May 28th, 2008

Granderson to play against lefties

He’s in the lineup tonight against Joe Saunders, and Jim Leyland says he’s going to play him against all but the really nasty lefties for the near term.

“He’s a catalyst for us,” Leyland said. “We’ve got to get him going.”

Granderson has said several times over the last few years that facing a left-handed pitcher can get him going at the plate once he faces right-handers again, because it forces him to concentrate more and stay on the ball, getting him out of a mode where he might be pulling everything. Leyland openly wonders whether Granderson’s injured hand is hurting, but Granderson says he’s fine.

For this trip, it only looks like one more lefty starter awaits after tonight. The Mariners changed their rotation and pulled lefty Jarrod Washburn for the weekend series. Felix Hernandez will now pitch Saturday, with Miguel Batista going Sunday. Once the Tigers get to Oakland next week, Dave Eveland is on schedule to face them.

The other adjustment is that Marcus Thames will be starting regularly in left for a little while.

“Marcus has earned his shot over the last couple years,” Leyland said. “Let’s see what he can do.”

Leyland talked about DHing Guillen, but he decided in the end to give him the night off coupled with Thursday’s off-day in hopes of getting him well for Seattle.

Here’s the full lineup:

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, LF
  4. Ordonez, DH
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Rodriguez, C
  7. Renteria, SS
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Raburn, RF

For the Angels, who will give Vladimir Guerrero the night off:

  1. Reggie Willits, LF
  2. Maicer Izturis, SS
  3. Garret Anderson, DH
  4. Torii Hunter, CF
  5. Gary Matthews Jr., RF
  6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  7. Mike Napoli, C
  8. Brandon Wood, 3B
  9. Sean Rodriguez, 2B