July 2008

Dontrelle back on mound

The good news for Dontrelle Willis was that he didn’t walk anybody in his three innings of work for Class A Lakeland Thursday night. The real good news, in fact, was that he threw 26 of 32 pitches for strikes. The flip side is that he allowed a run on four hits.

The article on lakelandledger.com includes a quote from Flying Tigers pitching coach Joe Coleman that gives some insight on what they’re trying to do with Dontrelle. From the story:

“Chuck Hernandez and I have been working with Dontrelle to get him
to throw the ball to zones rather than trying to hit spots,” Lakeland
pitching coach Joe Coleman said, referring to his counterpart in

“Tonight’s outing was a very positive step toward
Dontrelle’s return to Detroit,” said Coleman, who had more good things
to say about Reinert.

If your next question is when will Dontrelle pitch again, I don’t have an answer for you. The Tigers have been very secretive about Dontrelle’s schedule and what they’re doing with him, which is what makes Coleman’s comments significant.


He left the game after aggravating his left hammy, the same injury that sidelined him before the break. You could see him struggling to get down the line on that double-play ball in the top of the eighth, even a little bit on that second-inning double. It wasn’t any particular play that tweaked it, he said, but it simply got worse as the game went on. He hopes to be available tomorrow, but we’ll see. If he’s still feeling it after resting for a week, that isn’t promising.

Quote of the night was Jones on his off-balance throw to first in the ninth: “That might be the luckiest, best play I ever made.”

Sherrill available tonight

If the O’s get the lead, they can go to George Sherrill, who pitched 2 1/3 innings in the All-Star Game Tuesday night but needed just 25 pitches to do it. Just figured it was worth a heads-up.

Miner to start on Monday, Guillen away

Bonine will be sent to Toledo to start there on Monday. As recently as this afternoon, Miner was scheduled to start for the Hens on Monday until the Tigers made the change. Leyland didn’t want to go into details.

In other news, Carlos Guillen is not available tonight. He’s back in Detroit, where his wife underwent surgery to take care of complications she was suffering after giving birth to their daughter a week and a half ago. Supposedly the surgery went well, thank goodness.

TIGERS (47-47)

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

ORIOLES (45-48)

  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. Adam Jones, CF
  3. Nick Markakis, RF
  4. Aubrey Huff, DH
  5. Kevin Millar, 1B
  6. Melvin Mora, 3B
  7. Ramon Hernandez, C
  8. Jay Payton, LF
  9. Brandon Fahey, SS

Neal, Hessman make Olympic roster

They were among a handful of minor-league veterans among the 23 players named to the Team USA roster today for next month’s Summer Games in Beijing. It takes a little bit away from the Tigers’ depth down the stretch, obviously — not to mention the Mud Hens’ fortunes — but it’s a big honor for the two and says something about the track record of success that has been put together in Toledo.

Thomas heads to Toledo

He’s optioned to make room for Magglio Ordonez, who will be activated from the disabled list tomorrow.

Still no definitive word yet on Monday’s starter, though it’s expected to be Bonine. The interesting part about the Thomas move, though, is that it leaves Jeff Larish around as the extra bat for the Orioles series. That could also be insurance for a first baseman in case Miguel Cabrera’s hip is still bothering him and he needs to DH, but we’ll see.

So much for not playing

Not only Carlos Guillen not left on the bench, he wasn’t even the last batter on the AL bench. He worked Brian Wilson for nine pitches — not a bad battle for coming in cold off the bench — before finally chasing the 97 mph heater up and away for the strikeout. Evan Longoria pinch-hit after him against Billy Wagner and provided the game-tying double.

Leyland's Yankee Stadium moment

While some of us were talking with Carlos Guillen in the Yankee clubhouse this afternoon before batting practice, Jim Leyland emerged from the clubhouse lounge with a smile on his face. He had just chatted for a half-hour with Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, the catcher Leyland idolized when he was growing up.

Among the stories, Leyland said, was Berra talking about calling a game for the pitchers during his playing career and how they never called for a cutter. They called it a fastball, and it went one way or the other.

“He was good,” Leyland said of the storytelling. “We had a good time.”

Ironically, AL manager Terry Francona apparently told reporters that one of his highlights of the last few days was hanging out with Leyland.

If you’re watching the game tonight on TV or wherever, watch for Leyland coaching third base during the bottom of the third inning. Apparently AL manager Terry Francona wants the coaches, both the ones off of his Boston staff and the other AL managers he brought on, to each get a chance to coach one of the bases, so they’ll rotate.

As for Guillen, he supposedly will be the odd man out, the utility guy held back in reserve in case Francona needs to insert somebody late. In this case, his versatility works against him.

Bonine's injury

Sorry the posts haven’t been regular the last few days. Things have been hectic here in NY, and as long as I was here, I wanted to fit in a run in Central Park. That was yesterday. Today, it’s all work, including a media session this morning with many of the Hall of Famers in attendance for the ceremonies here, which was pretty cool.

To update you on Eddie Bonine, he left his start for Double-A Erie Monday after taking a drive off of his shin. Supposedly he could’ve pitched on, but they took him out as a precaution. He’s heading back to Toledo, where he’s renting, and awaiting his marching orders. Unless something changes all of a sudden, he’s expected to start for the Tigers next Monday at Kansas City.

Sardinha clears waivers

He has been outrighted to Triple-A Toledo.