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Tigers brave the elements in chilly Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS -- The good news for the Tigers as they dealt with the cold weather in the Twin Cities on Monday was that the visiting dugout at Target Field features heated benches. For those on the bench, or for hitters waiting their turn in the top half of the inning, it was nice and toasty.

Other than that, well, it was still cold.

"I know [Opening Day starter Justin] Verlander was talking yesterday how he likes to pitch in short sleeves," manager Jim Leyland said on Monday. "He was debating yesterday whether to wear long sleeves or not. I'm going to have long sleeves on myself."

With game-time temperature at 34 degrees, Verlander did end up wearing long sleeves. So did the vast majority of Tigers players, some of whom also sported cold-weather headgear. The notable exception was designated hitter Victor Martinez, who wore short sleeves. Of course, he could go into the clubhouse between at-bats.

"I was sitting in short sleeves until about 10 minutes before the game, and I asked a couple guys after they came in from BP," Verlander said. "Once I went out and warmed up, though, when I was warming up in the sun, I was like, "You know, I could've come out in short sleeves. This isn't that bad.' As soon as the shade came in, it was a totally different ballgame. It was miserable."

It was a potentially tougher situation for relievers in the bullpen, where there isn't a dugout. The bullpen location in left-center means there was at least some sunshine through the early innings, but the pitchers were still out in the elements.

"We're going to have to pull the sun a little farther down," Joaquin Benoit said.

While first-base coach Rafael Belliard had his head covered, third-base coach Tom Brookens wasn't sweating it, having learned a long time ago just to dress in layers.

"It's like hunting weather," Brookens said.

Reliever Phil Coke was only hunting for his hotel room. "I was very cold out there. Everybody who threw or played in the game is probably going to pass out when they go back to the hotel," said Coke. Asked how he kept warm in the bullpen, Coke replied, ""Happy thoughts. Warm, happy thoughts."

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.
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