Tigers 3, Rays 3

Doug Fister had a positive exhibition finish in preparation for

his first regular-season start, against the New York Yankees.

Fister gave up two runs and seven hits over six innings for the

Detroit Tigers in a 3-3 tie with the Tampa Bay Rays in the

exhibition finale for both teams on Saturday.

”I thought he pitched really well,” Detroit manager Jim

Leyland said. ”He commanded much better. Used his pitches, changed


Fister, scheduled to pitch the Tigers’ home opener Friday, had

four strikeouts. Brayan Pena hit a two-run homer in the fifth off

reliever Jamey Wright.

”It’s another step in the right direction for me,” Fister

said. ”I felt like today was much better timing wise and just that

feel, working on a few pitches here and there. Just trying to get

fine-tuned ready for six days from now.”

The right-hander entered with 6.52 ERA over his previous six

spring training games.

Matt Moore allowed one hit, one walk and struck out five in four

scoreless innings for the Rays.

”That’s what he’s supposed to look like, that’s what he can

look like,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ”As he regains his

confidence, you’ll see that on a more consistent basis.”

James Loney connected in the fifth inning and Ryan Roberts in

the sixth against Fister.

Tampa Bay hosts Baltimore in its regular-season opener Tuesday.

The Tigers start the new season Monday at Minnesota, where

temperatures are expected to be in the 30’s.

”We’re going to get a little shock when we get off the plane in

Minnesota,” Leyland said about the cold weather. ”You don’t think

it is, you’re crazy. So, makes no sense to make a big deal about

it. I’m just happy today, we got through this game, knock on wood,

injury free. A good, quick game, really. Nice crowd. It worked out

good. The guys are all ready to go.”

Rays designated hitter Luke Scott will start the season on the

disabled list due a strained right calf. He could return in two to

three weeks.

”I’m making progress every day,” Scott said. ”It’s very

disappointing, but I’ve been down this road before. From what I

hear and what I see, it’s not serious.”

Maddon said he enjoyed the just completed spring training, but

won’t miss his alarm clock going off at 6 a.m.

”I’m looking forward to just moving it back a bit,” Maddon


Maddon is in favor of teams playing night games during the final

week of the exhibition season.

”If somehow we could come together as a group and just maybe

play all night games … if you’re into night games, play them at

the end,” Maddon said. ”Start flipping the internal clock a

little bit as a group towards the end as opposed to going back and


Before the game, Leyland addressed Friday’s announcement that

the Tigers and ace Justin Verlander had agreed to an $180 million,

seven-year contract, calling it a great situation for the

right-hander, the team and the fans.

”He’s been with the Tigers for going on his eighth year,”

Leyland said. ”Conceivably (be here) 15 years, or maybe 16. That’s

pretty much a whole career. That’s got a nice ring to it. We’re

very fortunate to have an owner that steps up to the plate, and

very fortunate to have players that want to play here.”

NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria was among the regulars not in Tampa

Bay’s lineup. ”He feels like he’s ready to go,” Maddon said. …

Tigers RHP Rick Porcello pitched three innings in a minor league

game. … Maddon used 151 different lineups last season, the most

for an AL team with a winning record since Gene Mauch’s 1985

California Angels, who had 155. … Tampa Bay OF Sam Fuld was

scratched from the lineup due to an upset stomach.