Tigers

Tigers’ Cubs Make Key Contributions

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(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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The time to get harsh with players, in the opinion of manager Jim Leyland, is not when they’re going bad.

Leyland likes to pump up his guys when the going gets tough.

“There’s a certain amount of pressure that goes along with being a big-league player,” Leyland said. “If they can’t handle that, that’s their problem.

“But as a manager, you have to find a way to make their transition to the majors as easy as possible and not have them looking over their shoulder all the time.

“I think we have a little bit of that with some of the young guys.”

He got two key contributions from rookies Monday in Detroit’s 6-3 victory over Tampa Bay.

Andy Dirks, a veteran of six previous games, pulled a changeup over the right field fence to create a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning.

It helped reward rookie southpaw Charlie Furbush with a win in his major league debut.

Furbush came in when starter Phil Coke turned his ankle coming off the mound and had to exit after 3 1/3 innings. The rookie reliever worked 3 2/3 innings of two-hit, shutout relief.

Leyland said the newness of it all is a factor for young players.

“A lot of these guys are fighting for survival, and it’s in their head,” he said. “I have to find a better way to relax them.

“They’re worried about their jobs; they’re worried about getting sent out; they’re worried about if they fail; they’re worried about being in the big leagues and, ‘Do I really belong here?’ So somehow I have to find some way to relax them more.”

So far, he’s admittedly not been able to do that.

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