"When he signed up here, he had this in mind. He wanted to start something, and he did," Desmond added. "He's got a stamp on this organization forever and I'm forever indebted to him, and I think D.C. will be also."
Howard will throw out the first pitch Thursday. He played for the Washington Senators from 1965-71, hitting 44 or more homers in three consecutive seasons during that span.
A PRINCE, INDEED: Wherever, however, the Tigers found the money to pay slugger Prince Fielder's hefty salary for nearly the next decade, Jim Leyland has no idea.
And the Detroit manager doesn't much care — Leyland is writing him into the lineup each day now. Fielder is doing his thing to get Detroit back to a second straight AL championship series.
Still, hearing that $214 million, nine-year number caught Leyland's attention, all right.
"The first thing I thought was that we found a whole bunch of money in a short period of time, because we couldn't even sign a relief pitcher for a million dollars about a week before that," Leyland said Tuesday before Game 3 in Oakland. "So, evidently we sold a lot of Little Caesars in a short period of time. And I'm damn glad we did. But it was amazing."
Tigers owner Mike Ilitch is the Little Caesars pizza mogul.
With Fielder as the cleanup hitter following Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera in the No. 3 spot, the Tigers have one of the most feared middle-of-the-order tandems out there.
It's a big risk to pitch around both of them, too.
"It's not an easy task," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You look at the numbers and they both have knocked in over a hundred runs and both of them hit 30-plus homers, so somebody is pitching to them. ... There are times you can't pitch around those guys and you have to go after them."
THAT WAS FAST: If there was any sort of silver lining to be found for the Nationals after they lost Game 2 of their NLDS against St. Louis by a 12-4 score, perhaps it was the opportunity to get to see several relievers.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia lasted only two innings — the lefty was replaced on the roster Tuesday because he has a strained rotator cuff and inflammation in his throwing shoulder — so St. Louis needed five members of the bullpen to get through the game.
The one who made the biggest impression? Trevor Rosenthal.
He struck out three batters in the ninth, topping 100 mph.
"Rosenthal came in throwing 101 last night. That's absolute 'fuego,'" Washington's Bryce Harper said. "If you guys want to step in the box, you guys can go ahead."
Said Adam LaRoche: "A mop-up guy that throws 100? We were saying: 'Where do they get these guys? You're kidding me.'"