Farnsworth adjusting to being a Tiger
With trade shock worn off, reliever ready to fill any role in 'pen
ST. PETERSBURG -- There is no getting around how badly the Tigers' bullpen needed an arm like Kyle Farnsworth's.
Still, the warm handshakes and welcome hugs Farnsworth was greeted with by his new team on Friday afternoon, was a much-appreciated sentiment.
Particularly, given the hurler's previous 48 hours.
Farnsworth was acquired on Wednesday in a straight-up trade with the Yankees, in which Detroit forked over future Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
Following the deal, Farnsworth packed up what he could fit from his New Jersey apartment into his truck and headed down the East Coast. He estimated he drove until around 1 a.m. on Thursday before stopping to get a few hours rest and finally arriving at his Orlando, Fla., home at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.
Farnsworth joined the Tigers on Friday afternoon to open a three-game series against Tampa Bay, and although admittedly tired, he said some of the initial trade shock had finally begun to "set in" during his long drive.
It helps that Detroit isn't completely unfamiliar terrain, as Farnsworth was a key component for the 2005 Tigers squad and much of that team still remains.
"You never know what's going to happen, that's for sure," he said of his initial surprise in Wednesday's trade. "I'm glad to see a lot of the guys and hopefully they are glad to see me."
If nothing else, the Tigers should be thrilled by his numbers.
Farnsworth was 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA with New York this year, and has allowed 43 hits -- with 43 strikeouts -- in 44 1/3 innings of work. July was his strongest month this season, as Farnsworth held opponents to two runs on four hits over 8 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts.
His key to success on the highly-pressurized stage of Yankee Stadium?
"Just trusting my stuff," he said. "Go out there and try to have fun."
It is the same mantra Farnsworth brings to a beleaguered Tigers bullpen.
With Todd Jones placed on the 15-day disabled list (right shoulder tendinitis) on Thursday, and Joel Zumaya (right triceps tightness), and Fernando Rodney (right shoulder tendinitis) being used cautiously after previous stints on the DL, Detroit's 'pen has worn thin and will look for Farnsworth to help shore up the late innings.
While the right-hander said he spoke with Jim Leyland upon his arrival on Friday, for now the Tigers don't have a specific role in mind for Farnsworth.
As a jack-of-all-trades in the bullpen, Farnsworth said he would "do whatever he needs me to," even joking that he would start if the Tigers' skipper dictated it.
Given his recent lack of sleep that probably wouldn't be a safe bet.
Neither was discussing Farnsworth's role with the Tigers beyond 2008.
"I'm not worried about that," Farnsworth said. "My main focus is helping this team win and getting to the playoffs."
Farnsworth added that he would be made available out of the 'pen for Friday night's opener vs. the American League East-leading Rays.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.