March 16th, 2009

Miner growing frustrated

Zach Miner hasn’t been putting up solid numbers in his starts, and as Spring Training heads into its final few weeks, he very much appears to be on the outside of the fifth starter competition. For someone who believes he can be a starter on this staff and would very much prefer that over relief, it’s building some frustration from him. Monday’s outing, which he gave up a four-run opening inning, percolated it some more.

“Oh yeah, I’m clearly frustrated,” Miner said. “I’ve been working hard. I got here two weeks early to Spring Training to start working. It’s just the last few outings, things haven’t been going my way. That’s frustrating, because you’re putting the work in and you feel good physically. Whether it’s the delivery out of sync or you just don’t make the pitches when you need to or balls fall in, it gets frustrating.

“You can handle it once or twice if you don’t get the results that you want, but after a few of them, it’s kind of like, ‘All right. Uncle.'”

In Miner’s case, it’s three out of his last four outings in which the numbers haven’t been strong. And this was the first one of the bunch in which he struggled with walks, three in as many innings. In terms of his pitches, though, he says he feels strong.

“”If I wasn’t fighting for a job, despite the numbers, I would feel great about myself getting ready for the season,” Miner said. “I’m throwing strikes. I’m feeling good physically. My pitches are coming around. It’s one of those things where if your spot’s guaranteed, nobody seems to worry about Spring Training if you don’t get the results or your numbers don’t look good.”

Roster cuts not a surprise

By now, I’m guessing you’ve heard about the roster cuts — Hollimon, Lambert and Wells to Toledo, Simons to Erie, and Iorg and Avila to Minor League camp. All of them were expected to happen at some point in camp. The Wells move likely means that we’re going to see plenty of Raburn, Clevlen and Ramirez until the starting outfielders come back from the World Baseball Classic or until Clete Thomas is cleared to play in games.

One interesting point is the moves that didn’t get made. A lot of relievers are still in camp, including Perry, Ni, Fien, Bonine and Bloom. I would expect Perry to be in camp for at least as long as Zumaya is out. The longer he’s in camp, the more of a chance he gets to make an impression.

Hollimon still shapes up to be the Tigers’ insurance if one of their middle infielders goes down to injury during the season, but he needs to get some playing time. With Adam Everett and Placido Polanco playing regularly and Ramon Santiago playing quite a bit, Hollimon wasn’t going to get it in big league camp. Leyland had hoped to get Hollimon into Sunday’s game, but didn’t get a chance.

If you have a chance to watch this game on TV back home or online wherever you are, you’ll be glad to know that the Cardinals sent a very representative squad up to Lakeland. We’ll have some sort of chatter going on Twitter at http://twitter.com/beckjason.

Here are the lineups:

TIGERS

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

PITCHING: Miner, Lyon, Seay, Dolsi, Perry

CARDINALS

  1. Skip Schumaker, 2B
  2. Rick Ankiel, DH
  3. Albert Pujols, 1B
  4. Chris Duncan, LF
  5. Ryan Ludwick, RF
  6. Khalil Greene, SS
  7. Joe Thurston, 3B
  8. Jason LaRue, C
  9. Colby Rasmus, CF

PITCHING: Todd Wellemeyer, Mitchell Boggs, others

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