Leyland joins Tigers in Lakeland

Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland chats with pitching coach Jeff Jones on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla.

LAKELAND, Fla. — It’s not easy for former Tigers manager Jim Leyland to arrive at spring camp quietly.

But he did get in without much fanfare Tuesday morning, just hours before the Tigers played their annual exhibition game against Florida Southern.

Looking casual in shorts and a white, long-sleeve shirt, Leyland first visited the front offices upstairs at Joker Marchant Stadium before making his way to the field.

Tigers on TV

Leyland greeted the media, saying, "What’s the scoop?" and moonwalked a couple of steps away.

He then said hello to his former coaches, clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel, his former players and current Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

"Everything I’ve been reading has been really positive," Leyland said. "I think Brad’s doing a terrific job of getting acclimated with the guys. A little bit of a different team, obviously, a little more speed. I think it’s fantastic."

Leyland wanted to stay away at the beginning of camp so he didn’t take any attention away from the rookie manager and the team.

"I’m already away from that, to be honest with you," Leyland said. "I’ve talked to Brad a few times, nothing real specific, just some general stuff. He’s been fantastic.

"He’s called me or texted me a few times, but I’m totally out of the way. I want to make that perfectly clear. I don’t go in the clubhouse. The people can rest easy. I’m not going to have anything to do with it."

Leyland, who managed the Tigers from 2006-13 and twice took them to the World Series, still has a job with the team. He does some scouting and other things for president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, and is expected to be in Florida for the rest of spring training.

"It’s fantastic," Leyland said. "I’m really excited about it and really looking forward to it. It’s a little bit different, obviously, but a good different.

"No second thoughts or anything like that. I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to this new chapter."

Leyland had already seen some of the players Monday at the annual charity golf outing. The rest he got to visit with him Tuesday morning.

Left fielder Andy Dirks kidded with Leyland, saying, "You look like you’re going dancing or something."

"It was great to say hello to everybody," Leyland said, "I was a little nervous about that, to be honest with you. I was really happy to see everybody, and really, they couldn’t have been nicer. The guys were great.

I’m looking forward to this new chapter.

Former Tigers manager Jim Leyland

"Fortunately, I broke the ice a little bit yesterday at the golf tournament. I saw a lot of them out there. I hadn’t seen Miggy (Cabrera) and Victor (Martinez) and those guys yet. I got to see them briefly this morning."

Leyland said he’s enjoyed himself this past offseason, spending some time in Florida with his family.

He said he’s not missing his old job and is happy to still be part of the Tigers organization.

"To be honest with you, this is not an adjustment period for me," Leyland said. "If I thought it was going to be an adjustment period, I wasn’t going to retire. I’m doing what I want to do now."