And how did the Tigers' annual caravan begin for manager Jim Leyland?

With a light-hearted apology.

"I'd like to apologize that the World Series lasted six hours and seven minutes," Leyland told the crowd at the Toledo Mud Hens' Fandemonium event.

C'mon, it lasted longer than that, Jim.

But not by much.

Left field showdown

Brennan Boesch is not being counted out by the Tigers.

On his first stop of the caravan, Leyland said Boesch and Andy Dirks will be competing in left field.

"I think that's great. Brennan Boesch has done some pretty good things. Andy Dirks has, too. Let's compete."

So is Boesch coming to camp with a clean slate?

"We all are," Leyland said. "Nobody cares what we did last year."

What about Avisail Garcia also competing for playing time?

"Well," Leyland said, "I'll put that one as 'I don't know.' He hasn't done very well in winter ball. Obviously he won't be the every-day left fielder. Not as of now, anyway."

The new Peralta?

The Tigers like what they hear about Jhonny Peralta 's conditioning program this winter.

"He is going to look real good when he comes (to spring training," Leyland said. "And he has a chance to play good. Most people don't look at all the good things he does.

"He's a good major-league player. Does he have as much range as some of the other shortstops? Does he handle the ball as good as all of them and throw as accurately? Yes, he does."

Top question

Leyland anticipates the question he'll hear most often during the caravan will be about closer Bruce Rondon — which basically means his comfort level about heading into the season with a rookie closer.

From The Detroit News: