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Jackson makes first start tonight

Jackson makes first start tonight
TORONTO -- Edwin Jackson gets his first start for the Detroit Tigers tonight and can't wait to get going.

"Now, everything counts," Jackson said. "Everything is meaningful."

Jackson is one of four Tigers pitchers in the rotation who were not in Detroit's starting five at this time last year. Justin Verlander, the opening night starter, is the only one who was.

"But it's a good rotation," Jackson said. "Tampa Bay was in the same situation last year. (Scott) Kazmir was the only one who started the year before. But we were talented and knew the sky was the limit. And we have the same potential here."

Jackson in 2008 had his first strong year in the majors, going 14-11 for the American League champion Rays.

Matt Garza, Jackson, James Shields and Andy Sonnanstine combined with Kazmir to form one of the game's best rotations. Kazmir began last year on the disabled list and it was Shields who started in both the initial 2007 and 2008 rotations.

Armando Galarraga went 13-7 last season after being called up by Detroit. Rookie sensation Rick Porcello joins the rotation with Zach Miner, who was 5-2 as a part-time starter in 2008.

"I feel good about our pitching," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Verlander, Jackson, Galarraga, Miner and Porcello are going to pitch good. Verlander, Jackson and Galarraga -- I feel they have a chance to pitch real good.

"But you never know. The guy who won the Cy Young last year gave up seven runs today."

Leyland watched Texas get seven runs in five innings off Cliff Lee in Cleveland's 9-1 loss at Texas. Then Verlander gave up four runs in the first inning Monday night to the Blue Jays.

Carlos Guillen started at designated hitter and will get one more start there in the four-game series in Toronto. Leyland is being careful because Guillen's hamstrings have bothered him and artificial surfaces are harder on legs. "He's pretty smart, you know," Guillen said. "He keeps everybody healthy." Leyland plans to rest several regulars from the rigors of playing the field while keeping their bats in the lineup at DH. "That's the reason we made the move with (Gary) Sheffield," Leyland said. "It gives us a chance to rest guys and have flexibility at DH."

Josh Anderson was one of six Tigers making an opening day roster for the first time. He also was in the starting lineup, playing left field and batting ninth. "This is a dream come true, a real blessing," Anderson said. "To be on a great team, to go out and compete and to be needed is awesome. I like being a part of the puzzle, and will do whatever it takes to help out." The other first-timers on an opening day roster are pitchers Eddie Bonine, Armando Galarraga, Ryan Perry and Rick Porcello and infielder Jeff Larish.

WHILE POOR weather pulled the plug on many openers, Detroit was indoors at Rogers Centre. "I'm glad we're here because I know we're going to play these four games," Leyland said. "I'm thrilled to death to be here."

DETROIT WAS a 7-0 winner in its only other opener in Toronto in 2004. The lone player starting that game and Monday night's for the Tigers was Guillen, the shortstop five years ago.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 8, 2009

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