July 3rd, 2008

Could Zumaya start for Tigers?

It’s possible, just not soon.

When Jim Leyland was asked before Thursday’s game about whether there was any chance they would convert Zumaya back into a starter again someday, Leyland gave a surprising answer.

“It’s possible,” Leyland said, “but it would be down the road. I’m not sure about that yet. I’ve been thinking about that, to be honest with you. That’s not something I would do right now necessarily.”

Most of you probably remember the decision the Tigers made two years ago, when Leyland decided to keep Zumaya on the Opening Day roster and not only use him out of the bullpen, but use him in big situations. Zumaya had come up through the minors as a starter. That, of course, was the start of a budding rookie season before injuries have limited him since.

Leyland did not want to discuss it much more than that.

“I’m not going to get into that because it’s down the road,” Leyland said. “I’m just thinking. I’ve thought about it. I’ve thought about all these scenarios with him.”

On a related note, Leyland said that Zach Miner will not be used as a starter unless they were in a case of dire need. Miner will be in the rotation at Triple-A Toledo after being optioned from Detroit on Wednesday, but Leyland insisted the sole purpose was to get him to work on throwing all of his pitches rather than getting power-happy with the fastball.

Cabrera's back

So am I, but that’s not really news so much as it’s the work schedule.

The lineups should be interesting this weekend because of the game times this series — essentially alternating night games and day games for four days. Jim Leyland knew he wanted to play Hollimon once during this night game-day game set, and he decided on tonight against the right-handed Carlos Silva rather than Friday against Erik Bedard. Look for Dane Sardinha to catch at least once, possibly twice this weekend, but not tonight.

TIGERS (42-42)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, 3B
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Joyce, RF
  6. Sheffield, DH
  7. Thomas, LF
  8. Rodriguez, C
  9. Hollimon, SS

MARINERS (33-51)

  1. Ichiro, RF
  2. Jose Lopez, 2B
  3. Raul Ibanez, LF
  4. Jose Vidro, DH
  5. Adrian Beltre, 3B (four games against Detroit could push him over 20 HRs)
  6. Jeremy Reed, CF
  7. Richie Sexson, 1B
  8. Jeff Clement, C
  9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Thames up for Pepsi Clutch award

It’s an award that goes each month, according to the press release, to recognize “the player who consistently performed his best when the game was on the line” in a given this month — in this case, June. Marcus Thames is one of six nominees along with Jose Guillen, Jason Giambi, Dan Haren, John Lackey and Aramis Ramirez. The voting site is pepsiclutch.mlb.com. Voting runs through next Wednesday.

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