extensive experience at shortstop, so much like Brandon Harper, he could be one injury away from the show.

Erie
Notes: It hasn't been what SeaWolves' fans were hoping for in the 2005 season, a year after one of the strongest offensive units the team has seen led the charge to the playoffs. The pitching is adequate but has yet to be impressive, meanwhile the offense has yet to start clicking, and costly errors have cost the team in the field. Tigers' manager Alan Trammell has attempted to emphasize defense with his big league club, and will expect it from any rookie he chooses to bring up. 12 errors through 6 games is not what Tram has in mind.
TT Stat: After a rough start following a great spring training, Tony Giarratano finally put together a good game, going 3-for-4 with a double. A good sign for Giarratano, who started off the year 1-for-19, with 5 walks and 8 strikeouts. Hopefully Tuesday night's game will help get him back on track.

Lakeland
Notes: In his month of firsts, Justin Verlander has another one to add to the win column; that being a win. Verlander pitched 6 strong innings on Tuesday night to earn his first professional victory, and impressed everyone doing it. Word has it that while Verlander struggled against mediocre competition while at Old Dominion, the Tiger coaching staff is quickly coming to the conclusion that the staff at ODU likely didn't do him any favors in his development process, and he may be much further along than anyone could have imagined.
TT Stat: Kody Kirkland is only 6 games into the season, but already it's been a more promising start. Kirkland blasted his first home run of the year on Tuesday, and is hitting .375 while slugging .667, .938 in his last 4 games. That's a good sign, and an even better sign is that through those 6 games, all 6 coming with him at third base, Kirkland has yet to commit an error. For a player that struggled in '04, especially defensively, it's a great start.

West Michigan
Notes: The Whitecaps appear to be ready to hit their stride, especially with their rotation. And that group should only get stronger. TigsTown.com's Mark Anderson is reporting that despite the Tigers' silence in reagrds to Eric Beattie, the Tigers 2004 second round pick, he is expecting to make his debut with the Whitecaps in the next couple weeks, after being temporarily held back in extended spring training. Already holding a strong group, Beattie could strengthen it even more.
TT Stat: Matt Parrish wasn't expected to contribute much, but through 5 games, Parrish has the best batting average on the team .467 and has come up with a pair of key hits in big games for the 'Caps. Expected to be the team's 4th outfielder, Parrish could get more of a role as the season moves on.


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