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Weaver back where it began

The Baltimore Sun

DETROIT -- It has not exactly been a warm homecoming for St. Louis Cardinals starter Jeff Weaver in his return to the city where he began his big league career.

At least there are no good vibes for Weaver emanating from Detroit closer Todd Jones, Weaver's former Tigers teammate from 1999 to 2001.

Jones told The Detroit News for yesterday's editions that Weaver "was a good pitcher who never really panned out here. Maybe he found a home in St. Louis, but there's no love lost here that he's gone." He also said, "I am not a big advocate of his, and I wasn't a big advocate of his when he was here."

Weaver, who starts tonight's Game 2 of the World Series against the Tigers, pitched with Detroit for 3 1/2 seasons until he was traded to the New York Yankees in 2002. He had a reputation when he was younger for not taking pitching seriously.

When asked about the comments yesterday, Weaver said he hadn't read the paper and he suggested that maybe the comments "got twisted."

"Todd Jones is one of the nicest guys I've ever run across," Weaver said. "If he's got unkind words for me I don't know what they're stemming from. And it's the World Series, maybe he's just trying to get a little jab in here or there. ... I've got nothing but good things to say about him."

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, however, took offense to Jones' comments.

"I was disappointed because to me comments like those should be addressed privately among teammates or ex-teammates," La Russa said. "To air them publicly I thought was a disappointment."

La Russa said he only comes to the defense of players he thinks deserve it. And Weaver is one of those.

"What Jeff Weaver has done for us, we're real supportive, protective, whatever it is," La Russa said. "And those comments upset me."

Rogers sticks with emotions

Kenny Rogers has started a World Series just once in his 17-year career, in 1996 when he was with the New York Yankees and gave up five runs in just two innings against the Atlanta Braves.

That's when his reputation as a poor playoff pitcher began to cement. But this postseason Rogers, 41, has thrown 15 scoreless innings and won two games. He's done it while pumping his fist, talking to himself and overall being much more emotional than he ever had on the mound. He said it wasn't a planned strategy, but the new persona is working.

"The adrenaline level was there and, for whatever reasons, I used it instead of trying to suppress it and control it," Rogers said. "I just used it to help me. And I think I benefit from it, without a doubt."

He pitches tonight's Game 2 and will pitch again in Game 6 here, if necessary.

Third time's the charm

The Tigers and Cardinals have met two other times in the 102 years of the World Series. They split the other two, with each going seven games. The Cardinals won in 1934, with brothers Dizzy and Paul Dean getting all four wins for the Cardinals. The Tigers won in 1968, coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Mickey Lolich got three of Detroit's four wins.

Around the horn

Sean Casey (calf) started at designated hitter last night, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Casey will likely be the DH again tonight before switching back to first base Tuesday in St. Louis. ... The Cardinals' 17 World Series appearances are tied for third most with the Giants (New York and San Francisco). The New York Yankees have the most at 39 and the Dodgers (Brooklyn and Los Angeles) are second with 18.

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