Giarratano and other news

The rest of the Tigers pitchers threw live batting practice today, and everything went as expected. Mike Maroth said everything felt fine, mixing in some curveballs and cutters with mostly fastballs and changeups, and the eight-minute session went surprisingly quick to him because he didn’t feel tired at the end. His next step is expected to be a two-inning start in Thursday’s spring home opener against the Phillies, though the spring rotation hasn’t been announced yet. And unlike last year, Maroth won’t spend tonight worrying about how his elbow will feel tomorrow.

Among the others throwing was Joel Zumaya, who mixed in some curveballs with his usual fastballs. He lost grip on one of the curves and hit Kevin Hooper in his elbow, giving him a good bruise, but Hooper said he’ll be fine. As he said, thank goodness it wasn’t the fastball.

And now, the rest of the story:

  • The first major injury of camp has befallen shortstop Tony Giaratano, who will have surgery on his right shoulder on Thursday. No idea on how long he’ll be out — new guidelines from Major League Baseball as a result of recent federal law restrict how much clubs can say about a player’s injury — but they’ll likely know more after the surgery. Short term, it doesn’t affect the Tigers too much, since they obviously have plenty of infielders at the big-league level. But depending on what happens with Carlos Guillen’s contract talks, if this is a long-term injury, it means there could be one less potential replacement for him next season should Guillen somehow end up going elsewhere as a free agent. Besides, from a human standpoint, it’s the last thing you want to see for Giarratano, who spend the offseason working his way back from knee surgery so he could be ready for camp. He’s a good kid, and it’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since he made it to the Majors as an injury fill-in for Guillen.
  • Better news on Craig Dingman, who’s expected to resume full activity in a week after he was diagnosed with right shoulder fatigue rather than any structural damage. He’s been throwing quite a bit since coming down to Lakeland just after the new year.
  • Leyland cautioned again not to assume the last spot in the bullpen will go to a left-hander, though he indicated a second lefty reliever would be better for the staff. Club officials spent some time this morning watching Felix Heredia’s session, which seemed to go smoothly.
  • Leyland also backed up what was already assumed, that Edward Campusano will have to be able to get some big outs if he’s going to make the team. Leyland’s philosophy on Rule 5 draft picks is that he’d rather not try to slip them through a season if it places an undue burden on the rest of the pitching staff, unless the draft pick shows special talent.
  • Picture postcard day in Lakeland today, mostly sunny and in the 70s, which I know is probably the last thing you want to hear if you’re in the Midwest dealing with ice right now. If you’re coming down here anytime in the next couple weeks, though, hopefully it gives you another reason to count down the days, because the forecast looks much the same for a while. Actually, the sky is clouding up as I’m finishing writing this, so maybe this is karma.

I’m off tomorrow, so I’ll check back in for the Tigers against Florida Southern on Tuesday.

6 Comments

Aaaah… I remember like it was yesterday reading about Giaratano’s potential as a Major League infielder. I hope he gets better soon and wish him the best!

Good to hear that Zoombyya is mixing in some curves. He is going to need it this season.

Jason, you’re a lucky man. It’s snowing and sleeting up here in North Dakota!

Off Topic:
Blast from the Past:

Charlie (Paw Paw) Maxwell.

Remember how well he used to play on Sunday and partcularly in Sunday doubleheaders?

Yes Dan, I remember Maxwell. And I remember a day in 1962 after he had been traded to the White Sox. He returned to Tiger Stadium and beat the Tigers with a grand slam. On a Sunday. During a doubleheader.

Dan & Rich,
I thought I was a little “long in the tooth”…….ya both got me beat, lol.

With all the pitching the Tigers have, don’t y’all think the young’uns STILL gotta be licking their chops?

It seems to me, that only Verlander and Bonderman are “for certain” mainstays, after ’07.

One could add Miller in there(for at least half a share), and that creates at least two starter positions up for grabs in ’08, and beyond.

I know, Nate has done a lot of good work for our team, but if Sleeth, Tata, Ledezma, de la Cruz, et al raise to their promise at all……..things will get interesting. And of course, Rogers can not keep going forever, can he?

And, if Maroth comes back to resemble anything of his pre-06 form…………………..wow. Here’s hoping we keep ‘em all.

Does anyone suppose Brandon moving to third actually cost him some money? With the dearth of catchers in the league(particularly ones that can hit, and have his arm), I wonder what his value woulda been if he had stayed a catcher, and improved his skills at handling a pitching staff. Well, I suppose he isn’t complaining.

This will really be the “break out” season for Craig Monroe. With Guillen, Maggs, and Sheff, he’ll be flying under the radar all year. Not much pressure, I see him having a very fine year.

A fellow Tiger fan and I had some fun the other night, comparing this team with the ’84 squad, position by position.

Who would ya take?

Parrish or Rodriguez

Herndon or Monroe

Petry or Bonderman

Hernandez or Jones

Whitaker or Polanco

Granderson or Lemon

The only consensus between us, we’d take Morris and Trammel(with NO disrespect to Carlos or Rogers).

Ah………………good times.

I think Brandon Inge would have made a fine catcher, but I also suspect his hitting would have suffered. He loves it over there at third.

I’ve thought Craig Monroe has always flown under the radar, and I was actually concerned last season that he was gaining too much notoriety for clutch hits. But yeah, after seeing the rest of that lineup, a pitcher has to ease up somewhere or he won’t last long. Enter Monroe and Inge.

There are many similarities between the ’84 and ’07 Tigers. The problem with comparing players of different eras is the difference in how the game is played at that time. For instance, a Lou Whitaker .285 BA might translate into a .330 today. But, I’d take Jack Morris on any team. This guy rivaled Bob Gibson for pure surly grit when on the hill. If someone approached, an infielder, a manager, he was likely to snap “What do YOU want?!?”

Best news this morning: there is a GAME today. :-)

Gimmee Mickey Lolich. They don’t make ‘em like they used to!:

“Lolich’s performance in the 1968 World Series seemed to buoy him. In 1969 he won 19 games, and two years later he racked up 25 victories as he finished second in Cy Young Award voting to Vida Blue. That season, he started 45 games and completed 29, as he logged an incredible 376 innings pitched. His 308 strikeouts paced the league. Lolich was nearly as effective in 1972, winning 22 games as he led the Tigers to the American League East title. As usual, Mickey was a workhorse, pitching 41 games, completing 23 and hurling more than 300 innings. From 1971-1974, Lolich reached the 300-inning mark every season.

The durable lefty used an unusual method to keep his arm fresh.

“I never used ice. I would stand in the shower after a game and soak my pitching arm under hot water for 30 minutes. The water was scalding hot. After 30 minutes it would be red, but it would feel fine and I’d be throwing on the sidelines in two days. I never had a sore arm.”

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