Notes: Verlander visits White House
Right-hander meets with President Bush in Oval Office
WASHINGTON -- Justin Verlander's no-hitter didn't go unnoticed in the nation's capital. It was even watched by the Commander-in-Chief.
President George W. Bush hosted Verlander in the White House's Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon. The two talked for about 20 minutes, with the main topic of conversation being baseball.
"I was very nervous before I went in there," Verlander said. "I mean, you're visiting the President in the Oval Office. But he was a very personable guy, and it was a very natural conversation."
The nation's leader is also a huge baseball fan, dating back to the days when he owned the Texas Rangers. He spoke knowledgeably with Verlander about several members of the Tigers, and congratulated the pitcher on his no-hitter, saying that he was able to watch portions of the game.
He also asked about the current Tigers who were part of his Texas team, including Kenny Rogers and Ivan Rodriguez.
"He's a huge baseball fan," Verlander said. "He really knew who everybody was. We talked about baseball and about our team, and he knew pretty much everybody on the team."
The afternoon visit began with Verlander eating lunch with a friend of his in the White House mess hall. He said the food was prepared by one of the White House chefs, and was "unbelievable."
From there, it had been arranged for him to meet with the President in his office.
"We went in, he talked a little bit about the Oval Office, some of the history and the paintings and the desk he has," Verlander said.
Verlander received a few souvenirs from the day, including a photo of him and the president, a tie clip and golf balls with the presidential seal.
Casey's big night: Sean Casey can go back to his routine of regularly hitting home runs, now that he got his first one out of the way Tuesday night.
He described the home run as "legit" because it was hit in spacious RFK Stadium, and said that in recent weeks he had been thinking of the pitches that he hit hard but hadn't quite gone over, including one in Boston and one in Kansas City.
"Against the Royals, I smashed one to center, and [David] DeJesus tracked it down," Casey said. "I thought, 'Oh, man.'"
Marcus Thames also joined the home run party Tuesday with his second in two days.
"I don't get to the plate that much, so I just make sure that in a game I'm going to be ready," Thames said. "I go into the batting cage and hit all the time."
On the farm: Triple-A Toledo right-hander Ron Chiavacci has won each of his last five outings, including a 1.53 ERA during that time.
The season also began at the low A and Rookie League level yesterday, with the Oneonta Tigers losing, 3-2, in Lowell in the first low A game, and the Gulf Coast League Tigers losing, 9-6, to the Phillies in the Rookie League.
Coming up: Detroit has an off-day Thursday before playing three Interleague games in Atlanta. Kenny Rogers will start his season on Friday against Braves right-hander John Smoltz. First pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.