March 4th, 2009

Curveballs in Bloom

Jim Leyland kept saying he was real pleased with Kyle Bloom’s curveball early in Spring Training. Bloom kept using his other pitches in his first couple outings. Well, Bloom got the message, even if he said nobody intentionally delivered it to him.

“They wanted me to throw it,” Bloom said, “so today I was bound and determined to throw it.”

It’s a good thing he did, because it got him a big out in a key situation. After a Ruben Rivera double with one out in the fourth, Bloom got to face a left-handed hitter in Audes De Leon. He not only walked De Leon on four pitches, but his wild pitch on ball four allowed Rivera to advance to third and set up a sacrifice fly.

Just as Panama had a chance for its first win, Bloom took it away. Facing Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, a right-handed hitter, Bloom moved ahead on a 1-2 count before dropping the breaking ball on the corner for a called third strike. A popout to third escaped Bloom from trouble, and sent him on his way to two scoreless innings.

“I’m happy to get out of a jam this early,” he said.

What to look for Thursday:

  • Zach Miner gets his first start of Spring Training as he tries to continue his case for the fifth starter’s job, not to mention rebound from a rough outing Sunday against the Pirates.
  • Juan Rincon, Scott Williamson and Fernando Rodney are all slated to pitch in relief. All three of them pitched in a simulated game Monday to give some actual game innings to other relievers, so this will be their first game action since last Friday against the Blue Jays.
  • Casey Fien is also pitching in relief.

Hollimon leaves game

UPDATE @ 5pm: Tests on Hollimon’s right middle finger came back negative, so there’s no damage to the bones in there. Catcher Max St. Pierre’s throw on a first-inning steal of third caught Hollimon’s finger and pulled back the nail. It isn’t torn off or split or anything, but depending on how it looks Thursday, they still might have to remove it. Gross indeed, but it shouldn’t mean any lost playing time.

Hollimon left Wednesday’s game after one inning, replaced by Mike Hessman.

As for Wilkin Ramirez, he said it was a full collision with Panama first baseman Julio Zuleta, and it shook him up a bit. He and the Tigers said after the game that he’s fine. That’s big, because with Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez all off to the World Baseball Classic, there isn’t a ton of outfield depth in camp.

Granderson on Letterman

letterman.jpgCurtis Granderson will make an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman Thursday night. He’ll be among the members of Team USA reading answers for the Top Ten list that night. I guess they taped it already, and he’s somewhere in the middle of the list, for whatever that’s worth.


Here’s guessing it might be a little quieter at the ballpark today,
though I admittedly have no idea what kind of following Panama is going
to bring to this game. In terms of the Tigers lineup, it looks a little
like the batting order sent out for the Florida Southern game:

  1. Santiago, SS
  2. Perez, RF
  3. Thomas, DH
  4. Kelly, 1B
  5. Ramirez, LF
  6. Clevlen, CF
  7. St. Pierre, C
  8. Hollimon, 3B
  9. Rhymes, 2B

PITCHING: Rick Porcello, Kyle Bloom, Ryan Perry, Clay Rapada