March 20th, 2009

Zumaya plays catch again

Joel Zumaya played catch again on Friday, this time from 90 feet. No timetable yet on when he might throw a side session; that will probably wait until the medical staff sees how he feels tomorrow morning.

Other injury news …

  • Placido Polanco said he felt fine after bruising his left thumb and right pinky finger on a hit-by-pitch Thursday night. He had three at-bats and a two-run single Friday.
  • Marcus Thames still has to get treatment on his strained abdominal muscle, but he’s back in playing shape. He had two hits and a walk in three plate appearances.

More aggressive at the plate

One thing that particularly bothered Jim Leyland about Thursday’s loss to the Braves was the number of strikes that his hitters took, especially in scoring situations. At one point, he noted, they had a man on base and saw 10 strikes, swinging at only one of them. But rather than yelling at his hitters, he made a point to some of hitters on one of the fields during batting practice.

“It’s not something you get on them about,” Leyland said. “This ithe time you put their arm around them and say that in these kinds of situations, you have to get a swing off. There’s one thing about it, you can’t knock in a run without swinging, unless you get hit with the bases loaded or walk.”

To be fair, they still had their moments. All three of Collin Balester’s strikeouts over his four innings were called, two of them in the second inning after  Jeff Larish leadoff walk. That fourth inning, however, saw four runs come in without an extra-base hit. Six Tigers singled. And overall, there seemed to be a more aggressive approach.

More work for Willis, Bonderman

While the Tigers took batting practice this morning, pitching coach Rick Knapp was at work in the bullpen. First up was Dontrelle Willis, who was working on some mechanics in the bullpen after he went back to his old leg kick in Thursday night’s game against the Braves. Knapp and Willis are basically going to work off of that old delivery now in the idea of going with what’s comfortable in hopes that it helps him.

“We’re at the point where we’re trying pretty much anything,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I think that’s pretty simple.”

Bonderman was a matter of shoring up some of his mechanics, which he said were all over the place at times Thursday, presumably from the rust. Leyland sounded a much less tentative tone about Bonderman Friday morning.

“I think if he stays healthy, he’ll be ready to pitch Opening Day, or the fifth day, or whichever day,” Leyland said.

TIGERS

  1. Santiago, SS
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Sheffield, DH
  4. Thames, RF
  5. Kelly, 1B
  6. Larish, 3B
  7. Ramirez, LF
  8. Gomez, CF
  9. Treanor, C

NATIONALS

  1. Lastings Milledge, CF
  2. Nick Johnson, 1B
  3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
  4. Elijah Dukes, LF
  5. Austin Kearns, RF
  6. Javier Valentin, C
  7. Wily Mo Pena, DH
  8. Alex Cintron, 2B
  9. Alberto Gonzalez, SS
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