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Dontrelle Willis admits to 'serious lack of confidence'

Jan 24, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT

Dontrelle Willis headshot.jpgThe Tigers’ medical staff called it an anxiety disorder, but Dontrelle Willis told Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press that was he suffering from something he calls a “serious lack of confidence.” Whatever the diagnosis, Willis was so unsure of his ability to find the strike zone that there were occasions last season when he was afraid of taking the mound.

Willis signed a three-year, $28 million contract with the Tigers before even throwing his first pitch with the team, but is just 1-6 with an 8.27 ERA and 35/63 K/BB ratio over the past two seasons. He’s confident that his time at the Athletes’ Performance Institute in Arizona this off-season will at least prepare him with a fresh mental approach on the mound.

“I guess you can only beat yourself down so much. My mind-set was in
the wrong place (last year). This is a backyard game. If you’re not
having fun, then what’s the point? I think you’re going to see a
different person this year.”

With Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Jeremy Bonderman virtually assured of the first four spots in the rotation, Willis is expected to battle it out with Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga to be the team’s No. 5 starter. Nobody expects him to regain his 2005 form, but seeing his smile back on a major league mound every fifth day would be a nice step forward.

  1. Sam - Jan 24, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Willis ought to consider going down the Rick Ankiel/Adam Loewen path and just quit pitching.

  2. otto - Jan 25, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    During his time with The Marlins, Dontrelle was the best hitting pitcher on the staff. He made several pinch-hit appearnces. He has the skills to take the Ankiel route back to the ML, but he is older now than Ankile was when he switched.

  3. ronjon - Jan 25, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    Clear the Mechanism – worked for Billy Chapel.

  4. Eleanora Ransdell - Jan 27, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never seem to get something done.

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