March 9th, 2008

That could've gone better

Funny how stories can change in a day. Before Sunday’s game, I was talking with Todd Jones about this stage of his career, how the highs of saving a game aren’t as high as they used to be and the lows of blowing one are lower. That was just in general terms. Then came four runs in the ninth inning Sunday for his second such outing in six days, raising his ERA for the spring to 24.55.

Jones said afterwards that he was working on locating his fastball, with obviously dire results. He spent the rest of the game in the dugout with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez trying to talk over mechanical issues. With just under three weeks before the Tigers head to Detroit, Jones has time to get his fastball location down.

"I know what I’ve got to do, and I’ve got to try to do it," said Jones, who said he has no soreness or health issues in his arm. "A couple outings to work on some things, hopefully it’ll bounce back."

Because of Jones’ pitching style, obviously, it’s all the more important that he’s on his game or else bad things happen. Unless he blows his arm out, whatever he does this spring won’t affect his status for the regular season, but he could probably use the momentum.

As for other matters, Brandon Inge played third base for much of the afternoon, then shifted to right field late. Considering there was a Dodgers person on hand, it could’ve been an effort on the Tigers’ part to showcase him. However, all the Tigers front-office personnel — including GM Dave Dombrowski — spent the game watching in their usual seats from the stands.

Sheff sits

He said his legs were feeling good, but Leyland said he’ll give him today and Monday off just in case. If he’s feeling well, he’ll play Tuesday’s split-squad game at home against the Reds.

Leyland also didn’t want to take a chance with Miguel Cabrera and his sore leg. However, he keeps saying that Cabrera needs at-bats to get his timing. Thus, he’s at DH.

Brandon Inge gets the start at third base in his first game played since the Dodgers lost Andy LaRoche.