March 2008

Granderson to DL

That pitch he took off of his hand on Saturday? It turned out to fracture his middle finger, right around the base. The hope at this point is that he’ll be in a split for about two weeks and hopefully be able to return to action soon after that once he gets back into a rhythm. No idea yet who will take his place in CF to begin the season, but this should ensure that Ryan Raburn makes the team out of camp.

Saturday's postscript

I was busy watching college basketball after the game — or what amounted to three-plus innings of baseball Saturday — but I wanted to get in some items that didn’t make the main story:

  • Kenny Rogers felt good about his command Saturday and suggested he’s rounding into shape as far as being ready for the season. He could’ve gone another inning had the elements allowed, but he instead finished out his day by throwing some extra pitches in the bullpen, giving him around 100 pitches for the afternoon.
  • Today was the first time I had seen Miguel Cabrera make a throwing error rather than a fielding one. He had a throw across the infield that was well low in the dirt that hopped to Carlos Guillen at first. The next play he had, he fired a very strong throw across the infield.
  • For those who missed it, Guillen made an excellent play on a rundown between first and second. Inge at short fired a ball that hit the player’s helmet and probably should’ve soared over some first basemen. Guillen, however, made a barehanded stab and caught it to make the out.

If you missed Kenny at bat Monday …

You get another chance to check it out today, since I think this game is on MLB.TV. That’s weather permitting, and it is raining here in Clearwater right now, but supposedly the showers will be scattered during the day. No DH means no Sheff again. Also, you get another day of Brandon Inge at short. Here’s the lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, 1B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 3B
  6. Jones, LF
  7. Rodriguez, C
  8. Inge, SS
  9. Rogers, P

And for the Phillies:

  1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
  2. Shane Victorino, CF
  3. Chase Utley, 2B
  4. Ryan Howard, 1B
  5. Pat Burrell, LF
  6. Pedro Feliz, 3B
  7. Geoff Jenkins, RF
  8. Chris Coste, C
  9. Chad Durbin, P

Belated plug for Curtis' bracket

If you’re reading this on Thursday morning before, say, noon, you might still have time to get in on Curtis Granderson’s bracket contest on ESPN.com. The winner receives an autographed bat from Curtis. And then there’s the subplot to see how many fans can beat Curtis. If his Kansas Jayhawks make an early exit, well, there could be a lot of fans in that category.

As for me, I can’t get past the idea of a Tennessee-Memphis rematch in San Antonio for everything, getting past UCLA — even I couldn’t bring myself to pick my alma mater Xavier to topple UCLA in the Elite Eight — and Kansas in the national semis. Is it crazy to think Memphis can beat Texas in Houston and that the Vols can top UNC in Charlotte? Probably, but both teams have won big games on the road this season. As Leyland would say, give me talent. If only they can make free throws …

Update on Hollimon

They’re still awaiting information on some more tests, but Jim Leyland said it’s very similar to what Wilkin Ramirez did last week in that it’s less severe than expected. He should not miss a lot of time. The Tigers sent him over to minor-league camp to rehab.

"That’s a tough blow for him, being here all spring and then getting ready to go over there and play every day," Leyland said. "But it’s not going to be long, so that’s the good thing. At least, we don’t expect it to be long."

UPDATE@3:30pm: Diagnosis confirmed, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. MRI exam results show nothing serious.

More moves

Well, not moves really, but moves to come. The Tigers announced they will put Fernando Rodney on the disabled list to start the season, along with Vance Wilson, Jordan Tata and Joel Zumaya. Rodney threw another bullpen session today, again not showing improvement to where they want.

Cuts today

Vasquez and Clevlen optioned to Toledo. Dolsi, Lambert, Larrison, St. Pierre, Treszniak, Hollimon and Sizemore assigned to minor league camp.
That leaves Bautista, Bazardo, Beltran and Lopez in camp among potential relievers.

Update on Hollimon

For those of you who were watching the game in the later innings, Michael Hollimon dislocated his left shoulder on a play in the field. He’ll undergo an MRI exam on Tuesday back in Lakeland.

Hope you're watching on TV

Late posting on the blog today, but the wireless wasn’t cooperating here at Ed Smith Stadium. Besides, it’s a TV game, so I figured you can keep up with what’s going on.

For what it’s worth, the Tigers hoped to have the DH in this game, but the Reds declined, as is their right. As a result, Detroit kept Gary Sheffield and Marcus Thames back in Lakeland to take swings there. Both will need to catch up on at-bats down the stretch thanks to injuries this spring, and you might see Thames head across the street for a day or two to get at-bats in minor-league games if need be.

Getting Thames at-bats once the season starts is another matter, and Leyland plans on moving him around to get those.

"He’ll play first base some. He’ll play right field some. He’ll play left field some," Leyland said.

He could see some at-bats against right-handers as a result, but that remains to be seen how it works out. Leyland does not want to call it a strict platoon in left field with Jacque Jones.

Don't ask about chemistry

Now that the NCAA brackets are out and I can focus again, I’ll leave you with this: I know a lot of people have asked about how well Willis’ personality has meshed in the clubhouse and what he can do for team chemistry. Jim Leyland, for his part, doesn’t buy into chemistry, as we all know. And he did his best today to get rid of that line of thought.

"That [stuff] is all overrated. Write that. All that [stuff] is overrated about the clubhouse. We’ve got a great clubhouse. We had a great clubhouse before Dontrelle got here, and we’ll have a better clubhouse since he got here, because he’s a good guy and a wonderful person. I’m interested in pitching and getting outs, hitting, making plays. I’m not interested in the clubhouse.

"All that [stuff] has been media [stuff] for years — great chemistry, great clubhouse. That’s the biggest bunch of [baloney] in the history of sports. Every time somebody wants to talk about great chemistry, [forget] the chemistry in the clubhouse. I’m interested in winning games, period. I don’t know who came up with it, but the worst word ever used now is chemistry. That’s something you take in school. That’s a class you take. If he gets people out, he’ll be fun in the clubhouse. If we win games, I’ll be fun in the clubhouse. If we don’t, I won’t be fun in the clubhouse, either. He’s a wonderful, wonderful person with a great personality. We’ve got a bunch of them."

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