Guillen returns, but not starting

He arrived the ballpark straight from the airport just before noon or so. His wife is still in the hospital, he said, but she’s stable, and they’re hoping she’ll be able to go home tonight.

Inge gets the start at third in what is a different-looking infield for the getaway day. Ryan Raburn gives Placido Polanco a game off at second base, and Ramon Santiago does the same for a hobbled Edgar Renteria at short. Ivan Rodriguez moves up to the second spot.

TIGERS (48-49)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Rodriguez, C (6-for-17 in the two hole this year)
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Thames, LF
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Raburn, 2B
  9. Santiago, SS

ORIOLES (47-49)

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Nick Markakis, RF
  3. Melvin Mora, 3B
  4. Aubrey Huff, 1B
  5. Kevin Millar, DH
  6. Luke Scott, LF
  7. Jay Payton, CF
  8. Guillermo Quiroz, C
  9. Juan Castro, SS

41 Comments

I read that Polanco is getting a blow today. (Raburn getting the start) Well that makes sense, since he finally recovered from a slump and pounded 4 hits yesterday.
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Given the present roster this is what I would do today:

Granderson CF
Polanco 2B
Ordonez RF
Cabrera 1B
Sheffield DH
Pudge C
Thames LF
Santiago SS
Inge 3B
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I don’t see Raburn as a player who can contribute as a starter. The swing is too long and the long ball success ratio does not correlate with it. He is an emergency role player who will have “moments” but does not appear to have the style that lends itself to be consitently productive.
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I still think the team needs a “shake-up” call. This could come in the form of a return to SS for Carlos but that is not really a solution, only a compromise. It could come in the form of a trade. Sure wouldn’t mind seeing a Robertson/Renteria package going to where they might be able to produce (the National League comes to mind). Or it could come in the form an internal motivator like simply switching roles for Cab and Ordonez. It might light a fire under Cab who seems young and impressionable enough for something like that to matter to him.
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It also would seem to serve to send a message to Ordonez that his prestige and status have to be continually earned and are not a right given to last years batting champion. Besides, he has not really been producing with men on anyway.
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It is pretty apparent that we need another starter. I think Galarrag is for real but he is at best a middle of the rotation guy. Our back end of Robertson and Miner is gonna be the deathknell in the stretch.

I don’t like JL’s lineup much. Thames-Inge-Raburn gives you 3 RHB with the long swing up connsecutively. Really weakens the bottom of the order.
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Be nice if all 3 of them go on a tear against the southpaw but I think you need to alternate batting style as much as what side you bat from.

Good to see that Carlos wife is stable.Get well soon….Dan, I like you`re defensive alignment with Inge and Santigo on the left side.I wouldnt bat Maggs 3rd,though.He has a 1.41 GO/AO ratio,which would get him35-40 DP`s a year.He`s a better candidate for 5,where he will hit a lot with 2 out,or leading off an inning…..Agree with team shake-up idea.Problem is would JL do that without showing favoritism to his pet players?Been thinking about our situation and have concluded that perhaps the best trade we could make,just might be Carlos.His value right now is peaked.We could probally get a SP for him.I know he is a huge fan favorite,But in my estimation his value is highly overrated.He doesnt belong anywhere on the field defensively with a contact pitching team.He has great hands for balls that are close to him,but he has poor range gloveside,and is terrible at coming in on balls.He is a 2,5, or 6 hitter,but definitly not a 3 hitter….His worth will only continue to go down from here on in.I would love him as a DH and part time position player,but,I feel that his negative contingent factors spills out onto the rest of the team.He prevents us from fielding a championship caliber team,and poses an obstacle in bringing in younger,quicker talent.I`d rather see Shef dealt to make room at DH for him or Maggs,but doubt that will happen.He doesnt hit well enough to justify putting him back at short or 3rd for that matter.Ground ball hits are killing us right now.Lots of people call them seeing eye hits.Those seeing eye hits can be drastically reduced by playing better,quicker fielders.Our pitchers are trained to throw ground ball pitches.We need to field those ground balls with good defensive players.He doesnt produce nearly enough at the plate to use him in the infield.Not hat he couldnt play there on many teams,but he is definitly not championship caliber talent,unless he DH`s.

It may seem easy to say after a strike-out with the bases loaded but that was a brutal AB by Thames.
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Cabrera walked on 4 pitches nowhere near the plate. Marcus come up and immediately puts himself behind in the count by swinging at the 1st pitch (which was down and in). As a hitter with the bases full and having watched the guy just walk the guy ahead of you, you need to take that pitch.
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Then after that he couldn’t find the slider which was the only pitch the guy could get over the plate. Thames continues to be boom or bust and continues to define his career as a utility player.

Bruce–I like Guillen as DH too. For this year. Long term, no.
I would rather see him at short than Renteria. I don’t think he is major league caliber there either but I just can’t stomach watching Renteria out there anymore. I actually prefer Santiago.
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Carlos is a good guy have to around. As close to a leader as we have. But as a DH, not enough power or average for my liking.
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My point about the long swing guys looks like it was borne out Thames-Inge-Raburn K-K-K. (I’ll bet that gets censored!).
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Sure would like to see a win but really unless the roster on the team is changed we aren’t going to produce enough to win enough.
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If things aren’t righted soon, I would be calling up the kids from AA as well.

Charge that run to JL. If our secondbaseman was out there it’s an out.

The broadcasters have our team summed up pretty good. They figure we have a weak outfield, bad defense, poor middle relief and below average starting.
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I’d say they are pretty much right on.
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I sure want to see Verlander plunk Scott–I don’t like the guy. He’s a jerk.

I bet JV is wondering where all those runs are that we got yesterday. You can bet you give Justin 6 in the 1st and you can put a ‘W” in the win column. He doesn’t seem to get much run support.
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Dan, I was pretty much talking about next year,but I doubt we can unload Shef.I dont want to see Carlos on the field next year at short or 3rd.Our team has to fix the defensive problems in order to compete for the Series.He is the leader of this team in my view.And he is a quality guy.He also is JL`s favorite player,which is a problem.He has a great backhand glove,but he cannot make the throw from deep short.He could`nt do it last year,and his ability to come in on a play and make an accurate throw on the run could very well be his Achilles Heel.His worth right now is probally as high as it will ever be.But,where to put him on a contaqct pitching club is a real dilemma.Around .950 and real poor RF for sinker pitchers like ours at short.He cant produce enough runs to compensate for all those seeing eye hits that turn into runs 2 batters later.His legs will always be in question.If he does`nt DH,he is a liability in the field.What we gain with his bat is lost by his fielding.Edgar healthy is a much better fielder than Carlos,even with Edgars declining range.I`ve said before at short I`d rather see Ray Oyler like prospects out there instead of Edgar or Carlos,because of what they(Ray like fielders) can do for our pitching staff.Oyler was lucky to hit .200,but he saved innumerable games with his glove.Look at the 68 Tigers.Their defense was as solid as it got up the middle.And all the old timers from Cobb to Cochrane swore that the only way to build a championship team was to get the best fielding catcher,2nd baseman,shortstop and center fielder.That was always the top priority and first element of building a team to vy for a championship.Hitting was 2nd emphasis.We only have Curtis and Polly in the field(not counting catcher & pitcher) that are good defenders.We cant compete with contenders down the stretch with 2 defenders,although I think Cab is going to turn into a good 1st baseman.It wont be long before Maggs should DH too.

I can’t believe our bats aren’t smoking this guy all over the park.

Yep,Opposing teams are hitting close to .300 this year against him

The enigmatic Detroit Tigers. Here is a game where their ace is doing his job, trying to be the stopper that is needed, and they can’t parcel together a few runs for him.
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Some of the reason behind it is the lineup I’m sure. We need Ordonez and Cab to do something here before the triplets come up again.

The triplets came through. They all struck out the first time, they all made easy outs the 2nd time and they all got hits the 3rd time!!!
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Time for a little hit & run then time for Curtis to have a good AB.
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Yeah,Hard to guage the tripletts.Marcus will always strikeout a lot.But his HR per at bat is the best by far in the leagueBrandons defense puts him in that Oyler like league,but he doesnt hit into DP`s and has xbh power.Marcus has hit into only 2 DP`s this year as well as Brandon.Ryan can play a bunch of positions,including catcher which makes him a valuble asset to the club.I think a good hitting instructer could shorten his swing and help him be more of a line drive hitter while reducing his strikeouts.

My mistake Inge has hit into only 1 DP this year

Be obviously nice to get some add-on runs here. A 2 run game against these potent LHBs is not a lot. A bad play or a hit or 2 or a tater and they’re back in it. It would be a shame to drop this one.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Joyce marched out to LF this inning.

Yep Dan,Our pen is pretty taxed.This is the day Justin needs to go 8 or complete the game.He only has 68 pitches coming into the 7th.JV has done what our ace is supposed to do so far.Keep it up.Go Tigers

84 pitches after 7.Let him go all the way!

That’s a nice job by JV again. He deserves this win and the team owes it to him to make sure he gets it.
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Both of the hits off him today actually could have been caught.

That’s a nice piece of hitting by Thames but how in the world can a MLB player not score from 1st on that play?
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Casey used to drive me nots for clogging up the bases and we have replaced him with a guy who may even be slower. I presume when Miguel is healthy that he runs a little better than he has shown thus far.
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On a positive note-he is making great strides defensively IMO.

No hits today from the 1-2-3 hitters

Granderson is struggling and Pudge is streaky. Sheffield, well, Sheffield is Sheffield.
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I hope Leyland does not bring in Jones to give him work in the 9th. 4 run leads are not his forte.
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Let Verlander finish it.

Great job by JV.under 100 pitches thru 8.I imagine Todd will close it out with a 4 run lead.JV is really pitching like an ace today.Come on Tigers 1 more inning and this goes in the W column

I wouldn’t do it but if I thought JV should come out I would bring in Seay.

JV`s ERA now under 4 at 3.97…..Good call Dan, JL is letting him go all the way.He has really turned his season around and is our most dependable starter now.Keep it going JV. We need every win possible from here on in

Dan,Did you see JV leave the mound.He was shaking his head.I think he is P.O`d with JL.Rich and the fans gave JV a standing O when he left.

This is BS .. I really don’t understand JL. He says he wants to win and make the best moves, and he doesn’t get TJ last night.
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Pple who perform are “rested”. I am all for going for the win and like TJ. BUT JV should have been left in for at least 1 more batter. We need one out, and have a 4 run cusion. Also, JV was still throwing good strikes.
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JL loves to discourage good performance

Brandon just stopped a two run double.Too bad they cant add those 2 to his RBI total,cause they`re just the same as knocking in 2 runs.But that 9th inning 2 out stop by Inge is why he would be playing every game for me at 3rd.( I would like to see him at short for 10 consecutive games)He is a champion quality fielder.

I told my wife that millar is going to clobber the ball and hopefullly somebody makes a great play. Well you don’t see a better play than the one Inge just made.
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This is my problem with Todd Jones. It almost seems that the game is hinged upon whether aor not you are lucky enough to have a bll hit right at you or somebody turns an exceptional play. All the Jones lovers in the world will never convince me (even with the save/opportunity #) that he is the closer that will win you a championship. He is an accident waiting to happen.
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Yesterday Luke Scot was bush–today it was Leyland. Yes, JV was probably out of gas, it was hot, he was over 105 pitches, I know all that, but he still had one thing working for him…his heart. That intangible would have seen him get the last out. Seems to me that sometimes JL likes to show everybody who is boss.
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Did you see Rcih there? When and where?
That’s cool.
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Nice win but 2 out of 4 ain’t gonna cut it when we are a .500 ball club already.
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It was real nice to see the triplets recover after a questionable start. Kudos to them.
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Yeah Dan, I agree.You have to have a lights out stopper to play contenders and win cosistantly.But,you also have to have great defense to go all the way.That is why I get so worked up over our left side of our infield.Guys like Inge will never hit for average,but he drives the ball out of the infield usually when he does hit it.He drives in runs fairly decent, but he saves you a lot of runs with his defense and gets pitchers out of trouble.They dont keep stats like that,but if they did people would look at Inge in a far greater light and with an enormous amount of appreciation for what he does for his team,and especially pitchers…..The 6-9 hitters got 7 of the 10 hits tonight and most of the RBI`s,so hats off to them.Great pitching,good defense,and some timely hitting from the bottom of the order.Keep it Rollin Tigers.Dont give in!

I didnt actually see Rich,But the fans gave him a standing O and I know Rich was going so I figured for sure he was one of the fans cheering for JV.Cant wait to hear Rich`s insights and thoughts about both games.I think he went yesterday,also.Gotta go in KC tommorrow and take that series.Go Tigers!

That was an unfair hook of Justin by JL. Justin deserved one more batter, which would have been the one Todd WALKED. Anyway Justin is doing his best to keep the Tigers in the race. I said before that I think when he was 2-9 he dug his cletes in and simply would not accept a 10th loss. He has gone 6 straight, and it should have been 7. He may still win 17-18 games.
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Santiago quietly collects the hits and nobody seems to notice. OF COURSE he is the logical starting shortstop……slick fielding 350 hitter…….. so he doesn’t hit HR’s. We have plenty of guys who will. Can I get a duh?
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Inge saves the game and shows why he should be playing 3rd regularly. Can I get another duh?
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And why do we expect Thames to hit a HR (or even a hit) every time he’s up with men in scoring position? It was a poor AB but it’s not like other ball players don’t do the same thing. Marcus came through again today, supplying 40% of the run production. If he has a good game every other game, since when is that inconsistent? I get tired of the condescending remarks that he can’t play every day. You can DH him or you can play him in LF but get him in the game. Sorry, this is one opinion I get wound up about.

Marty, I like Thames, I like him a lot, but my point is that he keeps showing (at least as far as JL is concerned) why he has never been given the chance to play regularly. I think he SHOULD be given the CHANCE to show he can play regularly. I think he should be the DH ahead of Gary Sheffield too. I don’t think he should be our regular left fielder though. I also think he has to be amenable to altering his batting approach when the situation calls for it. In my books Thames is stalwart. I believe, like I do re Inge, if the Tigers don’t play these guys then they should trade them to a team that will play them.
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This is where it gets interesting to see what Leyland does with the DH. Carlos is coming back. He has played much better at 3rd than he did initially but it is pretty clear what Inge can do over there for this pitching staff. The logical place for Carlos is DH and Inge at 3B. Most games anyway and certainly against LHP. Inge is one of the few guys that can actually “pick the team up” with his play.
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I don’t like the situation with Inge but as it is a situation that has to be worked with I would not hesitate to remove Cab for a pinch-runner, move Inge in defensively and shift Carlos to 1st in the late innings.
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I see Marcus as the more or less regular LF with Joyce occasionally spelling him against some RHP and defensively..
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It ain’t easy for the players and it ain’t easy for JL, but some things should be pretty clear.

Hi all. I did leave a comment on here last night when I returned to the hotel, but there was something I wanted to add to last night’s game.
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JL, some players, and some fans have commented that the missed call was bad, but it never should have reached that point. Obviously I agree with that, but the fact is it did reach that point. What I’m saying is, I’m sitting there all bummed out after we blew a big lead. Glancing up at the scoreboard, I see it’s the 4th inning and we’re down by two. Okay, so be it. Isn’t this what JL himself always preaches, to grind out a win in any way, shape or form? So we blew the lead, so be it, let’s grind this out. And that’s exactly what the guys did. Starting with Fossum, we shut them down and got the lead back. It’s shaping up as an uplifting win, then Zoom gives up the homer. Okay again, let’s grind this out. And again, we did. With 2 out and no one on, Polanco doubles and Sheff singles, only to have Brian Runge totally blow the call. That’s not the team’s fault. They overcame all the obstacles except the one they couldn’t control. That’s a positive. I will add one giant caveat, however, and that is: taking positives from a loss is something that losing teams do. So that’s that, unfortunately.
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There was an interesting promotion today. Since the O’s had lost 14 consecutive Sunday games, the club offered free tickets, in the same seating category, for any non-prime game, if the Orioles won today. Yeah. If we had to split the series, I wish we’d have won Saturday and lost today. Baltimore’s not so far away that I wouldn’t have taken advantage of that.
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Marty, I’m with ya on your observations, although I will say that Thames is getting a lot more PT than he used to. I’m all for Inge/Santiago on the left side as I’ve said many times. How you do that, I don’t care, just do it. I guarantee it will lead to more wins.
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There was a pretty boisterous round of boos today from the many Tiger fans in attendance when JL popped out of the dugout in the 9th to lift JV. Justin had that rueful smile of his as he walked off. No way I lift him with two out. The bullpen is in tatters, Jones is in a funk, it was a poor morale move, and just stunk all the way around. Good thing Inge was there to save the day or JL might be in the unemployment line tonight.
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I guess the split is okay if we take 2 of 3 from KC, but it’s another week off the ever diminishing calendar. And I’d still like to see what another manager would do with this particular group of ballplayers.
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–Rich

Dan, I’m reading that you got a big dose of Baltimore announcers this weekend. When I first moved down here, there was no MLB.TV, no MLB Extra Innings, no Washington Nationals, and if I wanted to watch baseball, I had to watch the Orioles. So I did. Jim Palmer will talk nonstop if you let him. He talks so much that he’s bound to get some things dead right, and some things make you just wonder what the heck he’s talking about. He may not know himself. I don’t even listen to him anymore, it’s just background noise. Believe it or not, the addition of Gary Thorne this season has actually muted Palmer some, since Gary carries a fairly big personality of his own. You hockey fans will remember Gary as the voice of the Stanley Cup playoffs over the years of Red Wings success, and I’ve always liked him a lot. I did notice a number of errors in his research this weekend, however. I probably expect too much, because the guy really is good. He just needs to watch his volume at times.
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I hate it when the Tigers play Baltimore because everything here is blacked out except for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, MASN. Although they tout high-def games, they rarely broadcast one. Their analog signal is also terrible, as the games always look fuzzy, dark and cheap, with bad camera angles to boot. You get no sense of viewing a game being played in a large ballpark.
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Okay, that’s enough yakking from me for one sitting.
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–Rich

I can’t believe it! I had this blog going where I absolutely solved all the Tiger problems(in your dreams Marty):) and somehow lost it while researching the “up the middle” defensive alignments for the 1968 and 1984 Tigers, and I was only trying to make sure I had everyone’s names spelled correctly. Huboy.
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OK, one observation I had mentioned was that Dan, with all respect, in your last blog you stated Marcus should, and then should not be our regular LFer. You’ve got to pick one.

Depends Marty. If JL gets his way and insists on Guillen at 3B then I want Marcus as my DH, hands down over Sheffield.
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If Guillen gets the DH role,( which he won’t) then Marcus gets to play LF but has to split time with Thomas or Joyce. And if not then platoon with Marcus and Thomas/joyce with Marcus getting most (60/40) of the playing time.
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In the succeeding years I don’t see him being our regular left-fielder. I see Clevlen coming up at least and Ordonez shifting to LF if he stays.
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My disappointment with Marcus is that he just can’t seem to just turn the corner and become impossible for JL to find an excuse to sit him. I can see why he does even at times that I don’t agree with it.
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So if i HAVE to pinpoint if Marcus should be our regular LF then the answer is no. (see above) But if I get a chance to hope for who my regular LF is then I would say yes. I can live with a .265 BA and 35 -40 HRs from my LF.
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And if that is not clear aenough then that means I have been listening to JL get away with double talk all season, and I can’t help myself!!

The LF position has plagued the tigers for a couple of years now. Gone are the days of Willie Horton and Charlie Maxwell.

Neither of whom ever hit as well as Marcus has this season, legends though they may be.
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But hey, “Marcus has earned a chance to play, and he’s my leftfielder from now on. At least until tomorrow night, when I’m starting Larish out there. Inge will be at first and Cabrera is catching. I think Miguel can do it. I like him. I like him a lot. And Santiago, every team should have a guy like him. The bench would look empty if not for the great job he does. He’s earned his spot on this club. I’ve also decided to move Edgar Renteria into the starting rotation. No questions, that’s the end of the conversation.”

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