"All my years against the White Sox with the Twins and with the Angels, these guys always have been competitive," said Hunter during a recent interview. "I haven't seen these guys this way in my career.
"They always have been a thorn in my side. We have to fight these guys. Battle these guys. For years, they tried to take over first place from behind us. So, I've never seen these guys this way and I don't know what it is. I can't put a finger on it."
Hunter was strongly pursued by the White Sox as a free agent prior to the 2008 campaign before he agreed to a five-year deal with the Angels. He seems to be a perfect fit with the American League Central-leading Tigers but still holds some affinity for the White Sox and their man in charge.
"When I see [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf], he's such a nice man and I've known him since I was with Minnesota as a kid," Hunter said. "I always shake his hand and tell him I respect him. I would have loved to play for him, but it didn't work out."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.