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 With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly

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GoGetEmTigers
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PostSubject: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:42 pm

With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly
Larish, Rhymes add to Mud Hens total; Ordonez has CT scan

By Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com

07/25/10 1:50 PM ET

DETROIT -- Well, at least Tigers manager Jim Leyland doesn't have to worry about players not hustling.

Detroit purchased the contracts of infielders Jeff Larish and Will Rhymes from Triple-A Toledo and placed Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen on the 15-day disabled list. The Tigers released starting pitcher Billy Buckner and designated relief pitcher Casey Fien for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

The addition of the two young players gives the Tigers seven rookies in their 25-man roster, and 12 of the 25 have spent time in Toledo this season.

"The one thing is that we will have a lot of energy," Leyland said. "There shouldn't be anybody not running balls out. They are pretty young guys."

Larish and Rhymes arrived together, and when they entered the clubhouse, the scene felt like a Mud Hens reunion. The injuries to Ordonez and Guillen on Saturday, along with the broken hand suffered by Brandon Inge, had the Tigers scrambling to find two players who could fill the void for Sunday's day-night doubleheader.

"We are a very young team all of a sudden," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "That's one thing that's apparent. We were young before. We are really young now."

Ordonez suffered a fractured right ankle on Saturday night during a slide into home plate in the third inning. Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Ordonez was undergoing a CT scan to check the extent of the injury on Sunday morning. As of now, he is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.

Guillen strained his right calf in Saturday's contest when planting his foot en route to covering first base. Because he has experienced previous injury issues on synthetic surfaces, the Tigers are opting to leave Guillen behind for the road trip to Tampa Bay. But Rand doesn't expect the strain to keep Guillen out of the lineup for longer than the 15-day minimum.

"I'm hopeful that with treatment, during the week that we are away, when we come back he will be ready to be doing some baseball activities," Rand said. "I'm looking at it right now as having him ready in two weeks."

The injuries opened the door for Larish and Rhymes, both of whom will be making their first appearances in the Majors this season. Larish had been part of the 40-man roster the past two seasons, while Rhymes will be making his Major League debut.

When asked what roles the two will fill, Leyland kept it simple: "They will play."

Larish hit .275 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs in Triple-A this season, and Leyland opted to play him at first base in Sunday's matinee, making Miguel Cabrera the designated hitter. Larish likely will spend most of his time at first base as the designated hitter, as Leyland said Scott Sizemore and Don Kelly will continue to split time at third base.

Larish has had his opportunities with the club in the past and said he hopes to use his past experiences to help the banged-up Tigers this time around.

"It's the same game," Larish said. "I just have to be myself and try and relax the best I can. I think the first couple times getting called up, I tried to come up here and play perfect. You can't play baseball that way. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail. But it's about putting that in the past and moving on. Hopefully I'm able to put that experience into play this time."

Rhymes will play second base exclusively, and he will start in the nightcap. Leyland wouldn't say, however, if the 27-year-old would become the everyday second baseman until Guillen returns. Rhymes has been on an offensive tear for the Mud Hens this season, batting .304, which is good for fifth in the International League, and recording a league-high six triples with 34 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.

Larish and Rhymes joined a club already stocked full of young players from the Mud Hens. To Leyland, it's a great opportunity for them, and the other young players on the club that have been called up, to make their mark.

"This is what these guys' dream was, to get their chance," Leyland said. "There are no excuses. Here is the moment of truth for some of these guys. The guys that want to play more and think they should play more, well they are going to get a chance. We'll see what they can do. Guys like Rhymes, this has been a dream. You wait a long time for this opportunity. Take advantage of it. Run with it. Embrace it and enjoy it. Show us what you can do. Show us if you are a big leaguer."

Sticky situations like this are exactly why the Tigers signed Johnny Damon in the offseason. The veteran outfielder relishes his role as a leader in the clubhouse and is looking forward to working with the two new young players.

"I know the reason why I'm here," Damon said. "The reason why I'm here is to win and help provide leadership. I have a pretty good track record to be able to continue that.

"We are a team here. We are going to win and lose together. Hopefully win more. Obviously, when you lose those guys, it's tough on your team. But you have to move on. It's tough. When you do se
e it with teams, teams normally fold. Hopefully not this team."

Leyland said he probably wouldn't hold a pregame meeting to discuss the injury situation with the team. But he was roaming the clubhouse Sunday morning talking with individual players.

"My heart is broken for Magglio and Carlos, but I have to move on," Leyland said. "If I'm sitting here feeling sorry for myself, then the team is going to do the same thing. I'm going to go out and try to pump them up and give them a chance to play."

Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:47 pm

Wow, hope Leyland is up to the task of running the "Mud Hens North" team! This could get interesting seeing who takes advantage of the big league opportunity.

And to think we were joking 2 years ago about why not just send the Tigers to Toledo and the Hens to Detroit and see if they win more .... now it has almost become the full truth.


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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:55 pm

let's see what happens....
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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:56 pm

nothing wrong with younger, either...there are still a few healthy veterans..so, again, let's see.
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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:35 pm



“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:34 am

I am just sick. What an awful way to end the season. These guys can't hold up. Of Course Garza Had a No-No....it was mostly a AAA team! I think I lost out at the end of 2007.....*sigh*
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PostSubject: Re: With stars hurt, Tigers get younger quickly   Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:50 pm

What makes me mad is that Maggs was still playing well, now he well not get the plate appearances for his option to kick in. Hopefully they can renegotiate his contract for one more year at a discount, instead of him signing with another team.


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