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Lyon excited to join Tigers

Lyon excited to join Tigers
DETROIT -- Know this about Brandon Lyon: He throws strikes. The Detroit Tigers' new closer candidate is nearly as stingy with walks as all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman.

Lyon averaged 2.6 walks per nine innings in seven major league seasons, just a shade off Hoffman's 2.5 walks per nine innings. In 31 save situations last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he walked five. He walked two batters twice in 61 games in 2008.

"Beating yourself is not the way to do it," Lyon said. "You want to make the other team beat you. I like to be aggressive and have (opponents) show me how my stuff is that day."

Fernando Rodney has used the opposite approach. He strikes out more batters, but has walked 4.6 per nine innings in his career and an alarming 6.7 per nine innings last year.

It was that wildness that prompted the Tigers to look for someone to challenge Rodney for the closer role.

Lyon, who had 26 saves last year, last week signed a one-year deal for $4.25 million with Detroit that had $500,000 in performance bonuses.

According to, he could have signed for two years at $9 million with another team. But Lyon liked his chances at becoming the closer for the Tigers. Also, he liked what former teammate Casey Fossum told him about Detroit's clubhouse atmosphere. Fossum pitched last season for the Tigers.

"I want to win and be on a winning team," Lyon said. "That's the bottom line for me."

He has been compared to Todd Jones, Detroit's retiring all-time saves leader, and considers that an honor. The pair pitched together for Boston in 2003.

"We're both aggressive and go after hitters and try not to beat ourselves," Lyon said.

Lyon lost his closer job last year in Arizona. He had 19 saves and a 2.43 ERA before the All-Star break, and seven saves and an 8.46 ERA after that. He said depending too much on his fastball and curveball led to problems with predictability, adding that he will mix in his changeup and slider more this season.

"I'm excited to go into this situation and compete for this job," Lyon said.

Tigers contracts

Detroit signed outfielder Timo Perez to a minor-league contract and invited him to major league spring training. Perez hit .302 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs last year for Triple-A Toledo.

Seven on the 40-man roster agreed to 2009 contracts: pitchers Kyle Bloom, Alfredo Figaro, Chris Lambert and Zach Simons; catcher Dusty Ryan; infielder Michael Hollimon and outfielder Casper Wells.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: January 30, 2009

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