March 11th, 2009

What a relief for Williamson

If I’m going to mention Scott Williamson when he doesn’t pitch well, I figure it’s worth a little more than a mention when he comes back with a solid outing the very next time he takes a mound.

“Baseball’s like that,” Williamson said after his scoreless inning Wednesday. “You get a chance the next day.”

The last time we saw Williamson on the mound against the Yankees, his game looked very much like it was falling apart. He walked four batters, gave up two hits and was pulled before he could get through the inning, having retired just two of the eight batters he faced. He was one of the reasons behind the Tigers’ 10 walks before they could get through five innings.

That was Sunday. On Monday, Williamson was back on a mound, working with pitching coach Rick Knapp in a side session for 10-15 minutes. He was back out there against the Yankees on Wednesday, and not only did he toss a perfect inning this time around, he stayed in and pitched another one.

“Today, I just didn’t go out there thinking about mechanics,” Williamson said.

He was thinking out there on the mound Sunday, and it clearly didn’t help him settle down. He also said he might have been trying to throw hard in that game, and that didn’t help, either. Knapp had him work on taking just a little bit off his pitches and still gettng pretty good momentum.

In Wednesday’s case, each reliever seemed to build momentum for whoever came in after them. After Justin Verlander walked four batters and finished with well over 50 pitches in his two innings, which is about two fewer than expected, Tigers relievers scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings. Casey Fien retired the Yankees in order to continue his eye-opening Spring Training. Juan Rincon preceded Williamson with two innings of his own, giving him six scoreless innings this spring. Alfredo Figaro finished out the Yankees for the save.

Speaking of Fien, he credits Knapp’s work with helping him throw quality strikes rather than leaving too much over the plate. The knee-to-knee drills Knapp brought in to help pitchers aim for the catcher’s mitt has become part of Fien’s routine. He’s doing them three or four times a week.

Thames out a week with ab strain

An examination today revealed Marcus Thames has a strained abdominal muscle, according to manager Jim Leyland. He’ll be rested for about a week.

Laird catching

Gerald Laird is now starting at catcher. Dane Sardinha is not at the park at the moment, dealing with a personal issue.

Strained abdomen for Thames

Marcus Thames was being examined by a doctor today after straining his abdomen on a diving attempt Tuesday. Hoping to get word later on his situation.

Treanor to rest a few days

Talked this morning with catcher Matt Treanor, who is under orders to rest for the next few days. His body is still recovering from sports hernia surgery, which is why he did not make the trip to Jupiter. Dane Sardinha is starting at catcher.

Here are the lineups for the latest tilt against the Yankees, who sent several regulars on the short trip from Tampa …

TIGERS

  1. Inge, 3B
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Hessman, 1B
  5. Raburn, RF
  6. Clevlen, CF
  7. Ramirez, LF
  8. Sardinha, C
  9. Everett, SS

PITCHING: Verlander, Rincon, Williamson, Rodney

YANKEES

  1. Melky Cabrera, CF
  2. Johnny Damon, LF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Jorge Posada, DH
  5. Nick Swisher, RF
  6. Cody Ransom, 3B
  7. Angel Berroa, 2B
  8. Ramiro Pena, SS
  9. Kevin Cash, C

PITCHING: CC Sabathia, Alfredo Aceves, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Mark Melancon, Steven Jackson

Kibler, Kunkel, Darrow reassigned

Jon Kibler, Jeff Kunkel and Rudy Darrow were reassigned to Minor League camp this morning. They needed to get Kibler and Darrow some innings and some playing time for Kunkel, who was the prototypical extra catcher from the Minors brought along to catch the pitchers in the early part of camp.

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