March 8th, 2008

Saturday in the park

Not a pretty game today. First of all was the weather, which would’ve been great for Detroit but was chilly and windy for Florida this time of year. Leyland said afterwards they had a lot of bad at-bats, which might help explain the 11 strikeouts from Tigers hitters.

None of those strikeouts came from Miguel Cabrera, but he went 0-for-3 to fall to 3-for-21 for the spring. He was clearly frustrated about it after he was out of the game, but that’s understandable for a player trying to make an impression on a new team. It would probably be expected for Jim Leyland to run him back out there Sunday for more at-bats.

On a brighter note, Denny Bautista and Jason Grilli both had scoreless innings. Bautista worked into trouble with a hit-by-pitch and a walk, but racked up called third strikes on Alex Rios with a good slider and Scott Rolen with a fastball that moved inside but caught the corner. This outing was more mercurial than others, but we’ll see what it means for his candidacy.

Still no sign of Cruceta. This is taking on the feel of a diplomatic crisis … but it’s not.

LaRoche injured

The hot stove rumor mill should be back up and running now that the Dodgers have lost Andy LaRoche for a couple months with a torn ligament in his right thumb. At this point, the Dodgers are publicly suggesting they don’t need to make a deal. From the story last night:

"Right now, our focus will be internally until Andy’s back," said Dodgers GM Ned Colletti. "I don’t think we have to look elsewhere. Nomar is having his best spring. You don’t draw it up like this, losing two third basemen in a matter of outs. Luckily, it looks like Nomar will be out only a couple of days. We have Tony Abreu and Ramon Martinez can play all over the infield."

We’ll see if that sticks. However, if they think LaRoche will recover within that time frame, that might make it difficult to justify throwing money at third base for only the first month to six weeks of the season with Brandon Inge or Joe Crede. If they think it could be lingering injury, the pressure could mount.

Sheff's legs tight

Gary Sheffield tried training in the north this offseason for the first time in his career, and he’s probably not going to do it again. Given the weather, he didn’t have a chance to work out as much as he normally would when he trains in Tampa, and he thinks that helped lead to the soreness in his legs. It’s kind of like tight hamstrings, only he says it starts just above the back of the knees and goes up the legs. At this point, it’s a day-to-day matter, but if it was a regular game, he’d be able to play.

On another injury note, it sounds like Wilkin Ramirez’s injury is a lot less than was originally feared. He said this morning that the shoulder feels relatively ok, and that the worst of the injury was the muscles in his shoulder being stretched when it popped out and back in. He’ll rest it for a few days and then start swinging working out again. It might just be a matter of days before he’s ready again, though he’ll probably be sent out soon anyway. In any case, he said he expects to be when the minor-league season opens.

Here’s the Tigers lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Jones, LF
  4. Cabrera, 3B
  5. Thames, RF
  6. Hessman, 1B
  7. Skelton, DH
  8. St. Pierre, C
  9. Santiago, SS

For the Blue Jays:

  1. David Eckstein, SS
  2. Alex Rios, RF
  3. Vernon Wells, CF
  4. Scott Rolen, 3B
  5. Matt Stairs, DH
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Shannon Stewart, LF
  8. Aaron Hill, 2B
  9. Sal Fasano, C

As a reminder, the game is on radio in Detroit, as are most weekend games this spring.