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 Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired

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PostSubject: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:16 pm

Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired
by Steve Kornacki
Saturday January 24, 2009, 7:00 PM

DETROIT -- Kenny Rogers still has not made an official announcement in regard to whether he wants to pitch this season at age 44.

But new Detroit Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp, a long-time minor league teammate of Rogers in the Texas Rangers organization, has spoken with Rogers and knows his intentions.

"He's retired," Knapp said Saturday, breaking into a smile. "His wife says that he's retired. Kenny and I go way back."


Knapp rattled off the cities they pitched in together: Sarasota, Fla., Burlington, Iowa; Salem, Va., and Tulsa, Okla. Both were low-round draft picks. Knapp never reached the majors as a pitcher, but Rogers has 219 wins to rank 18th all time among left-handers.

"We were Rookie League roommates," Knapp said. "Kenny was so skinny when we met. He was 17 and converting from playing outfield (at Plant City High in Florida)."

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has spoken with Rogers, but won't elaborate on their conversations.

"I'm not looking to add another starter right now," Dombrowski said. "In Kenny's case, it's tremendous what he's done for this organization. And at this point in time, he's not close to signing with anyone. I think he's in a position where he's content where he is."

Rogers won 29 games in three seasons with Detroit, going 17-8 in 2006 and 3-0 in the postseason without allowing an earned run in 23 innings. He won Game 2 of the World Series for Detroit's only victory against St. Louis in the Series.

Rogers has not returned several e-mail inquiries from Booth Newspapers in regard to whether he is officially retired.

Fans brave cold
The statues outside Comerica Park of the growling Tigers have snow on the tops of their heads, backs and hind legs. The largest cat even sports a custom-made Carhartt jacket. Fans coming to Saturday's TigerFest enjoyed posing with them for photos before going inside to get autographs and interact with the Tigers who play baseball.

The crowd of more than 8,500 didn't seem bothered by the frigid conditions.

"You see people standing outside waiting to get in and they are standing all the way down the street and around the corner," said new Detroit pitcher Edwin Jackson. "That says something."

Third baseman Brandon Inge said seeing the fans "gives me chills," and that had nothing to do with temperature readings in the teens.

Perry likely to start at Erie
Dombrowski expects last year's first-round pick, closer Ryan Perry, to pitch at Double-A Erie after spending the beginning of spring training in the major league camp.

He said, "When you see Perry, you are going to say, 'Wow.' "


Tigers done shopping?
Signing free agent relievers Brandon Lyon and Scott Williamson on Saturday could be the last significant offseason moves made by the Tigers unless a surprising trade is made.

"There were 170-some free agents," Dombrowski said, "and still over 100 free agents out there. That's a different kind of year. But I don't think we are going to actively be involved in that market."

He called the trade of two minor league pitchers to Texas for starting catcher Gerald Laird his "most significant" offseason move.

"We thought our No. 1 need was a catcher," said Dombrowski, who dealt future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez to the New York Yankees at the July trade deadline. "We like Dusty Ryan, but he's not ready at this point. Our top guy on our list was Gerald Laird. He can handle the staff and so some things offensively."

Dombrowski said the Tigers spoke about 25 times to the Rangers before making the deal a month ago at the winter meetings in Las Vegas.

Dombrowski likes Porcello
In describing starting pitcher Justin Verlander, Dombrowski paid a big compliment to the best pitching prospect in the organization, Rick Porcello:

"Verlander has an ability, a rare ability. A Verlander, a young Rick Porcello, those guys are hard to find."
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:18 pm

No surprise there.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:36 am

1/24/09 10:05 PM EST
Signs pointing to Rogers' retirement
Dombrowski, Knapp believe veteran left-hander will call it quits
By Jason Beck / MLB.com


DETROIT -- Just three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to most Spring Training camps, Kenny Rogers remains a free agent not only without a team, but without a clear intention whether he plans to play again. The way at least two Tigers officials were talking Saturday, Rogers might have called it career.
The 44-year-old left-hander has kept largely quiet this offseason, leaving e-mails and calls from reporters unanswered. Even Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he doesn't know Rogers' plans despite receiving a voicemail from Rogers recently to thank him for his time in Detroit and then trying to call him back. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski talked with Rogers last month, but isn't disclosing the nature of the conversation at Rogers' request.

Still, when asked about Rogers' status by a fan during a question-and-answer session at TigerFest on Saturday, Dombrowski hinted that Rogers is probably staying home.

"At this time, I don't think he's on the verge of signing with any club," Dombrowski said. "I think he's in a position where he's content where he is right now. But it's more up to him on what he decides to do with his life, and I don't know if he's made that decision 100 percent."

New Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp, a former teammate of Rogers in the Minor Leagues, sounded more definitive about it.

"He's retired," Knapp told Booth Newspapers. "His wife says that he's retired. Kenny and I go way back."

If that ends up being the case, Rogers will close out a 26-year professional career that took him from the strawberry fields of Plant City, Fla., as a skinny teenager to the World Series as a scoreless wonder.

Rogers spent 20 years in the Major Leagues, compiling a 219-156 record and a 4.27 ERA over three different stints with the Rangers and stops with the Yankees, Athletics, Mets, Tigers and Twins. Amazingly, nearly half of those wins came after age 35, as the former hard-throwing southpaw established himself as a savvy finesse pitcher with impeccable command.

In the process, he became a redemption tale.

Rogers came under scrutiny in 2005 following an incident in which he knocked a television camera off a cameraman's shoulder and kicked it on the ground. Rogers received a 20-game suspension for the incident, which was eventually appealed down to 13 games, as well as an assault charge that was later reduced following an anger management class.

Rogers made the American League All-Star team that year and was booed heartily when he entered the game, held that year at Detroit's Comerica Park. Five months later, the free agent made it his home park by signing with the Tigers, and played a major role in bringing a World Series berth.

Rogers, then 41, won 17 games in 2006 and became the veteran presence in a young Tigers rotation that blossomed to lead Detroit to the AL Wild Card and its first postseason berth since 1987. Topping that, however, he went on a historic postseason stretch by tossing 23 scoreless innings over three starts, including eight innings against the Cardinals in Game 2 of the World Series. He was the first pitcher over age 40 to start in a Fall Classic, a feat Curt Schilling would match a year later.


National attention came back to Rogers in that game when television cameras caught what looked like a smudge on his pitching hand during the early innings. Rogers wiped it off and went on to pitch his outing, then explained that it was a mixture of dirt and rosin.

Injuries, inconsistency and age hampered his two seasons since. He missed the first two-plus months of the 2007 season following surgery to repair a blocked artery in his pitching shoulder, then spent the final three-plus months of the season trying to catch up for lost time.

Rogers pitched a full season last year, but his performance left questions whether age had caught up with him. The 43-year-old went 9-13 with a 5.70 ERA, allowing 212 hits over 173 2/3 innings with 71 walks and 82 strikeouts. He had a 3-7 record and 7.93 ERA after the All-Star break, and made just two starts in September after his struggles and the return of Dontrelle Willis and Freddy Garcia left him out of the rotation.

Rogers ended the season uncertain about his future, and planned to take some time with his family to figure it out before coming to a decision. He did say, though, that any return would only be with Detroit. The Tigers have since moved on, adding Edwin Jackson to their rotation. Dombrowski said Saturday that they have no plans to add another starter, leaving their fifth spot open to competition among Zach Miner, Nate Robertson and Willis.

As for Rogers, no public announcement has been made, but Saturday's comments from Dombrowski and Knapp might well have revealed his choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:32 am

I hope they bring him back to Detroit, in the spring, for a goodbye celebration for his wonderful career.

We will miss that hard working presence you brought to our young pitching staff, Kenny.

It was told that when the guys were done, one day, that they saw Kenny out taking infield practice. The other younger pitchers wondered what the old guy was up to, and he told them -- working at being better at putting guys out on infield hits that came near him. The younger pitchers felt ashamed that here was an older player, trying to improve himself, when they just did the minimum needed, then went home.... so they started doing the same extra infield practice with him, so he did not show them up.

That is the makings of a great future coach! His desire influenced the others to improve themselves! They mentioned this incident during the 2006 WS game 2, that I recorded last night.

Thanks for your contribution to the Tigers Kenny!


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:09 am

I would love to see Kenny working with our pitching staff too! The young guys really could take him as an example. Work hard!
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers pitching coach: Kenny Rogers is retired   Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:39 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
I hope they bring him back to Detroit, in the spring, for a goodbye celebration for his wonderful career.

We will miss that hard working presence you brought to our young pitching staff, Kenny.

It was told that when the guys were done, one day, that they saw Kenny out taking infield practice. The other younger pitchers wondered what the old guy was up to, and he told them -- working at being better at putting guys out on infield hits that came near him. The younger pitchers felt ashamed that here was an older player, trying to improve himself, when they just did the minimum needed, then went home.... so they started doing the same extra infield practice with him, so he did not show them up.

That is the makings of a great future coach! His desire influenced the others to improve themselves! They mentioned this incident during the 2006 WS game 2, that I recorded last night.

Thanks for your contribution to the Tigers Kenny!



The Tigers should do it
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