Jim Leyland couldn't attend Torii Hunter's introductory news conference at Comerica Park last month. He got his chance to chime in Monday.

And Leyland made this perfectly clear:

Hunter wasn't brought in to be some de facto coach, helping the younger players — even if that's something that Hunter does naturally, while producing at the plate.

"I think Torii Hunter is the type of guy who can help all players, if players are willing to listen," Leyland said Monday afternoon in the Tigers suite high atop the Opryland Resort & Conference Center. "But that's not going to be an assignment for him. I think he's one of those guys where it's just natural."

Hunter, the veteran outfielder who got a two-year, $26 million deal from the Tigers, talked at length recently about how he can help teach the young guys, particularly center fielder Austin Jackson. Hunter won nine Gold Gloves playing center; he's now a right fielder.

"That will just happen," Leyland said, pointing out Hunter commands "instant respect." "But I don't think it's something you ask him to do."

Bottom line: The Tigers brought Hunter to town for his hitting, defense and athleticism.

His leadership qualities, well, those are an added bonus.

"We definitely have a two-way player, and the more two-way players you get, it's definitely better for the manager," said Leyland, who's had several conversations in the lobby with baseball folks who'd hoped to get Hunter on their team. "We felt we were very, very fortunate he wanted to play Detroit."

Leyland confirmed Hunter, 37, will be slotted into the No. 2 spot in the order, between Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera. Hunter did well in the same spot in 2012 with the Angels between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

That said, Leyland didn't want to commit to that being the law of the land. Andy Dirks, the presumed starting left fielder, hit .336 with a .375 on-base percentage against right-handers last season.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121204/SPORTS0104/212040357#ixzz2E5zJuAl7