Port St. Lucie, Fla. — Like sands through the hourglass …
The Tigers play their last home game two weeks from today, and suddenly, the time they have had to make all their decisions, most of which haven't been made, is beginning to dwindle.
In other words, the start of the season is rushing forward.
That's often the feeling a manager gets when the middle of March arrives, but this year it's more than ever for Jim Leyland.
He still doesn't know who his closer is going to be.
He still doesn't know who his fifth starter is going to be.
He still doesn't know who will be used in left when Andy Dirks doesn't play against an especially tough left-hander.
"It's kind of a funny thing," Leyland said. "You sit there thinking we have quite a bit of time, then all of a sudden you blink your eye and it's here.
"You have to be careful about that. You can't leave any stones unturned because it will be here before you know it."
What will be here before he knows it?
The decision about a closer, for one thing.
"We have a plan right now with (Bruce) Rondon for the next few times," Leyland said. "If you sit back and don't do anything, suddenly Opening Day is here, and you're saying, 'Maybe we should have done something a little bit different.'"
Verlander gets a 'cookie'
Justin Verlander won't make the long trip to Jupiter on Saturday to face the Cardinals.
He'll make the short walk across the street in Lakeland to pitch for Toledo against Syracuse.
"Everybody makes a big deal about stuff like that," Leyland said. "But every once in a while, when you get a chance to toss one of your guys a cookie, you do it."
Leyland said the Tigers plan to give Shawn Hill a look against the Cardinals.