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 Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS

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PostSubject: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:03 pm

Thursday, October 15, 2009
Offseason will be challenging for Tigers
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit --The more you look at it, the more you realize how immensely challenging the offseason will be for the Tigers.

"Similar to last winter, we'll have to make wise decisions," Tigers general manager and president Dave Dombrowski said.

Bargain-based decisions, in other words.

As for big-time free agents, no chance. In fact, it's difficult to see how the Tigers will have any extra money to spend this winter. Based on what they've already committed, and projections of salaries for players expected to return, their payroll already is at $119 million for 20 players.

That doesn't include Fernando Rodney, or an experienced (and costly) setup man like Brandon Lyon. It also doesn't include the return of Placido Polanco at second base.

There's a good chance, of course, none of the three will be back.

It does include, however, a $15 million increase in the contracts of only five players. Miguel Cabrera goes from $15 to $20 million; Carlos Guillen from $10 million to $13 million; Nate Robertson from $7 million to $10 million; and both Dontrelle Willis and Curtis Granderson get $2 million bumps.

Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson also are about to get huge increases, either through arbitration or long-term contracts.

Speaking of arbitration, that process alone could give the Tigers an all-time headache with eight players eligible: Verlander, Jackson, Gerald Laird, Bobby Seay, Zach Miner, Ramon Santiago, Joel Zumaya and Marcus Thames.

Rodney and Lyon are eligible for free agency, as are Adam Everett, Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff -- the last two being slam dunks not to return.

The elephant in the offseason room, of course, is the long-term contract the Tigers will offer, after his outstanding season, to Verlander -- one that could already be in the preliminary stages of coming together. The Tigers will want it to include at least his first year (2012) of eligibility for free agency.

"I don't want to get into talking about the possibility of long-term deals for any of our players," Dombrowski said, "but there's no question that we hope he's a Tiger for a long time."

A three-year contract is more likely, but if a fourth year is lucrative enough, Verlander could go for it. After taking a hit at the gate, however, the Tigers might not be in position to offer such a fourth year -- let alone anything Cabrera-like.

As for the 20 players included in the $119 million, that includes 10 pitchers (not factoring in Willis): Verlander, Jackson, Robertson, Zumaya, Jeremy Bonderman, Rick Porcello, Bobby Seay, Miner, Ryan Perry and Fu Te Ni. The Tigers were disappointed in Armando Galarraga, but his affordability also might keep him in the mix.

When asked last week if Perry is ready to assume a larger role in the bullpen, such as closer perhaps, Dombrowski said, "I don't know that. He has a chance but I don't know that for sure."

At second base, you can almost assuredly pencil in Scott Sizemore as Polanco's replacement because even more than major league ready, he'll be major league cheap.

It's also extremely difficult to see how Thames will be brought back as an extra outfielder.

Having Willis' $10 million on the books is far from ideal, of course, but as Dombrowski also said last week, the Tigers still are going to try to get something productive out of him. Without that $10 million, they'd obviously be in a better position to spend this winter.

Bottom line, though: Huge challenges dead ahead, unless the Tigers are willing to hike the payroll to more than $130 million.

tom.gage@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:32 am

Last Updated: November 11. 2009 1:07AM
Lynn Henning
Down market could aid Tigers

How quaint that Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco on Tuesday won his second Gold Glove.

Gold happens to be the color of the contract Polanco hopes to sign at some point this autumn as free agents begin to sign with new (or old) teams that make an offer glitzy athletes now on baseball's offseason auction block can't refuse.

But can the Tigers be that team? And will Polanco's status as a Type A free agent make it more likely he will end up in Detroit in 2010 on a one-year deal rather than with another club eager to sign him to a rich multi-year deal that he ideally wants?

Likewise, can the Tigers cajole two other free agents they would love to have back -- relief pitchers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon -- to stay put for one- or two-year deals the Tigers find affordable?

It depends. And it depends not only upon the cash available in what is increasingly appearing to be a tight market heading into the 2009-10 offseason, but whether clubs believe they can afford losing a valuable draft pick for signing a Type A free agent.

The Type A, Type B designations became official this week after Elias Sports Bureau statistically sorted out the two tiers of free agents.

To refresh memories, the designations follow a formula. The top 20 percent of players at a position during a two-season span (in this case 2008 and '09) are Type A free agents. A team signing a Type A must forfeit its first-round draft pick to the team that lost the Type A star (obviously Detroit in Polanco's case).

There's one qualifier. A team that finishes in the bottom half among all 30 big league clubs loses its second-round pick rather than the premier first-round choice.

Type B free agents carry no draft-day risk for the signing team. The acquiring team gets socked only for the money it's paying the new player. A team that loses a Type B free agent, meanwhile, gets a "sandwich" pick in the following year's draft between the first and second rounds. It's a kind of limbo area created by Major League Baseball, designed to cushion the blow for teams that lose an important contributor, which Type B talents like Rodney and Lyon certainly were for the Tigers last season.

This in great part is why the 2009-10 offseason stood all along to be an intriguing and potentially game-changing period for the Tigers.

Consider the three free agents who are either Type A or Type B (free agents Adam Everett, Jarrod Washburn, and Aubrey Huff did not make the A-B cut):

Placido Polanco

The Tigers would love to have him back, but only for 2010. Even if they're on the record saying Scott Sizemore is their new second baseman, the Tigers would be happy to sign Polanco to a one-year contract that they negotiate with him or, likely, one that the arbiter might award Polanco, 34.

That's the other qualifier in Type A-B issues -- a free agent must be offered arbitration before the team that loses him can earn a draft pick as compensation. Unlike a year ago, when Detroit couldn't afford to gamble and get stuck with Type A free agent Edgar Renteria, Polanco will get the arbitration offer Renteria never for a moment stood to get.

Best guess: Polanco's hitting skills and Gold Glove will earn him a two-year deal from some suitor, although, again, the marketplace is anything but certain as a nervous, cash-tight offseason gets under way.

Fernando Rodney

What timing! Rodney racked up 37 saves in his "walk" year when he was establishing his market value.

But maybe his timing wasn't so great, after all. There are other relievers on the free-agent block (Billy Wagner, Jose Valverde, Trenton native J.J. Putz). Other clubs are also aware that Rodney, in addition to 37 saves, also had a 4.40 ERA and a scary WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) of 1.467.

By contrast, Mariano Rivera of the Yankees had an 0.905 WHIP and Joe Nathan of the Twins had an 0.932. It confirms why Tigers fans had ongoing cardiac issues when Rodney pitched. And it might also explain why a pitcher who turns 33 in March might well end up with a better offer from the Tigers than he will earn from other clubs.
Brandon Lyon

He's 30, is coming off a fine 2009, and probably can pick up a handsome two-year offer from another club as a set-up man. That's Lyon's ideal role. The Tigers, who won't be in fiscal shape to spend $12 million or more for the contract it would take to hang onto Lyon, will more than likely watch him sign elsewhere.

Thus, they will roll the dice and hope to keep Rodney as their closer. They will wait and see what happens with Polanco and whether a soft market -- and that juicy draft pick a team will lose -- might push Polanco into a one-year deal with the Tigers.

But that's about as good as it figures to get in Detroit as players move closer to signing new deals. The Tigers are a percentage bet to sign only one of the three, with Rodney the most likely to stay put.

lynn.henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:10 pm

Last Updated: November 13. 2009 12:57PM
Lynn Henning
Tigers altering their business model

All those who believe payroll is driving the Tigers' steadily hotter trade talks are bang-on with their logic.

But it's more complicated, and more interesting, than a matter of money.

It's about crafting a contender deep into the next decade. And the Tigers, rightly it seems, are banking that melding new talent from trades of Curtis Granderson, Edwin Jackson, etc., with their own fresh crop of farm prospects will craft a new, long-term contender, at a far more sensible price.

All the commotion will shake out between now and during what could be a rough 2010 transition season. In the meantime, the Tigers won't mind trimming a salary or two ahead of the Godzilla-sized contract obligations they will jettison after the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has almost certainly not told his front-office boss, Dave Dombrowski, to slash payroll. That's because Ilitch never has ordered any fire sales with the Red Wings or with the Tigers. And even with business tough and various Tigers contracts even tougher, he will not order Dombrowski to make bad deals to save money.

But what he will abide is what the Tigers are now apparently prepared to embrace: smart trades that will make this team more affordable in the near and long-term, and more competitive into the next decade.

It's why some of us thought all along Granderson would need to at least be discussed as trade bait this offseason. He was at relatively peak value with an absorbable contract. The Tigers have multiple needs that could become more multiple as a trio of free agents -- Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon -- move closer to perhaps playing elsewhere.

Trading Granderson figured to be a difficult, but necessary, way to add net value.

The Tigers also are closing in on promoting new pitchers and position players from their farm system. Casey Crosby probably will be in the starting rotation in 2011, maybe sooner. Another left-handed starter, Andy Oliver, will be at the doorstep, as well.

Casper Wells could emerge next spring as their new center fielder. Ryan Strieby and Brennan Boesch could be the new corner outfielders by 2011.

The Tigers by then likely will need a new shortstop and third baseman to assist their newly anointed second baseman, Scott Sizemore. Guess what flavor of position players will be involved in any major deals by the Tigers? Figure on a shortstop, for sure.

Tough decisions

As anticipated, the Tigers have plenty of clubs interested in Granderson and Jackson. And it's hardly a surprise the Yankees and Cubs probably lead the list.

At age 26 and with a Howitzer for an arm, Jackson will be looked at as a top-of-the-rotation heavyweight. Any contender will consider him money in the bank, which is nice, given that they'll probably need to fork over a fair slice of that bank account when Jackson and agent Scott Boras hit free agency in two years.

The Tigers need a right-handed starter of Jackson's caliber as badly as a team like the Yankees. But not when the Tigers need primarily to take care of Justin Verlander, whom they have a reasonably good chance of signing to a long extension in 2010.

Jackson becomes problematic for the Tigers because, unlike most agents, Boras doesn't go for extensions before free agency. It would conceivably leave the Tigers a lame-duck pitcher heading into 2011 whose trade value would steadily decrease as he moves closer to the free market.

Dombrowski can't gamble there.

Learning from mistakes

What Dombrowski can do is to get busy manufacturing a new team, with Verlander and Rick Porcello as its pitching pillars.

A general manager learned his lesson about bad contracts, as did Ilitch. You can build a contender for less money by acquiring young talent and letting it coalesce as it approaches its prime.

That's the thinking behind the seemingly imminent trades of Granderson, Jackson and maybe a handful of other Tigers. Anyone who thought this offseason was going to be quiet on the Comerica Park front should remember that fireworks aren't only for July.

lynn.henning@detnews.com (313) 222-2472


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:50 am

Last Updated: November 14. 2009 1:57AM
Bob Wojnowski
Tigers shouldn't trade Curtis Granderson

I understand the economics around here, and I understand the nature of baseball. The Tigers have some tough decisions this offseason.

But if they're really thinking about trading All-Stars Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, I think they're nuts.

General manager Dave Dombrowski would be creating two huge holes in the pursuit of, well, what? Cost-cutting? Not really, not a lot. Improving the roster? Not short-term, not likely.

Speculation often swirls this time of year, and that's fine. Dombrowski might merely be sniffing for a too-good-to-be-true deal, hoping to fleece the Yankees or Cubs out of top prospects. But if this is part of some new long-term direction by the Tigers, it makes no sense to me.

Owner Mike Ilitch has spent admirably, sometimes recklessly. His hunger to win is indisputable, evidenced by the fateful late-season acquisitions of Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff. Ilitch has signed off on lucrative deals that now hamper the Tigers, but he can't suddenly swing the other way and punch fans in the gut by dealing two of the team's better, younger, more popular players.

I know attendance dropped nearly 25 percent this season, but the Tigers still finished fourth in the American League at more than 2.5 million, solid considering the economy and the sometimes-dreary lineup.

Reasonable deals

Granderson, 28, is a center fielder in his prime, and while he needs to hit better than .249 (and much better than .183 against lefties), he provides power, speed, defense and fan flair. And he's owed a reasonable $23.75 million the next three years.

Jackson, 26, is a right-hander who was superb the first half of the season, not nearly so hot after that. Still, he finished with a 13-9 record and 3.62 ERA, and he has exactly the mix of promise and hard-throwing talent every team craves. He could draw big money as a free agent after next season, but the Tigers knew that when they acquired him. Heck, let him earn it here.

Nobody appreciates young pitching more than Dombrowski, who's building around Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. Why would he even consider trading a strong arm, especially with no obvious replacement, and with a batting order that figures to remain spotty?

If the Tigers truly are interested in a big deal that would save dough, Miguel Cabrera is the guy to shop. Of course, the market is much narrower for a slugging first baseman with a huge contract who had a troubling alcohol-related incident late in the season.

Clearing the books

The Tigers cannot afford to step back next year, and I don't understand why they think they should. Ilitch has not gotten sufficient return on his $115 million payroll investment, true enough, but the salary issue partly will resolve itself after next season, when the fat blessedly starts melting away. Bloated contracts for Nate Robertson ($10 million in 2010), Dontrelle Willis ($12 million) and Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5 million) will be gone. Barring another contract-clause kicker, Magglio Ordonez's $18 million will be gone.

We can second-guess the wisdom of allowing Ordonez to get the necessary at-bats to land another year, sure. But I'm sorry, at a time when the lineup was falling apart, Ordonez hit a blistering .375 the second half, even though his power was way down.

The Tigers and Dombrowski were short-sighted with contracts a few years ago, no doubt. Should they be more prudent this offseason? Yep.

Should they dump popular players in their prime to compensate for past mistakes, which might compound those mistakes? No way.

bob.wojnowski@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:38 am

Last Updated: December 09. 2009 1:12AM
Bob Wojnowski
Prospects are not enough for Tigers

The Tigers can call it whatever they want, but this is a salary dump for a batch of prospects, and from that standpoint, it stinks.

Yes, it reflects a sobering reality of the economy in Detroit. But the Tigers have spent freely in recent years and it just bit them -- hard.

General manager Dave Dombrowski took the huge risk Tuesday that might define his reputation here, trading two popular All-Stars, Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson, pending physicals and final approval. In a three-team blockbuster, the Tigers officially signaled what they've been hinting since the season ended. They got four players from the Yankees and Diamondbacks that all have two traits in common -- young and cheap.

There are promising prospects, for sure, but there's a troubling reality, too. If Max Scherzer, the 25-year-old right-hander from Arizona, and Austin Jackson, the 22-year-old swift center fielder from New York, develop as hoped, you know what that means? It means maybe they become Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson.

The Tigers were an aging team with limited flexibility, so a youthful infusion was needed. I understand that. But if you're trading two All-Stars still in their primes, shouldn't you at least get one -- ONE! -- top-flight major-leaguer in return?

Scherzer could be that guy, but not yet. He throws hard but was 9-15 in two seasons in Arizona. Austin Jackson is raw, and who knows if he can fill a now-gaping hole in the Tigers' already-poor defensive outfield.

Financial concerns

It's too bad, because while attempting to take a leap into the future, the Tigers took a wobbly short-term step backward -- while requesting a leap of faith from the public. If he's being completely honest, Dombrowski will admit money forced his hand. To be fair, nobody could have foreseen the economic calamity. But don't forget, the Tigers' financial difficulties were magnified by Dombrowski's big mistakes, doling out bloated contracts for Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Guillen and others.

The puzzler is, the Tigers only had to wait one more season before gaudy deals -- including those for Jeremy Bonderman and Magglio Ordonez -- fell off the books, shaving about $52 million instantly. If Ordonez hadn't achieved his $18-million contract kicker for next season, maybe this wouldn't have been necessary. But you can't blame Jim Leyland for using a hitter when he desperately needed one.

It's hard to believe it was only three years ago the Tigers were in the World Series and hungering for more. Owner Mike Ilitch was willing to pay for consistent contention, but ultimately, the Tigers chose poorly. And while I think it's a shame the team is reversing course, I understand why Ilitch would be disgusted with no postseason return on his $115-million payroll investment.

Now, if you're a Tigers fan, what do you have to count on? Miguel Cabrera with his enormous talent and questions; Justin Verlander with his enormous talent and confidence; and Rick Porcello with his enormous talent and potential.

Beyond that? Not a whole lot of guarantees. You have to lean on the prospect-evaluation skills of Dombrowski and his scouts, and doubts are rising.

Players have potential

Maybe Austin Jackson becomes the speedy center fielder the Tigers must have in Comerica Park. He hit .300 in the minors, with very little power. In the meantime, Granderson will be roaming center field for the dastardly Yankees, hitting 35-plus home runs and probably becoming an even bigger star.

Scherzer and the two lefthanders -- Phil Coke, 27, and Daniel Schlereth, 23 -- are hard throwers, and that's intriguing. And none will cost what Granderson was earning (an average of $8 million per season), and what Edwin Jackson was likely to earn in a couple of years.

The rest of baseball knew what the Tigers were facing, which is why Dombrowski tried hard not to brand it a fire sale. By the time it happened, no one was shocked, and considering the circumstance, many pundits think the Tigers made a decent deal. Granderson, 28, did hit miserably against lefties and struck out too often, and Jackson, 26, had a weak second half.

Still, I'm disappointed the Tigers didn't get more immediate help. No, they weren't poised for a World Series run, but they did go 86-77, missed the playoffs by one game and drew more than 2.5 million fans. Now they're willing (or forced) to back off, for whatever reason.

Gone are Granderson, Jackson and Placido Polanco, who signed with the Phillies. Gone is the (apparently misguided) notion the Tigers could compete financially with baseball's elite. They'll have to compete another way, with young pitchers who throw hard and players who don't cost as much.

I get the strategy and the reality. I still think it's a dangerous path, and it's unfortunate the Tigers felt compelled to take it.

bob.wojnowski@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:39 pm

Last Updated: March 14. 2010 1:00AM
Porcello, Jackson star in Tigers' exhibiton victory
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- In one of those mixed bags that the Grapefruit League so often serves up, the Tigers could live with their sweet and sour combination Sunday at Marchant Stadium, where they beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-6.

On the sweet side for manager Jim Leyland's team was starter Rick Porcello, who threw a typically in-command four innings, allowing two hits and no runs. Also figuring big Sunday was center fielder Austin Jackson, who kept up the torrid stuff with two triples and a single.

On the not-so-good end was a bad seventh inning that saw relievers Daniel Schlereth and Joel Zumaya get blasted for five runs, including a pair of home runs, which turned a 4-1 Tigers lead into a 6-4 Tampa Bay lead.

But the Tigers came back with four runs in their own half of the seventh, with Jackson's triple, and Brennan Boesch's double the big hits.

The Tigers added two more in the eighth on a two-run single by back-up catcher Robinzon Diaz.

Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, Eddie Bonine and Robbie Weinhardt also pitched for the Tigers, with Coke allowing the only run of the three, a home run by John Jaso.

The Tigers raised their Grapefruit League record to 6-6 on a day when the Tigers-Rays drew the fourth-largest crowd in Marchant Stadium history, 9,671.

lynn.henning@detnews.com

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100314/SPORTS0104/3140323/1129/sports0104/Porcello--Jackson-star-in-Tigers--exhibiton-victory#ixzz0iINR0hvP


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:43 pm

Last Updated: March 15. 2010 3:42PM
Tigers: Notebook
Jim Leyland touched by several Tigers' attitudes
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- He heard what three of his pitchers had to say Saturday, and that impressed Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, and Nate Robertson -- three starters who will not all make the 2010 rotation; one or two might not even make the team -- all were pulling for each other during Saturday's victory over the Yankees in which all three pitched.

"To see Dontrelle, Nate and myself all throwing well, that's good to know," Bonderman said, using words that were essentially repeated by Willis and Robertson.

Bonderman added, revealingly: "We're not always going to be together."

That three men competing for jobs would so openly care about each other struck Leyland, who also was impressed with the way veterans such as Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez accepted a long bus ride to Port St. Lucie on Saturday for a split-squad game.

"I'm proud of the way our guys are handling the situation with what could be a touchy situation," Leyland said Sunday, before the Tigers' 9-6 victory over the Rays, referring mostly to the starting pitchers who were openly rooting for each other Saturday.

"It makes it a lot easier on me," he said, hinting at some tough farewells that could be in the forecast. "I think it's helping them, too."

Leyland already has said starters who don't make his rotation are not guaranteed a place in the bullpen. In fact, it's probable the Tigers will release one of their heavily paid starters -- Bonderman makes $12.5 million in 2010, Willis $12 million and Robertson $10 million -- if they don't figure in the team's 2010 rotation plans.

Comeback kid

Jeff Larish's 2009 season was not exactly scrapbook stuff. He developed a wrist problem in June that led to surgery in August. The fact he played for portions of two months with torn cartilage in his right wrist and a bone chip in his middle finger would explain why he had only six home runs and 26 RBIs for Triple-A Toledo after playing in 32 games for the Tigers.

Larish, 27, lost his place on the 40-man roster this winter, although it was anything but a demotion for a player who simply became the most expendable when the Tigers added offseason players.

Larish had a walk and a two-run single Sunday. He is hitting .429 in Grapefruit League games.

"He's quietly having a good spring," Leyland said of the left-handed hitter who can play first base, third base. He filled in at third Sunday after Brandon Inge left the game. "Early on, he was probably a little confused (about his non-roster status)."

Leyland told Larish during a conversation early in camp to just play his game and pay no attention to roster numbers.

The chat helped, said Larish, a fifth-round pick by the Tigers in 2005: "Definitely, when someone in his position tells you that, it relaxes you more."

"I like Jeff Larish, I always have," Leyland said. "He works hard. He's quietly having a good spring. I'm happy for him."

Rave reviews

The Tigers spurred some interesting national discussion last week, as reported by Buster Olney of ESPN.com.

Olney wrote: "Some scouts who have seen the Tigers are walking away stunned by the number of power arms Detroit has accumulated. 'That's the best group I've seen in awhile,' one evaluator said after a couple of days of watching the Tigers.

"Justin Verlander has some of the game's best power stuff, and so do Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer, Joel Zumaya, Ryan Perry, Jose Valverde and Daniel Schlereth. And there are some hard throwers coming down the line, including Jacob Turner.

"We still don't know how much the Tigers are going to hit. But scouts already are seeing the makings of what could be a strong pitching staff."


lynn.henning@detnews.com (313) 222-2472

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100315/SPORTS0104/3150352/1129/sports0104/Jim-Leyland-touched-by-several-Tigers--attitudes#ixzz0iIOboEIn


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:15 pm

Last Updated: March 15. 2010 7:37PM
Tigers: Notebook
Tigers offense has been better than advertised
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. -- Some from the Tigers' nervous fan base thought the team's bats would be about as sturdy as linguine.

But so far, the bats have been just fine, as they were again Monday in a 10-7 triumph over the Blue Jays at Marchant Stadium. Miguel Cabrera, Scott Sizemore and outfield prospect Brennan Boesch all blasted home runs as part of a 14-hit assault.

Cabrera also slammed a double and is batting .344 in the Grapefruit League season. Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-3, but still is batting .391. Johnny Damon is at .318, Ryan Raburn is hitting .500 and a slew of prospects and players who might yet contend for jobs this year have been doing just fine.

Casper Wells, who started in center field, had a double, single and a sacrifice fly and is batting .389. Jeff Larish had a big RBI single and is at .438. Boesch, who had a double Sunday, narrowly missing a home run, followed up with a home run and a walk Monday.

Sizemore added a single and drove another pitch deep to center that was caught.

"He looked good," Leyland said of a rookie second baseman who has recovered completely from last autumn's surgery for a fractured lower left leg.

"The trainer told me today he was going to take him off the injury report."


Boesch's blast

It was another cool, windy day in Lakeland, with a gale-strength wind that blew dead to right field. Boesch, a left-handed hitter, didn't need any help on his home run, a tremendous blast that bounced off the roof of the indoor batting cages.

"That's a home run anywhere," Leyland said.

Boesch turns 25 next month and played last year at Double-A Erie, where Eastern League managers voted him as having the most power of any player in the league.

He has been adjusting to his first big league camp with the help of Tigers veterans, men like Damon, Ordonez and Carlos Guillen.

Boesch, a third-round draft pick out of Cal in 2006, speaks Spanish and has had deep conversations with Ordonez, and with Guillen, who suggested he swing a heavy, 40-ounce bat in the on-deck circle as a means for getting his hands and the bat's barrel aligned before stepping to the plate.

Ordonez emphasized to him the need to remain "short" with his batting stroke.

"I get from them instructions on how to be professional, and how to play the game the right way," said Boesch, who even did radio interviews in Spanish during the past offseason when he played winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Around the horn

Armando Galarraga started for the Tigers against the Blue Jays and was, in Leyland's words, "inconsistent with his command." He worked three innings, giving up five hits and three runs, while striking out four and walking one.

Left-handed reliever Brad Thomas had a tough day: 1 2/3 innings, four hits, two earned runs. Jacob Turner, the 18-year-old rookie, did just fine in his two-inning shift: no hits, one walk, one strikeout.

... Bobby Seay (shoulder), who has yet to pitch in a Grapefruit League game, is making progress, Leyland said, and could be pitching bullpen sessions soon.

lynn.henning@detnews.com (313) 222-2472

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100315/SPORTS0104/3150418/1129/sports0104/Tigers-offense-has-been-better-than-advertised#ixzz0iIV3qOv7


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:07 pm


Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski, right, and assistant GM Al
Avila watch the team's first work out at spring training in Lakeland, Fla.

Posted: March 17, 2010
GM Dave Dombrowski pleased with Tigers' spring

BY SHAWN WINDSOR
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski held an impromptu press conference near the batting cage at the Philadelphia Phillies' Bright House Field Tuesday and said so far so good.

In particular, he likes the Tigers' mix of youth and veterans, of hitting and pitching.

"It's still spring training," he cautioned, "but we've seen a lot of good things take place."

Among them are the positive signs from pitchers Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, the return to health of pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, the way Magglio Ordońez's bat sounds and the baseball acumen from centerfielder Austin Jackson.

"He looks like he's ready to play at the big-league level," Dombrowski said. "If he keeps doing this all year, we will be in good shape."

Jackson has shown tantalizing athleticism and quickness in the outfield. More surprising, perhaps, is the patience he has shown at the plate.

"I kind of scratch my head when I see the strikeout totals from the past," Dombrowski said, "because he has shown the ability to recognize pitches."

Jackson adjusted his stance during the off-season, and Dombrowski credited that change with the young centerfielder's early batting success this spring -- he's hitting .429. He has also shown some power, a characteristic that his former club wasn't sure he had.

Dombrowski said a source within the Yankees told him that was the only thing that concerned them. "I know he's got some juice in his bat, you can see that," he said.

Look more closely, Dombrowski said, and you see more life on Robertson's fastball, and more control in Willis' pitches, and the re-emerging nastiness of Bonderman's slider.

"I feel very good about the way our guys are throwing the ball," Dombrowski said. "I'm confident, yet I'm anxious."

Then again, Dombrowski thinks his club is set for the future, with long-sought left-handed relievers as well as hitters and prospects in the minors who will push the big leaguers all season long.

But for this season to take off, he knows he needs his lineup to gather momentum, especially up front. He can see it now: Jackson followed by Johnny Damon followed by Ordońez -- who is "swinging the bat as well as I've seen him swing" -- followed by Miguel Cabrera.


Throw in a healthy Brandon Inge and an improved Gerald Laird and you get a spring training that is showing "a lot of positives."

Contact SHAWN WINDSOR: 313-222-6487 or swindsor@freepress.com.


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:29 pm

Last Updated: April 17. 2010 8:42PM
Tigers: Notebook
Austin Jackson, Barbaro Garbey have something in common
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Seattle -- Tigers rookie center fielder Austin Jackson went into Saturday night's game with five multiple-hit games in the nine he's played as a major leaguer.

He's the sixth Tiger since at least 1920 to have five in his first nine -- the most recent being Barbaro Garbey in 1984.

Had it all working

Felix Hernandez was effective with his heat in the Mariners' 11-3 victory Friday night, but also with an 88 mph change that acted like a splitter. It fooled his own catcher Rob Johnson several times, including the pitch that hit Johnson on the shin.

An "air cutter" Johnson called it.

Family matters

Phil Coke visited with his older brother, Army Sgt. Nathan Coke, at Safeco Field on Friday night. He also has a younger brother Robert who is in the Coast Guard.

"Nate is stationed here in the Seattle area," Phil said. "He's done two tours in Iraq."

Speed it up

Manager Jim Leyland still was annoyed Saturday with Jeremy Bonderman's slow time to the plate Friday on a steal of second by Chone Figgins in the first.

"It looked like, as a staff, we weren't prepared," Leyland said. "You just can't do stuff like that ---especially after you go over stuff before a game, like talk about who you know will be running. I take offense to that.

"I don't care about physical errors, but I do care about careless stuff."

Initially iffy

Gerald Laird's back stiffened, which explains why he came out of the game Friday night. He was so questionable for Saturday night's game that his spot in the batting order was left blank until Laird said he felt better.

"When you see me pulling a catcher out of a game, it means something is wrong," Leyland said. "I have only two of them."

Laird said his back improved overnight because he slept on the floor instead of a "too-soft" hotel bed.

Alex Avila will start behind the plate Sunday against right-hander Ian Snell.

In the minors

Did you see Clete Thomas is on the disabled list at Triple-A Toledo with a left hamstring strain? He strained it during a game in which he stole three bases.

And did you also see how Double-A Erie finally won its first game Saturday (after eight losses)? A two-run home run by Max St. Pierre in the bottom of the ninth. The crowd of 1,034 must have gone wild.

Next stop

Leyland said he will be glad to see Fernando Rodney on the next stop in Anaheim, but not glad to face him.

"He was a real warrior," Leyland said. "I love him. We got along very well -- at least I think we did. He's a fun guy, a witty guy, but tenacious on the mound.

"I'm happy for him. He got a good deal and is in a good spot. He was something else -- greatly appreciated. I'll be happy to see him."

Birthday boy

Ryan Raburn turned 29 on Saturday.

tom.gage@detnews.com twitter.com/Tom_Gage

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100417/SPORTS0104/4170405/1129/Tigers-4--Mariners-2--Max-Scherzer-helps-Tigers-salvage-one-win-from-series/Austin-Jackson--Barbaro-Garbey-have-something-in-common#ixzz0lVcCbeGQ


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sun May 02, 2010 12:36 am

Last Updated: May 01. 2010 8:32PM
Bob Wojnowski
If Tigers' starting pitchers take off, watch out

Detroit -- It's interesting. It's exciting. It's different.

The Tigers keep winning, mostly by mashing the ball as well as any team in baseball. Johnny Damon crushed it Saturday, beating the Angels 3-2 with a walk-off home run in the ninth, and another celebration ensued.

The Tigers are 15-10 and just behind the first-place Twins because their top four hitters have been tremendous, absolutely frightful at times. There's a stir down at Comerica Park these days, unexpected primarily because of how it's happening, with comeback victories and rookie revelations.

Now, imagine what's possible if the Tigers' starting pitching gets cranked up like we figured it could. Seriously, who would have guessed the hitting and bullpen would be carrying this team? Who would guess that it can continue?

That's why, for all the legitimate excitement over Damon's deeds and Miguel Cabrera's slugging, the positive in this game was the solid pitching of Jeremy Bonderman. He went six innings, allowing 10 hits but walking none and striking out four. He needs to go deeper into games and his numbers (1-1, 5.74 ERA) are nothing to get giddy about, but he seems to be getting stronger.

So does Dontrelle Willis. So must Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, or the Tigers aren't going anywhere. This is not some secret formula, by the way. Jim Leyland knows -- as anyone in baseball knows -- that hot hitting is fool's gold if the starting pitching isn't good enough.

"We're continuing to build, and I'm very pleased with (Bonderman)," Leyland said. "He's getting better, and he's adjusting to the art of pitching. Dontrelle is too. If we can get those two rolling, and then get everybody else rolling, it'll be different."

If that happens, this will truly be a summer of contention. The Tigers' pitching has been a puzzle, last in the league in quality starts and first in bullpen production.

I'm pretty darn sure Verlander will find his dominance again, soon. And Porcello should be fine, although remember, he's only 21. Beyond that? Well, that's why any quality start by Bonderman is a big sign.

"I'm getting some of my velocity back, and that's nice to know I can reach back for a little more when I need it," Bonderman said. "I think this team's got the ability to do some really good things. As a starting staff, we've got to find a way to give the bullpen a break and take the pressure off everybody."

Surprise, surprise

I know it's only 25 games, but I had no idea the Tigers would hit like this, tied with Kansas City for the highest average in the majors at .282, especially with such an anemic bottom third of the order. And, um, I had no idea they'd pitch like this.

Feel free to be thrilled by the good start, but be careful. Until guys like Verlander (1-2, 5.53 ERA) and Porcello (2-2, 8.03 ERA) start plowing through innings, this won't officially feel real.

The bullpen, led by Jose Valverde and Joel Zumaya, has been spectacular. And how about this: Every key acquisition by GM Dave Dombrowski has worked so far, although it's too early for final judgments.

Rookie centerfielder Austin Jackson has been superb atop the order, hitting .356. Meanwhile, predecessor Curtis Granderson is struggling along at .213 for the Yankees, and on Saturday pulled a groin muscle and landed on the disabled list. Damon is showing no signs of age, hitting .344, and new closer Valverde has been dominant at times, with a 0.75 ERA.

Starting pitching was supposed to be one of the Tigers' strengths, and it still can be. Until it is, it's going to spawn questions. Willis has a chance to be a great story if he continues his comeback from control and anxiety issues, leading the team's starters with a 3.75 ERA.

The key to the rotation could be Scherzer (1-1, 4.23). He has intriguing strikeout potential but opponents are hitting .301 against him. He's here in place of Edwin Jackson, who was traded to Arizona and is off to a shaky start (1-2, 6.67).

Enjoy what you're watching, because the way Damon and Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez and Austin Jackson are hitting, the Tigers sure keep it interesting. And if their starting pitchers get it going, it could get real interesting, real quickly.

bob.wojnowski@detnews.com

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100501/OPINION03/5010374/If-Tigers--starting-pitchers-take-off--watch-out#ixzz0mjsoXVVv


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sun May 02, 2010 1:03 am

Last Updated: April 30. 2010 1:00AM
Tigers: Notebook
Tigers' Johnny Damon among elite company
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- This has become Milestone Week at Comerica Park.

Magglio Ordonez with his 2,000th career hit Thursday against Minnesota.

Johnny Damon with his 1,500th run in the Tigers' 10-6 victory over the Angels.

Not to mention the first career home runs for both Scott Sizemore and Brennan Boesch on Friday night and Austin Jackson's first five-hit game.

Damon is rapidly moving up more than just the runs list -- and if you combine some of his career accomplishments, he finds himself in pretty impressive company.

For instance, there are only nine other players in major-league history to have 450 doubles, 375 stolen bases, along with 1,500 runs scored.

The nine are Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, Frankie Frisch, Lou Brock, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio.

Of the nine, six already are Hall of Famers, two (Biggio and Alomar) will be, and as for Bonds, the numbers are there, but the votes -- because of other issues -- could be problematic.

As soon as Damon gets to 1,533 runs, however, the list of nine becomes a list of seven -- because he will have passed both Alomar and Frisch in runs scored.

Reflecting the multi-dimensional kind of offensive player he's been, however, Damon needs only five more triples to be on a list of two.

Make that four because he had one Friday night -- the 96th of his career. When he gets to 100, he will be one of only two players ever to have the other totals (the doubles, runs scored and stolen bases) plus at least 200 home runs and 100 triples.

Molitor is the other.

When it was mentioned to Damon that he's on some elite lists, he said, "That's fine, but I'd like to do more."

He didn't mean more than the others, he meant more than he's already done. Damon won't be 37 until November. If he plays until the average retirement age (40) of the nine players on the list, he has four more seasons ahead of him.

More than enough time to climb a lot higher on all the lists where he's prominently placed already.

Two big hitters

Nice seeing Al Kaline give Magglio Ordonez a congratulatory hug for Ordonez's 2,000th career hit.

Kaline, of course, has been there, done that. He got his 2,000th hit in 1966 (when he was 31) in the first inning of a June 15 game against Boston's Jim Lonborg.

Not one to pause to pat himself on the back, Kaline went 4-for-4 the next day.

Hot and cold

Phil Nevin's first year as manager at Double-A Erie has been an interesting ride so far. Erie lost its first eight games, then won 10 of the next 12 to even its record at 10-10.

"He obviously didn't panic," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Horse sense

This is the year Leyland's Little River Bob would have been Kentucky Derby age.

"I gave him to a guy who might be running him at Monmouth Park (N.J.) soon," said Leyland. "I'll still root for him like he was mine."

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100430/SPORTS0104/4300466/1129/sports0104/Tigers--Johnny-Damon-among-elite-company#ixzz0mk1cpaoD


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Wed May 19, 2010 9:12 pm

Last Updated: May 19. 2010 1:00AM
Tigers: Notebook
Tigers' Brennan Boesch set for debut at field of his dreams
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Brennan Boesch thinks he was 5 when it first hit him he wanted to be a major league baseball player.

He remembers where he first thought it, too: Dodger Stadium.

And on Friday, he returns to Dodger Stadium as a major-league player -- hitting .387.

"When I step on that field for the first time, that's a dream coming true," said Boesch, who grew up in Santa Monica, "I hope Chavez Ravine treats me well.

"The Dodgers had a string of rookies of the year, and I remember sitting there (with his father), seeing those guys and realizing that's what I want to do: play major league baseball."

And has he been playing.

Boesch, who had two more hits in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the White Sox, has given manager Jim Leyland no option but to keep him on the field.

"He's not going to keep up this pace, but you play a hot horse," Leyland said. "Let him run.

"But he'll have to learn the process that there will be more people talking to him. ... It's all part of dealing with the action up here. It's one of the hurdles when all of a sudden you're getting attention. A lot depends on how he'll handle it."

With Tuesday's double, Boesch now has an extra-base hit in 11 games.

Further review

Brandon Inge had a home run to left overruled by a replay review. The ball was clearly foul, so there was no argument from the Tigers.

Dusty Ryan (June 19, 2009) is the only other Tiger to have a home run negated since instant replay was instituted in 2008.

Around the horn

There are fewer Mohawk haircuts in the clubhouse -- catcher Alex Avila ditched his before a recent speaking engagement, and Inge shaved his following Tuesday's game.

... Rick Porcello felt "too strong" early in Tuesday's game, so his sinker wasn't sufficiently sinking. It was Juan Pierre 's two-run double in the fourth, just his second extra-base hit this season, that really hurt him, though.

... Dontrelle Willis ' next start is Friday at Dodger Stadium, where he's 0-2 in three career starts.

Combine that with the fact he's 0-4 in 11 road starts with the Tigers, and the numbers don't look favorable.

On deck: A's

Series: Two games, tonight-Thursday, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.

First pitch: 10:07 tonight, 3:37 p.m. Thursday

TV/radio: Both games on FSD/WXYT 97.1, 1270

Series probables: Tonight -- Justin Verlander (4-2, 3.88) vs. Dallas Braden (4-3, 4.50); Thursday -- Jeremy Bonderman (1-2, 4.93) vs. TBA

Tonight's scouting report

Verlander: Appears to have it all together. While winning his last three starts, he has a 1.71 ERA.

Braden: Lost his only start since his May 9 perfect game vs. Rays. He is 2-2 in six starts with a 7.34 ERA vs. Tigers.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100519/SPORTS0104/5190327/1129/sports0104/Tigers--Brennan-Boesch-set-for-debut-at-field-of-his-dreams#ixzz0oQJyCdLg


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sat May 29, 2010 6:52 pm

Last Updated: May 29. 2010 1:00AM
Tigers: Notebook
Carlos Guillen returns, bats in 6th spot
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- Switching to second base wasn't the only change Carlos Guillen undertook on Friday night after being recalled from his injury rehab assignment.

He also dropped from fifth to sixth in the batting order.

For now, and possibly permanently, that means fifth belongs to Brennan Boesch -- against right-handers and left.

"Boesch has produced runs," manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm obviously leaving him where he is right now."

Even against lefties, such as Brett Anderson, who is expected to start tonight for Oakland?

"If I play Boesch, which I probably will," Leyland said, "I don't think I'll change anything."

Guillen, who had a double in three at-bats in the Tigers' 5-4 loss to the Oakland A's Friday, has batted everywhere in the batting order during his career. He's just happy to be back in the lineup.

Fifth is where he's hit the most often, however, followed by second, seventh, third and sixth. But his slugging average of .527 in sixth is his best at any spot.

Leyland likes the balance of the new lineup, but he likes even more the runs that Boesch knocks in.

"I've been looking for that," he said of the left-right balance. "I think the whole lineup plays out better. Boesch has been such a good surprise; that's obviously helped a lot."

Guillen was on the disabled list for more than a month, and Leyland realizes how difficult it is for a player to get accustomed to the demands of the job again.

"We'll have to figure out, now that he's playing nine innings again, if he's getting tired," Leyland said, "but it's no big deal. He'll have to tell us at some point if he needs a rest, but he's pretty good at that. I'd say he's about normal."

That is Leyland's way of saying he doesn't yet know, with the Tigers playing 10 games in 10 days, if Guillen will be able to play them all.

Worth-while

Not a bad description of how Danny Worth 's first visit to the majors went.

Not only did he hit .333 in eight games, but made an extremely favorable impression.

"He did a very good job," Leyland said. "He'll go down now, play around, maybe a little more shortstop, but he did very well. He should have a good feeling about himself.

"He's gone from being a guy who was flickering on the radar screen to all of a sudden being on the radar screen pretty good."

Numbers change

In search of more hits, Gerald Laird decided "to change things up."

So he's switched from uniform No. 8 to No. 12, which means that hitting coach Lloyd McClendon had to find a new number, so he switched to No. 19.

"I better remember that when I call down for my suitcase on the road," McClendon said.

"No. 8 has been a good number for a lot of players," said Laird, "but not for me."

Athletics at Tigers

First pitch:
7:05 tonight, Comerica Park, Detroit

TV/radio: FSD/WXYT 97.1, 1270

Tonight's scouting report


Brett Anderson, Athletics (1-1, 2.35): The A's are expected to activate the left-hander from the disabled list for this start. He's been on the DL since April 27 with left elbow inflammation and a forearm strain.

Rick Porcello, Tigers (4-4, 5.58): Getting back in his groove, he's 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA in his last four starts after being 2-2 with an 8.03 ERA in his first five.

tom.gage@detnews.com twitter.com/Tom_Gage


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100529/SPORTS0104/5290355/1129/rss15#ixzz0pMESSjOv


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:02 pm

Last Updated: June 30. 2010 1:00AM
Tigers: Notebook
Phil Coke, Eddie Bonine tell Tigers they're ready to fill in for injured Zumaya
Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

Minneapolis -- The first thing Phil Coke did when he got to the ballpark Tuesday was to visit manager Jim Leyland.

"I told Skip that whatever he needs, let me know. I got it," Coke said. "Give me the ball."


Leyland said Monday night after Joel Zumaya was lost for the season with an elbow injury that it was time for other players to step up.

"That's the mark of a good team," Leyland said. "Guys step up."

Coke is willing to do that, whether he's needed in short relief, which he has excelled at this season, in long relief or even at closer. Jose Valverde retired five batters Monday and his availability Tuesday was questionable.

"You just have to bear down and get it done," Coke said. "Things happen. For me to come into Skip's office and say give me the ball, I hope that plays into their favor and eases the minds of certain people. That's not what I would say something like that, it's just what has to happen."

Leyland wasn't sure how his bullpen rotation would shake out sans Zumaya, who had been the eighth-inning setup man.

"I can't answer that right now," he said. "We are going to have to mix and match more than we've had to."

Part of the answer might still be in Toledo. Ryan Perry, who could be in line to take Zumaya's eighth-inning role, made his second rehab appearance for the Mud Hens Tuesday. It didn't go well. He threw 36 pitches in 1 2/3 innings and only 16 strikes.

Perry has been out because of a shoulder injury.

"Losing Zumaya is a blow for us, obviously," Leyland said. "We felt like we had it set up pretty good. There's a big void there now. Somebody has to step up and we'll move on."

Eddie Bonine is one who could wind up with a heavier workload.

"We lost one of our main guys and you can't really replace him," Bonine said. "But like we've done all year, we'll try to pick each other up every day. All of us, in the wake of losing Zumaya, want to step it up. We want to pick up the slack and go forward."


Fien and dandy

The Tigers filled Zumaya's roster spot with right-hander Casey Fien . That might be a minor transaction to most but it's a major accomplishment for Fien.

"You have to give that kid credit for all the stuff he went through," Leyland said. "He bounced back and was the top recommendation of our people (in Toledo). That's why we brought him up."

Fien made his major league debut with the Tigers last season and was roughed up. He was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in nine appearances.

He was released to make room for Johnny Damon in the spring and that started him on an odd odyssey that eventually brought him back to the Tigers.

Fien was signed and released by Boston, and again by Toronto before the Tigers got him back in March.

He developed a cut fastball and has reinvigorated his career, going 1-0 with a 2.29 ERA in Toledo while striking out 27 in 39 innings.

He arrived at Target Field a bit after 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Ordonez OK

Turns out, it wasn't sidepain that benched Magglio Ordonez Monday. Leyland said Tuesday that he had a virus.

"He's feeling much, much better today," Leyland said.

Still, Leyland didn't put him on the lineup card until Ordonez peeked his head into his office and gave the thumbs-up.

Porcello update

Right-hander Rick Porcello 's second start for Toledo Tuesday was rough. He gave up 10 hits and five runs in six innings, and left the game with the Mud Hens trailing, 5-3.

Porcello hit hard

 Rick Porcello 's second start in Toledo on Tuesday against the Gwinnett Braves didn't go so well.

  The right-hander allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in six innings of work. He left the game with the Mud Hens trailing, 5-3.

Tigers at Twins

First pitch: 1:10 today, Target Field, Minneapolis

TV/radio: FSD/WXYT 97.1, 1270

Tonight's scouting report

Andy Oliver, Tigers (0-1, 3.00): The left-handed rookie is making his second start after a loss Friday against the Braves in which he yielded five hits and two runs over six innings.

Kevin Slowey, Twins (7-5. 4.79): The right-hander has been hit well by the Tigers but is 4-0 in six career starts against them with a 5.93 ERA. He is 7-5 with a 4.79 ERA this season.

chris.mccosky@detnews.com (313) 222-1489

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100630/SPORTS0104/6300376/1129/rss15/Phil-Coke--Eddie-Bonine-tell-Tigers-they-re-ready-to-fill-in-for-injured-Zumaya#ixzz0sO6g2Q3t


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:10 pm



Brandon Inge is running well and hitting well. Entering Wednesday's
game, he was batting .324 since June 1. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Last Updated: July 08. 2010 6:47PM
Tigers: Notebook
Tigers' Brandon Inge reaping benefits of offseason knee surgeries
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit -- As he rounded second, en route to his triple Tuesday night, you could see the difference.

A year ago, Brandon Inge would have wanted to try for a triple as he got near second base. The spirit would have been willing, but the knees would have been weak.

Not would have been, they flat out were.

But there he was, sliding headfirst into third in the eighth inning, pounding the dirt with his fist in celebration of being safe, of having pushed himself to take an extra base, but mostly of being able to push himself without pain.

Inge's knees -- both of which were operated on after last season -- took a while to get to feeling 100 percent this year. For instance, they weren't there at the start of the season.

But Inge isn't sure they'll be stopping at 100 percent. In fact, they might be feeling stronger than ever.

"There wasn't a thought in my head other than getting to third base when that ball hit the gap," he said. "Last year, I wouldn't have even tried. I would have wanted to. I would have come around first base thinking, 'C'mon, c'mon, let's make it,' but then I would have come to the realization that I couldn't."
Just about this time last year, it was becoming an ordeal for Inge just to get to first. But he never gave in to the pain. He kept playing.

"There aren't many guys who would have played with what he played with," manager Jim Leyland said. "The doctors even marveled how he got through it."

"I didn't want to panic anyone, but I was afraid they weren't coming around," Inge said. "Earlier in the year when the adrenaline hit me and I pushed it, I'd get instant feedback from my knees.

"Now when I push off, the only thought is the goal -- of getting where I want to go. I'm just happy to see them truly coming around.

"I think I'm going to be stronger and better off."


Anatomy of a play

Miguel Cabrera 's huge home run wasn't the only thing he did right Tuesday night.

How about that throw to third for the first out of the sixth following Matt Wieters ' leadoff double?

"He's a very instinctive player," said Leyland, "one of the smartest players in the league."

The credit for Inge being in excellent position to take the throw, however, goes to Carlos Guillen .

"I always think about things before they happen, but Guillen gave me a sign ahead of time that if the ball was hit hard to him, he was coming to third with it," Inge said.

"That stuck a seed in my mind to bust it back over to the bag quick."

So when the ball was hit hard to Cabrera, Inge wasn't surprised that he also had it in his mind to throw to third.

"The most impressive improvement," Inge said about Cabrera, "is how he's come along defensively. Unbelievable."


Around the horn

The Tigers signed their fifth, sixth and seventh-round picks from last month's draft. In order, they are left-hander Alexander Burgos from State College of Florida, Manatee; catcher Bryan Holaday from Texas Christian University; and second baseman Corey Jones from Cal State Fullerton.

Holaday won the Johnny Bench Award last month as the best collegiate catcher. Other winners in the award's 11 years include major-leaguers Buster Posey , Kurt Suzuki , Jeff Clement and Kelly Shoppach . Ryan Garko also won but no longer catches.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100708/SPORTS0104/7080424/1129/SPORTS0104/Tigers--Brandon-Inge-reaping-benefits-of-offseason-knee-surgeries#ixzz0t8fHR9zA


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:35 pm

Last Updated: July 12. 2010 1:00AM
Tom Gage: Tigers Insider
Tigers' Brennan Boesch is best with a fast start

Detroit -- It's a question that can't be answered, but it's fun to ask.

Now that the Tigers are at the All-Star break, where would they be without Brennan Boesch?

Someone would have batted fifth, but not him. Someone would have driven in runs, but probably not as many.

Someone would have helped out in the outfield, but not as a regular, like he has.

As outstanding as Miguel Cabrera has been in the first half, he's probably not the Tigers' most important story of the first half.

That's because whatever your estimates were for his expected production, he was bound to be a significant contributor.

That's also because "he's a superstar," manager Jim Leyland said, knowing the pronouncement isn't exactly a revelation, and therefore not making a big deal about it.

Boesch could be well on his way toward that status as well. We won't know if superstardom is indeed his destination until he arrives. He's en route, it appears, but has only just started the journey.

He has aggressively started the journey, however.

In fact, he's begun the journey as the most aggressive hitter on the Tigers.

The most aggressive? Even more aggressive than Cabrera? Based on what kind of measurement?

Based on the fact that Boesch puts the ball in play more often within the first two pitches of his at-bats than any of the 10 Tigers with the most at-bats this season.

According to baseballreference.com, Boesch puts the ball in play in 44.3 percent of his at-bats before a third pitch is thrown.

Not only that, but through Friday night's game, he was hitting a remarkable .481 (50-for-104) within the first two pitches of his at-bats.

Now it's not unusual, in fact it's routine, for hitters to have higher batting averages early in the count. Pitchers are trying to get ahead early, they throw strikes, batters swing.

The 10 Tigers with the most at-bats all have higher batting averages before seeing a third pitch than their overall batting average.

But none is hitting as high as Boesch early in the count -- what's more, none has put the ball in play in a higher percentage of early pitches than Boesch.

That makes him the most aggressive.

"Sure, he'll swing at a bad pitch once in a while," Leyland said, "but I wouldn't change anything about him. I want him being aggressive and he is."

The fact that Boesch is more aggressive doesn't make Cabrera unaggressive, of course. At 40.8 percent, he is third on the Tigers -- behind Boesch and Magglio Ordonez -- in the percentage of at-bats in which he puts the ball in play before the third pitch.

Brandon Inge has the lowest percentage at 23.8. He sees more pitches per at-bat -- and that's kind of too bad because he is hitting .429 when putting the ball in play on the first or second pitch.


By the numbers

1-4 -- Max Scherzer's record before demotion to Toledo

5-2 -- Scherzer's record since return to Tigers

7.29 -- Scherzer's ERA before demotion

2.44 -- Scherzer's ERA since return


Time for a breather

The Tigers at the All-Star break:

Year _ Record_ Position_ Games in front or behind
2010... 48-38....... 2nd................... .5
2009... 48-39....... 1st................... 3.5
2008... 47-47....... 3rd................... 6.5
2007... 52-34....... 1st................... 1
2006... 59-29....... 1st................... 2
2005... 42-44....... 4th.................. 15
2004... 42-45....... 3rd.................... 5.5
2003... 25-67....... 5th................... 26
2002... 31-54....... 5th................... 17
2001... 36-48....... 4th................... 17.5
2000... 38-46....... 4th................... 15.5


Bet on it

Odds, as of Friday, to win the American League title, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants:

Team_____ Odds_______ Team_____ Odds
New York...... 7-5............. Chicago.......... 28-1
Tampa Bay.... 7-2............. Toronto.......... 60-1
Boston......... 21-4............. Oakland......... 75-1
Detroit.......... 17-2............. Seattle........ 150-1
Minnesota..... 17-2........... Kansas City.... 500-1
Texas............ 10-1........... Cleveland.... 1,000-1
L.A. Angels..... 13-1............ Baltimore.... 5,000-1


One-timers (or two)

Here's the full aggressiveness-factor chart, showing the percentage of at-bats a player puts the ball in play on the first two pitches and what he's hitting when he does.

Player___ Pct.___ Avg.
Boesch..... 44.3..... .481
Ordonez.... 41.0..... .328
Cabrera..... 40.8..... .408
Santiago.... 38.3..... .343
Guillen........ 33.7..... .323
Laird.......... 30.5..... .196
Avila........... 27.7..... .237
Damon......... 27.1.... .312
Jackson....... 26.5..... .469
Inge............ 23.8..... .429


Quotable

"Maybe once a year comes a (rookie) hitter comes along that really stands out to me. This guy is impressive."

-- Mark Teixeira, Yankees slugger, not a new quote about on Brennan Boesch, but still pertinent

tom.gage@detnews.com twitter.com/Tom_Gage

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100712/OPINION03/7120319/1129/Tigers--Brennan-Boesch-is-best-with-a-fast-start#ixzz0tWZT8DHL

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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:33 pm

Last Updated: August 19. 2010 1:57PM
Tigers: Notebook
Carlos Guillen might be gone for a while
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

New York -- Carlos Guillen's left knee injury gets worse each day, so much so that he could miss the next three weeks.

On Monday night, after the collision at second base, Guillen thought he would be OK.

On Tuesday, he woke up sore and couldn't play.

On Wednesday, he woke up more sore and the Tigers put him on the 15-day disabled list. But they didn't do it because of the chance he might need that long to recover.

They did it because of the chance he might need even moretime than that.

It turns out that, despite no structural damage inflicted by Yankees runner Brett Gardner when he slid hard on Monday night's game-ending double-play, Guillen suffered a deep bruise that will continue to get worse before it gets better.

Carrying 13 pitchers instead of 12 gives the Tigers only three players on the bench instead of four, so even if Guillen were going to miss 7-10 days, they might have been forced to put him on the DL.

But this isn't a bruise that's going to clear up that fast.

"It's worse today," Guillen said when he arrived at the Tigers clubhouse before Wednesday's game. "He got me good."

It's the third time Guillen has been on the DL this season (hamstring, calf, knee). The Tigers recalled Will Rhymes from Toledo as his replacement.

"The doctor's report was that he'll really be sore for 2-3 weeks," manager Jim Leyland said. "The bruise is deep.

"I was kind of surprised when I got the call. Originally we thought day-to-day, but according to the report, this is a pretty bad one. The doctor said bruises like this are painful and take a long time. It's a sad thing, really, because he was moving better at second, playing better at second and getting some big hits for us."

Two in a row

That's how many days struggling Brennan Boesch is going to get off after his batting average since the All-Star break dipped to .121 when he went hitless Tuesday against the Yankees.

"I think he's lost his concentration," Leyland said. "I spoke with him and touched on a couple of points. If you're swinging at 97 (miles per hour) out of the strike zone, I can accept that.

"But if you're swinging at 88, 89 out of the strike zone, that's not totally acceptable. That just means he's just frustrated and his concentration isn't what it needs to be. I'm going to get him out of there for a couple of days. In no way, shape or form, however, does that mean I'm not crazy about him."

Around the horn

Gerald Laird 's right arm was still black-and-blue because of the blocked ball that broke a blood vessel and forced him out of Tuesday's game.

"I've never had anything like that happen," he said. "I've blocked balls that broke blood vessels, but nothing like this."

tom.gage@detnews.com twitter.com/Tom_Gage

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100819/SPORTS0104/8190438/1129/sports0104/Carlos-Guillen-might-be-gone-for-a-while#ixzz0x6Z7lZ8m


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:58 pm

Last Updated: September 16. 2010 1:42AM
Tigers: Notebook
Tigers manager gets his words out on the field
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Arlington, Texas -- Manager Jim Leyland wouldn't comment, and really, it wasn't necessary.

The fire that shot from him during the Tigers' two-game series at Texas, sparked by a raging debate with chief Jerry Layne's umpiring crew, cost Leyland his seat in the dugout.

Leyland was tossed after the fourth inning of an 11-7 loss to Texas that wrapped up a two-game sweep by the Rangers -- and a two-game war between Leyland and Layne's group.

Leyland was already steaming Wednesday in the aftermath of Tuesday night's disputed home run by Rangers outfielder David Murphy. It appeared to be a foul ball, but Layne and his cohorts -- after reviewing video -- concluded it "went over the top of the foul pole."

Then came Wednesday night's sequence of events, which began when Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta was called out on a checked-swing in the second inning.

Michael Young of the Rangers got a different verdict with the bases loaded in the fourth. His two-strike checked swing was ruled a ball. He ended up driving a sacrifice fly to right, one batter before Murphy slammed a 426-foot home run off Armando Galarraga into the right-field upper deck.

Leyland was in no mood for umpiring inconsistencies, and he let Layne have it from the Tigers dugout.

Layne's right thumb went skyward, at which point Leyland decided to extend the discussion. He and Layne met near home plate, Leyland's arms flapping like a hummingbird's wings he vented.

And it wasn't only Layne who was in the manager's crosshairs.

As Leyland left the field, he threw both hands in the direction of the corner umpires -- Mike Winters, who made the call on Young's and Peralta's checked swings, and Brian Runge, who supported Layne during Tuesday night's debate over Murphy's home run.

Leyland was so hot he declined FSD's live postgame interview. He met briefly with reporters, but -- holding to his usual policy -- would not discuss his battle with the umps.

Jackson's catch

He's still hanging in at the plate, batting .300. But rookie Austin Jackson's defense has been the bigger story in his rookie season as the Tigers' center-fielder.

Jackson has a new first-place highlight after running down Mitch Moreland's drive in the fifth inning.

As the ball Moreland mashed headed on a high arc for the center-field fence, Jackson sprinted on a furious, diagonal route. He raised his glove, left his feet and crashed into the fence, snagging Moreland's missile that likely would have been a double, possibly a triple.

"I didn't know if I was gonna have a chance to make a play at all," Jackson said. "But it kind of slowed up at the end, and I kind of timed it pretty well.

"But I don't know how I caught it. I was pretty shocked I caught it."

Leyland's assessment:

"Tremendous. But I've seen that all season."


Raburn sizzles

Ryan Raburn's searing September continues. He had a home run and two doubles Wednesday night, good for four RBIs, with his first double coming within a whisker of going out.

Raburn is batting .390 in September, with a .444 on-base average and a .634 slugging percentage. He was nearly as torrid in August and has pushed his season average to .273, with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 311 at-bats.

"It's great to hit so well in the second half, but I need to find a way to do it in the first half," said Raburn, who, perhaps not coincidentally, has been playing a sterling left field.

"Raburn has been a heck of a player for a while," said Leyland, who has stated multiple times that Raburn needed only to believe in his talent as much as his bosses to become a dangerous everyday player.

Damon hits 100th triple

Johnny Damon's milestones are getting almost monotonous.

Well, only if you're a statistician tiring of the updates.


Damon had one hit Wednesday, a soaring triple over Julio Borbon's glove, the 100th triple of his career. Among active big-leaguers, his 100 triples trail only Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Damon got the ball and will place it in his growing, groaning trophy case.

Now, he can think about other goals -- beyond making another trip to a World Series.

"The next one would be 500 doubles," said Damon, who has 482 doubles among his 2,556 hits. "And I'd like to get 400 stolen bases (he has 383)."

Damon is 51st in career runs with 1,558 and would like to reach the top 30 before his career ends.

As for 3,000 hits -- it won't be easy. But at 36, and with his bat speed still burning, Damon can dream.

"Hopefully," he said.

lynn.henning@detnews.com.


From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100916/SPORTS0104/9160420/1129/SPORTS0104/Tigers-manager-gets-his-words-out-on-the-field#ixzz0zjuxZkog


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:37 am

Last Updated: November 27. 2010 1:00AM
Tigers still figuring out who will play right field
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

Detroit— Is there still room for Magglio Ordonez? And if not, would you have traded him for catcher Victor Martinez?

The Tigers added an outstanding bat to their lineup Friday when they officially announced the signing of Martinez to a four-year contract.

Martinez is the middle-of-the-lineup bat the Tigers wanted to add this offseason. They are a better team with him than without him.

Martinez will be the designated hitter more often than he will catch. It will be something new for him, but he feels he can make that adjustment.

The question is, what will the Tigers do next? Or will they do anything next?

They've signed four players since the season ended: Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Joaquin Benoit and Martinez. With general manager Dave Dombrowski saying again Friday that "we expect Ryan Raburn to step up," the only spot still up for grabs is right field.

How the Tigers will fill it is unclear.

They can go with what they have: Brennan Boesch, Casper Wells and Clete Thomas. Or they can entertain the thought of bringing Ordonez back.

It sounds as if they haven't yet decided which path to take.

"We're in a spot now where Victor is the DH," Dombrowski said. "Everything else is settled, so you're talking about the outfield, and we'll have to analyze if we go with what we have within, or how do we supplement it.

"We'll have to sit back and decide that."

Dombrowski said he was not at liberty to discuss the Ordonez situation since the outfielder is a free agent.

Martinez ready to adjust

The other issue is Martinez's adjustment to getting most of his at-bats from the designated hitter spot.

With Alex Avila still being regarded as the No. 1 catcher — "Yes, that's fair to say," Dombrowski said — Martinez knows how he'll be used.

"We had described the position to him, he understood it, and was very happy to accept it," Dombrowski said.

Still, Martinez has more than 3,000 at-bats in his career as a catcher and only 119 as a designated hitter.

Less than three percent of his 1,120 major league hits have come at the DH spot.

Martinez doesn't anticipate a problem, but acknowledged after signing his $50 million contract it will take some adjusting.

"When I was with the Indians, I used to hit behind one of the best designated hitters in the game, Travis Hafner," he said. "I would ask him, 'How do you do it?'

"I learned from him a little bit. There's a lot of stuff to do when you're not on the field and you're playing the role of DH. It's definitely different. But like I told (the Tigers), if I can do anything to make them better, I'm more than happy to do it."

Dombrowski said, "We kind of envision Alex catching 4-5 days a week and Victor would be 2-3 days a week. If you follow that kind of scenario, you're probably talking 60 games (of catching for Martinez.)"We think Alex is ready to be a good player for us."

Cabrera aided addition

Dombrowski said he also had some help in luring Martinez from the Red Sox: Miguel Cabrera.

"Miguel, at the end of the season, knew we had some freedom to do some things," Dombrowski said. "He said if he could do anything to help, don't hesitate to ask. When we identified Victor as the No.1 individual for the middle of the lineup, we asked Miguel (a fellow Venezuelan) if he would mind giving him a call, and he volunteered to do that.

"He reached out to Victor. About a week ago, he followed up with another call after we made an offer."

Regarding Cabrera's input, Martinez said, "I expressed to Miguel the desire to make it happen. He was a good part (of the decision), but the most important thing, as I've said, is that I could see how the Tigers tried to improve every year."

With the signing of Martinez, the Tigers had to give up their first-round slot in next year's amateur draft, but felt it was a fair exchange.

tom.gage@detnews.com

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From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101127/SPORTS0104/11270332/Tigers-still-figuring-out-who-will-play-right-field#ixzz16Y4aYS33


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:03 pm

Last Updated: December 10. 2010 3:17PM
Tony Paul: From the Winter Meetings
Tigers' Jim Leyland expects easy transition out of 'pen for Phil Coke

Lake Buena Vista, Fla.— When the Tigers made that megatrade at last year's Winter Meetings, perhaps the least-talked about player in the deal was Phil Coke.

Yet, in 2010, he proved one of the two most valuable members of the Tigers bullpen.

And in 2011, he'll, no doubt, be key again — though it'll be in the starting rotation.

"He's got good stuff. I think we'll have to tone him down a little bit. He's kind of a hyper guy," manager Jim Leyland said this week at baseball's Winter Meetings on Disney's compound. "I think as a starter, you'll see a little bit of a different personality than you saw as a reliever, probably. But this guy has got really good stuff, and he's got three pitches — three good pitches.

"I think the thing with him is, he's going to have to channel some of that adrenaline because he's pumped up. It's a little bit different coming out of the bullpen in the eighth inning with guys on second and third than it is starting the game."

Except for one start, a 45-pitch outing in the season finale against the Orioles not long after Leyland announced the club's intentions, Coke, 28, has been exclusively a reliever in his three years in the major leagues — and a workhorse reliever at that, with 146 games in 2009-10. He had some success starting in the minor leagues, though, and might've continued that role had the Yankees not been in need of left-handed help in their bullpen.

The Tigers even talked about using him as a starter the first year after they acquired him last December — "There was a lot of discussion about that," Leyland said — but in the end, decided to break him in to his new team and city with the role he was most used to. Plus, the Tigers were committed to giving left-hander Dontrelle Willis one more shot in the rotation in 2010.

That, obviously, didn't work out, so Coke was the most logical candidate for the job.

Leyland wouldn't estimate an innings total for Coke, though he expects him to make the transition, stamina-wise, with few issues.

"Sometimes it doesn't appear this way to you, because of the way Phil is built," Leyland said of the Coke, listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, "but he's in really good shape and is really strong. I don't think endurance is going to be a problem, once he's built up and back in spring training."

Coke finished with a 3.76 ERA in 2010, a number inflated by a late-season fade, in which he allowed 10 runs on 13 hits in seven innings. He had a 2.65 ERA as late as Sept. 9.

He was easily the Tigers' most effective and consistent left-hander out the bullpen that saw 2009 breakout performer, Fu-Te Ni, struggle and demoted to the minors. Brad Thomas was up and down. Daniel Schlereth struggled his first time up, then showed flashes of his potential during his second call-up.

That makes Schlereth the favorite to be the Tigers' No. 1 lefty in the bullpen, with Thomas, acclaimed minor leaguer Charlie Furbush and recently-signed John Bale among those vying to be the second. Not that the Tigers necessarily must have a second one — considering their new setup man, Joaquin Benoit, was nasty against both right-handers (.150) and left-handers (.144).

A bigger issue on who will be in the bullpen, though, is who won't be: Coke. And that's a big void, but apparently not a concern of the Tigers.

"No, I'm not worried about that," said Leyland, "but it will be a good topic for you guys if he doesn't work out as a starter. It will be a field day for you, and I can see that coming."

Zumaya's big season

Speaking of keys to the bullpen, Joel Zumaya is again a big one.

"That's huge for us," Leyland said. "If you look at it, you can make the case for a lot of teams with arms that they bring out of the bullpen. They talk about the Padres and the Giants. (But) if you are bringing in Benoit, Zumaya, (Ryan) Perry and (closer Jose) Valverde, that's pretty good. Arm-wise, we won't take a back seat to anybody."

Of course, that's including Zumaya, who's right (pitching) elbow, per the official word, is expected to be 100 percent healthy entering spring training.

Zumaya, 26, we all know, has been a heartbreaking story. Like a real-life Ricky Vaughn, he took baseball by storm in 2006, but has had one injury or surgery right after another ever since.

A sickening elbow injury last summer shut him down, after being stricken by serious shoulder injuries and a freak finger injury in previous seasons. No doubt, he might be running out of time to stay with the Tigers, who will tender him a contract for 2011. But it's doubtful they'd continue being believers with another extended trip to the disabled list.

"Without sounding sarcastic, he's been healthy in December but not in June, you know? And that's what we have got to get over," Leyland said. "He's fought so hard. My heart aches for the kid."

If Zumaya can stay healthy in 2011, it'll pay off, big-time, for the Tigers — but also financially for the 100-mph king. He's a free agent next winter.

Peralta's ranges

Leyland, this week, took exception to those who questioned Jhonny Peralta's ability at shortstop.

He said the Tigers always were confident Peralta, 28, could handle the position well, even before they acquired him from the Indians, who had moved him to third base.

"Peralta is not going to have the best range of any shortstop in the American League. However, his range his fine," Leyland said. "He's a very sure-handed guy, he's a very solid fundamental player, and he's a very accurate thrower with a very good arm. We are thrilled to have him.

"We are always looking for perfect players, and there are not that many perfect players. He's a real good fit for us."

The range the Tigers are more interested in regarding Peralta: 70-85. That's how many RBIs they're counting on, how many he's usually is good for.

Advice from Leyland

Leyland gave Midland's Terry Collins his first coaching job in the major leagues, on his staff in Pittsburgh. So he was thrilled that his good friend is getting another chance to manage, with the Mets, and was touched Collins chose to honor him by wearing his number, 10.

As for his advice to Collins, 51, a major league manager for the first time since 1999:

"I would tell him the same thing that I would tell any other manager: Don't worry about what you have to answer after the game. Manage the game and don't worry about what you're going to have to answer to afterward, because you won't manage good."

Easier said than done with that tenacious New York press.

Around the horn

Infielder Will Rhymes, the most wired Tiger, launched his new Web site, www.willrhymes.com , which has plenty for the fans — including his blog, photos, audio, video and baseball tips. Check it out.

Rhymes, 27, also is big into Twitter and Facebook.

Leyland plans to keep hitting Miguel Cabrera fourth, even though some think he should be moved up to third — like the White Sox plan to do with their new big slugger, Adam Dunn.

Victor Martinez will bat third or fifth, and Magglio Ordonez the other one, if he comes back.

… The Yankees missing out of Carl Crawford is good news for three guys: former Tiger Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. One might've been shipped out, probably Swisher.

Become a fan of Covering the Bases on Facebook.

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tpaul@detnews.com


From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101210/OPINION03/12100323/Tigers’-Jim-Leyland-expects-easy-transition-out-of-’pen-for-Phil-Coke#ixzz17xBxmLve


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Tue May 10, 2011 2:32 am

Last Updated: May 10. 2011 1:00AM
Tigers: Notebook
Victor Martinez is quick to celebrate
Tom Gage / / The Detroit News

Toronto— This isn't about Victor Martinez's ability to drive in runs.

That was evident again Monday night with his three hits, including his third home run, and three RBIs in the Tigers' 10-5 victory over the Blue Jays.

This is about his running.

The next time the subject turns to Martinez's lack of speed, you can reply with a "yeah, but."

And here's the "yeah, but."

When you view the celebration at the mound following Justin Verlander's no-hitter, the game for which the Tigers' series that concluded here Monday will be remembered, who do you think got to the mound first?

Other, that is, than catcher Alex Avila, who had the shortest distance to travel?

Mound scenes always are a pertinent subject for Tigers' fans. That's because the memory of the World Series charge from the dugout in 1984 is so indelible.

Anyway, what's your guess? Austin Jackson, because he's fast? Miguel Cabrera, because he was the next nearest?

Wrong and wrong.

It was Martinez — less than a week removed from being the on the disabled list for a strained groin, and even before that, not exactly known for being a burner.

Martinez got to the mound after Avila, but a split second before anyone else, and on YouTube, there's a good view of him racing to the mound as if, indeed, he's the fastest of all Tigers.

Martinez smiled when it was mentioned to him on Monday that it was noticed how quickly he got to the mound.

It wasn't just the teammate in Victor that wanted to congratulate Verlander, it was the catcher in Victor.

Plus, he'd never before been on a team that threw a no-hitter.

Martinez was absolutely overwhelmed by the moment.

So much so that he suddenly had wheels.

"I'll tell you what, that was exciting," Martinez said. "I didn't know I was first, but I got out there fast. I just felt so good for him. That was great."

Martinez isn't a media small-talker.

But he's already known within the clubhouse to be an excellent teammate, and for him to win the race to the mound, that just seems to be another example of it.

Around the horn

Speaking of the no-hitter, now in its third day of shelf life, here's a stat the Tigers came up with that's pretty impressive:

Verlander is the fifth pitcher since at least 1919 to throw two no-hitters in his first 173 games.

The only pitchers to do it faster were Johnny Vander Meer (32 games); Steve Busby (58 games); Don Wilson (70 games) and Nolan Ryan (168 games).

… For a week in which they both threw no-hitters, Verlander and Minnesota's Francisco Liriano shared American League player of the week honors.

Daniel Schlereth has limited opponents to a .130 average his last seven outings, and without much fanfare has become an important part of the bullpen.

"He's doing very well," Jim Leyland said. "He's getting calmer, more confident and done an excellent, excellent job."

On deck: Twins

Series: Two games, tonight-Wednesday, Target Field, Minneapolis

First pitch: 8:10 tonight, 1:10 p.m. Wednesday

TV/radio: FSD tonight, FSD on Wednesday/1270 tonight and WXYT on Wednesday

Probables: Tonight — Rick Porcello (2-2, 3.93) vs. Francisco Liriano (2-4, 6.61); Wednesday — Phil Coke (1-5, 4.75) vs. Scott Baker (2-2, 3.97)

Scouting report

Porcello: After allowing five runs in each of his first two starts, he's 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in the last four.

Liriano: Left-hander is coming off a no-hitter against the White Sox, but was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA before that.

tom.gage@detnews.com

twitter.com/Tom_Gage

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110510/SPORTS0104/105100346/Victor-Martinez-is-quick-to-celebrate#ixzz1LvLtLHd9


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PostSubject: Re: Tiger News from THE DETROIT NEWS   Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:00 am

January 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Lynn Henning
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski blunt: 'You can't have six starters'

A script is being memorized ahead of the Tigers' piling into buses for their January caravan, which gets rolling in two weeks.

It is text written by and for Rick Porcello. And it no doubt reads something like this:

"I have no idea what the team has planned for me. It's out of my control. I'm just going to prepare for the season and be ready to pitch and to do my job.

"If I'm traded, I'm traded. If I stay in Detroit, great. I love it here. Love my teammates. Love where we're headed in 2013. Excited by the chance to play in another World Series. But this is all out of my hands."

Porcello, to his credit, will be unflappable as he recites his response to queries asked at all points, from Detroit to the shores of Lake Michigan, as the caravan wheels statewide ahead of the Jan. 26 TigerFest bash at Comerica Park.

He has little choice as the Tigers appear ready to trade him rather than to try and stuff six starters into a five-man rotation.

Dave Dombrowski has never for a moment doused speculation that a starter will be swapped and that it probably will be Porcello, whose right arm, track record, and upside at age 24 make him the Tigers Pitcher Most Likely To Be Dealt.

The Tigers front-office boss will not say as much because, diplomatically, he can't announce he's shopping a particular person. But every general manager across baseball knows Porcello is available and that the Tigers have had heavy conversations about him.

"That scenario has been out there for a while, and really, it's no different today," Dombrowski said Monday, speaking of trade talk, generally. "These are the types of things that you allow to sort themselves out, and so I don't spend time speculating about deals.

"We do have six starters who are very capable pitchers."

Smyly stays?

For various reasons Porcello is viewed as the Tigers' most saleable pitching merchandise.

Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez are, in January 2013, stronger right-handed starters.

Drew Smyly, who was impressive during his 2012 baptism, is a left-handed pitcher the Tigers need as a starter when the division and baseball at-large feature so many lethal left-handed batters.

Porcello probably impresses opposing teams more than he has charmed Tigers fans. Rival general managers see a pitcher who can digest 180 innings, who throws a 95-mph fastball alongside his two-seam sinker, who tosses strikes, and whose contract ($3.1 million in 2012, arbitration-eligible this year) and trade price (reasonable package in return) are affordable when Porcello doesn't hit free agency until 2016.

Presented with the practical evidence, Porcello is simply the easier, and preferable, choice to be dealt by a Tigers team that could use some help in return, either at shortstop, or in an outfield that could afford more muscle.

Comerica Park customers, lots of them, aren't so sure this makes sense. Hang on to Porcello, they say. You'll soon need him.

Probably true. Starting rotations rarely make it through a season without at least one big boy crashing the disabled list for days or weeks of refurbishing. Hanging onto a dependable innings-eater is saving a pitcher for a rainy day, and in baseball it isn't only April that's famed for showers.

But it's not that simple, this idea of stockpiling starting pitchers.

Starters need to pitch every fifth day, ideally for six or more innings. Their arms are long-distance motors that typically do not benefit from excessive rest or random bullpen shifts.

Porcello could work as a long reliever. But it would not be in the Tigers' interests to take a guy who has the capacity to pitch 180-plus innings and make him a reliever or spot-starter. His value and trade price would be diminished unnecessarily when there are ample options for long relief.

Then hang onto Porcello, the crowd says, and warehouse Smyly at Triple A Toledo. Smyly is three years out of college. He had two disabled-list stints in 2012. He has never pitched more than 126 innings in professional baseball.

Valid points. But, again, impractical arguments when Smyly has shown he is ready for regular work and when April's chopped-up schedule and probable rainouts mean Smyly won't be needed in a regular rhythm until May.

Still time to make a deal

Dombrowski is happy to hand Smyly a regular rotation load.

"He would be able to go at this point," said Dombrowski, who on Tuesday heads to the quarterly owners' meetings at Scottsdale, Ariz. "He's pitched a lot of innings in college (103 in 2010, the year he was drafted). We would progress him like any young pitcher. But he's ready to pitch."

Dombrowski's words confirm that unless Smyly has an injury or has problems no more anticipated from him than from other Tigers starters, he will be part of manager Jim Leyland's rotation quintet on Opening Day.

What that means for Porcello is as obvious today as it was the day last month when owner Mike Ilitch decided to pay Sanchez $80 million for a five-year renewal in Detroit.

Porcello will almost certainly be traded. If not this month, which is the percentage bet, then at some point between now and April when another team's interest and the Tigers' trade needs converge.

"You can't have six starters," Dombrowski said. "There have been situations where guys work out of the bullpen in long relief, or you send guys to Triple A. But if you take a guy who's been in long relief for three months, you can't start him (regularly) right away. You've got to build him up.

"So, it's just a matter of timing. Everyone (front offices) just got back. There's still a lot of talking going on for a lot of people."

Heavy among the conversationalists will be a team from Detroit. First among discussion topics will be Porcello, which is why it will be wise for a young pitcher to rehearse that script as he patiently awaits his fate in 2013.

lynn.henning@detnews.com

twitter.com@Lynn_Henning

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130107/OPINION03/301070410#ixzz2HLvSyGi6


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