March 13th, 2008
Somebody asked about Granderson and his start at the plate this spring. Leyland said after the game today that he believes part of the struggles were from not playing him regularly the first week or so of games. That was by Leyland’s design as a way to keep him from using too much energy this spring before the season even begins.
"I think in the long run, it’ll pay off," Leyland said.
Look for him to get a good share of the at-bats in center field from here on out. And he did have a good-looking hit down the right-field line for a triple today.
He’s a longshot, but Leyland mentioned him after the game as being among the candidates for that last spot or two in the bullpen. Given that, here’s what we have:
Todd Jones, Bobby Seay, Tim Byrdak, Jason Grilli and Zach Miner are in, according to Leyland, barring something drastic happening. Fernando Rodney is also in if/when he’s healthy.
There are five or six candidates fighting for the final two spots, according to Leyland, depending on Rodney’s status. That list is believed to be Denny Bautista, Yorman Bazardo, Freddy Dolsi, Preston Larrison, Aquilino Lopez and Francisco Cruceta (if he gets here anytime soon).
If Rodney is ready for opening day, Leyland said, that list whittles down by a couple. That would seemingly mean Dolsi would be out, plus somebody else.
Hope that helps.
In all fairness, the manager had not yet received the update on how Rodney’s mound session went. But when asked how many times Rodney would probably have to pitch in games this spring to be considered ready, Leyland threw some water on the subject.
"It’s unlikely that Rodney is going to be ready, in my opinion," he said. "I’m not going to push that envelope."
If Rodney indeed opens the season on the DL, Leyland said he’ll go with a setup crew by committee. It would leave Detroit with two spots to fill on the roster among six candidates, including the elusive Francisco Cruceta if his situation somehow gets cleared up.
And Leyland is assuming he needs to fill two spots, one of which would have been Rodney’s.
"If by chance Rodney gets ready, that’s like a bonus," Leyland said. "That’s like a Christmas present early."
Fernando Rodney threw his mound session as scheduled this morning. Threw fastballs and changeups for about
10 seven minutes and appeared fine. He’s in the OF shagging fly balls in BP now, so there are no obvious problems.