August 11th, 2008
The Blue Jays made a roster move after the game. Jesse Litsch was recalled from Syracuse and will start Thursday’s game instead of Roy Halladay, who will instead start on Friday at Boston. Good news for the Tigers potentially, bad news for fans who wanted to see Halladay on Thursday.
There’s some irony in the move. Halladay, like Justin Verlander, threw 130 pitches in his last start. This move allows manager Cito Gaston to push Halladay back a day.
“It gives Doc another day off,” Gaston told reporters. “It also gives him a chance to pitch against somebody we’re trying to catch.”
Here’s a selection of quotes from Tigers manager Jim Leyland on the Boston Globe article in which Gary Sheffield talked about his role as a platoon (otherwise known as my way of getting use out of quotes I transcribed but couldn’t fit into the article):
Leyland on Sheffield’s games played: “Like I said, I’m shocked, because this caught me totally off-guard. Before his [oblique] injury when we put him on the DL, he played 39 out of 51 games and about seven other games he couldn’t go to the post because his shoulder was clicking. So that would’ve been about  out of 51 games he would’ve been in. Post-DL, he’s played 36 out of 43 games, which means he hasn’t played seven, which means that you have a couple long games, night games, day games or something and you protect him a little bit. Well, that to me is the farthest thing from a platoon as I’ve ever heard of in my life, so I’m totally flabbergasted by it.”
Leyland on leadership: “Nobody’s a voice leader. You lead by example, by playing the game right. That’s how you lead. And I’m not talking about Gary Sheffield, I’m talking about anybody. That’s how you lead. You don’t lead by yelling. You lead by example. You lead by playing hard and showing other people how you play the game. That’s how you lead, so I’m befuddled by this article. I don’t understand what this article means at all. I have no clue how this article came about. I don’t know. I talked to the guy today who wrote the article. I told him I understand that this is stuff that Gary told you, but I want you to know that a lot of this stuff isn’t accurate. Gary Sheffield’s not a platoon player, is he?”
Leyland on the supposed platoon role: “I’ve never considered Gary Sheffield a platoon player in my life. He’s never been a platoon player since he’s been here, and he was made aware of the fact that when he accepted the trade here, that he was going to be the DH, period. So I don’t understand why that, all of a sudden, is a big point. That was decided before the trade was ever made. What’s the point? He’s not going to be the outfielder here. He’s going to be the DH, which is what he was told when he accepted the trade. I tried the outfield thing with him. I think I tried to respond in any way I could to try to get him going, obviously, because we need him. And I’m not mad at him. I’m just saying I’m totally surprised by all this.
“I’m still confused by the article because it talks about a platoon doesn’t sit well. Who is talking about a platoon? Gary Sheffield’s never platooned here as long as he’s been here. Platoon is when you have a left-handed hitter and a right-handed hitter. One plays against right-handed pitching and one plays against left-handed pitching. That is a platoon. Let me make that perfectly clear.”
Leyland on Sheffield’s outspokenness: “I’ve always been an admirer of Gary’s because he speaks what he feels, and I think he’s an admirer of me because I speak what I feel. And that’s the way I feel about it. I’m reading this article and it’s blindsided me, totally blindsided me. I don’t really know where it’s coming from or why the article was ever done. Based on what? You feel like a caged Tiger? What are you talking about? This is a guy who’s on his way to the Hall of Fame. Nobody’s been in his corner any more than me.”
Leyland on talking with Sheff: “I’ve never had a conversation where Gary Sheffield told me he’s unhappy in his role. I talk with all my players from time to time. I check with my players every day to see if they’re all right. I check with Gary every day and say, ‘You all right?’ I don’t have a long conversation with any of them, but, ‘Are you all right?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ That’s why this article blindsided me.”
Leyland on Sheff in the outfield: “I’ve got medical people telling me it’s suicidal to play him in the outfield right now, basically, because he’ll probably get hurt again. He might have to dive for a ball. It’s hard for him to throw. He’s throwing a little better than he was, but I just don’t get the drift of this.”
Sheffield on the article: “If you ever looked at the whole article, it was nothing that I was ticked off about. It was just these are the facts, and that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to accept it, that that’s the way they’re going to do it, and roll with it. I haven’t said anything all year, and I’m not going to start now. If they’re going to take that as some negative thing, go right ahead. I really don’t care anyways.”
Sheffield on Leyland’s reaction: “Ain’t nothing to try to blindside about. It’s a fact. I come in. Some days I don’t play, some days I play. That’s platooning to me. He might think it’s different. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a matter of that’s the way I see it.”
Sheffield on how his shoulder feels: “Feels great. I’m capable of playing outfield. If I feel good, I have a right to say I feel good. If I don’t, I have a right to say I don’t. Whoever takes offense to it, that’s their problem.”
All totaled, courtesy of associate reporter Scott McNeish, Leyland used the term “blindsided” six times. Four times, he said he was “caught off-guard.” He said he was “flabbergasted” three times, “shocked” and “befuddled” twice each, and one time each for “surprised” and “confused.” Sprinkled in with many of those terms was the term “totally,” as in “totally caught off-guard” or “totally blindsided.” The total use for “totally” was 10 times.
Jim Leyland took a look at the story in Sunday’s Boston Globe in which Gary Sheffield expressed his frustration about DH-ing and described his role as “platooning,” and in Leyland’s words, he was “totally caught off guard” by it. The DH role, Leyalnd emphasized, was something they agreed upon before trading for him in November 2006. They tried playing Sheffield in the outfield earlier this summer, and it didn’t work. Leyland also pointed out that Sheffield isn’t exactly platooning, having played the vast majority of the games in which he’s been available. Look for more about that on the site.
Also, Marcus Thames underwent an MRI exam this afternoon to check out his shoulder. Todd Jones threw in the bullpen today and said he’ll be ready to come off the DL on Friday when he’s eligible to be activated.
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Guillen, 3B
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Joyce, LF
- Sheffield, DH
- Renteria, SS
- Inge, C
BLUE JAYS (59-59)
- Joe Inglett, 2B
- Marco Scutaro, 3B
- Alex Rios, RF
- Vernon Wells, CF
- Matt Stairs, DH
- Rod Barajas, C
- Adam Lind, LF
- Lyle Overbay, 1B
- John McDonald, SS
He allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He basically kept Lakeland in a 2-1 game going into the eighth with seven straight batters retired — and no hits allowed since a two-run double in the third — before he gave up a leadoff homer and then walked the next batter. It’s his deepest outing to date, and statistically, probably his most encouraging.