February 28th, 2009

Nervous day for Kibler

Jon Kibler normally has a good amount of jitters before a game, he said, but he usually gets past them pretty quickly after a game. Saturday’s jitters stayed with him throughout his outing, setting the tone for what could’ve been a pretty long day at the park had he not made the pitches he needed to get out of it.

In Kibler’s defense, though, he did make some quality pitches, including some with two strikes. The good news for him is that he’ll get another start Wednesday against Panama. When I asked Leyland in the wake of the Bonderman news if he had any plans to shuffle the pitching order around to have some other guys fill innings on the days Bonderman would’ve pitched, Leyland said he did not.

Other notes …

  • I’m sure this will get a mixed reaction from readers, but Brandon Inge’s home run today was very much a product of his adjustment to raise his hands at the plate. It was an offspeed pitch inside, and Inge was able to keep it fair with enough loft to get it down the line and out. If his hands were lower like before, Inge said, he would’ve either pulled that ball foul or plain missed it.
  • Very good read from Curtis Granderson on a low line drive from former Tiger Ramon Martinez, just left of straightaway center field. Granderson had to come in and make a diving catch. Granderson said afterwards that he’s working on reading balls like that better so that he can prepare himself for trying to do the same at Comerica Park, where low line drives can be tougher to read against the backdrop of fans sitting far back from the field of play. Look for more about that on the site tonight.
  • Leyland said he talked to his hitters today about not giving away at-bats this spring. His point was that they can’t afford to come out of the gate struggling at the plate like last year.

What to look for Sunday against the Pirates at historic McKechnie Field:

  • Ryan Perry is scheduled to make his first game appearance. Other pitchers include the starter, Justin Verlander, plus Zach Miner, Clay Rapada, Macay McBride, Casey Fien, Zach Simons, Alfredo Figaro
  • Regulars: Curtis Granderson (last game before World Baseball Classic), Gary Sheffield, Adam Everett, Brandon Inge, Placido Polanco, plus Marcus Thames. Matt Treanor will start again at catcher.
  • The weather is supposed to be crummy for Florida — mid-60s for a high with scattered storms and gusty winds all day.
  • When the Tigers went to Bradenton last year, Dick Vitale was in the crowd and paid a visit with Leyland. This year, with the game on a Sunday in the middle of college basketball’s stretch drive, I imagine he’s out somewhere on assignment. Villanova is at Notre Dame for the early game on Big Monday coming up.

Another injury for Team USA outfield

Colorado’s Brad Hawpe had to pull out of the World Baseball Classic with an injured left hand. No replacement was immediately announced, but suffice it to say, Granderson’s role on Team USA seems to be getting bigger.

Granderson is expected to play for the Tigers in Sunday’s game against the Pirates at Bradenton, weather permitting, before heading to Clearwater Sunday night for a Team USA. They’ll work out in Clearwater for most of next week and play a few Spring Training games before heading to Toronto next weekend for the opening round.

Today's game

Just a reminder that the game today is on Tigers radio back in chilly Detroit as well as online. It’s probably the last game for a while where the Tigers are going to have all their regulars, because players in the World Baseball Classic start reporting to their camps on Sunday night. Here are the lineups:

TIGERS (1-2)

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

PITCHING: Jonathan Kibler, Bobby Seay, Brandon Lyon, Eddie Bonine, Kyle Bloom

METS (2-1)

  1. Angel Pagan, CF
  2. Andy Green, 2B
  3. Daniel Murphy, LF
  4. Bobby Kielty, DH
  5. Nick Evans, 1B
  6. Jeremy Reed, RF
  7. Robinson Cancel, C
  8. Ramon Martinez, 3B
  9. Alex Cora, SS

PITCHING: Jonathon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Brian Stokes, Matt DeSalvo, Heriberto Reules, Valerio de los Santos, Jon Switzer, J.J. Putz

Jeff Larish is not available again today. He tried to give it a go in batting practice this morning, but his neck is still stiff.

No simulated game for Bonderman

UPDATE @ 11:50am: The simulated game for Jeremy Bonderman that had
been scheduled for this morning has been scratched. The Tigers medical staff has put Bonderman on anti-inflammatory medication in an effort to get rid of the stiffness, which is centered in his throwing shoulder. He’s basically day-to-day until the stiffness goes down.

Bonderman said he’s been told that the soreness comes from getting that last bit of extension out of his arm. He said he felt it during both of his live BP sessions.

“I expected it to feel sore,” he said, “but I expected it to go away.”

Larish day-to-day with stiff neck

Jeff Larish’s quest to crack the Tigers’ roster as a utilityman is temporarily on hold. The corner infielder and outfielder was scratched from Friday’s starting lineup and is considered day-to-day with a stiff neck.

Larish was slated to start at first base in Friday’s game against the Blue Jays, but woke up with restricted movement in the left side of his neck. The athletic training staff was able to loosen it up a little bit, but he still felt it during pregame batting practice.

“I’m trying to be optimistic and should be able to go tomorrow [at home against the Mets],” Larish said.

Larish started at third base Thursday against the Nationals. The Tigers are trying to use him at both corners, and they hope to give him some playing time in the corner outfield spots.