Torii Hunter's acclimation to his new surroundings took all of what … 10 seconds?

Talk about feeling right at home the day you report to spring training with the Tigers.

Then again, maybe that's a product of having been around.

"As much as you can be with the other team, we became friends," manager Jim Leyland of Hunter. "We just hit it off."

Or of having the respect of teammates the minute you cross the clubhouse threshold.

"He comes to beat the other team," Leyland said.

Or maybe — probably — a lot of it is that with his friendly ways, wide smile and positive attitude, Hunter is instantly popular wherever he goes.

Whatever the reason, Hunter has reported for duty as the Tigers right fielder and No. 2 hitter. More than that, he's reported as a believer in his team's destiny.

"It's easy to fit in with these guys," he said. "This is my first day and I feel it already."

What he also feels is the same promising vibe Victor Martinez feels in his return from a year-long knee injury; and that Brayan Pena feels in joining the Tigers as a backup catcher.

Remember, it was Pena who looked around and labeled the Tigers a dream team when he saw the names on the lockers.

It's why the newcomers, as well as the not so new, are eager to get started in earnest.

"You want high expectations," Hunter said. "That's good. It means you have a really good ballclub. But this club was already great. All it had to do was to add some pieces, and I'm one of those pieces."

The Tigers pursued Hunter as a free agent for the very reasons they are glad to have him: for the defensive stability he will provide in right and for the many complexities he's shown he can master as the No. 2 hitter.

"You can't hit second, thinking fifth," he said. "It's a totally different approach.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130215/SPORTS0104/302150332#ixzz2KyvX87ff