May 2009

Eight scoreless innings for Bonderman

Jeremy Bonderman had encouraging numbers as well as stuff this time out. His third rehab start for Triple-A Toledo Sunday night saw the right-hander throw eight scoreless innings on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts against Charlotte, the White Sox Triple-A affliate.

Marcus Thames added his first home run of his rehab assignment, launching a shot deep to left. He’s 5-for-28 in his Toledo stint with four RBIs.

Bonderman needed just 98 pitches to get through his outing, 66 of them strikes. The real impressiveness, though, was in what he threw. He spotted pitches on the corners and, surprisingly, threw some of the best changeups he has had.

“I just didn’t get frustrated,” Bonderman said. “I knew what I had. I just moved the ball around today, up and down, fastballs up, breaking balls. I threw a lot of changeups, good changeups today.

“That’s probably one thing that I’m getting out of this is my changeup’s actually getting a lot better. You have to use what you’ve got.”

Now, to be fair, Charlotte is in the bottom tier of the International League in runs scored and home runs. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until Bonderman’s last couple innings that the Knights drove the ball with any authority. Not only did Bonderman not walk anyone, he only had two three-ball counts.

Bonderman’s fastball ranged from 88 to 90 mph, maybe a tick higher than his last time out but still slower than his previously healthy form. In terms of the art of pitching, though, he looked like a Major League pitcher. Whether he’s going to be in the Majors the next time he takes the mound remains to be seen. Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila was in town watching the game.

Bonderman says he has “no idea” what the next step is. He’s heading up to Detroit regardless to work with pitching coach Rick Knapp and then go from there.

“I feel a lot better today,” Bonderman said. “It’s up to them if they feel like I’m ready or not. My job is to go out here and pitch, get some innings and get my pitch count up, which is what I’ve been doing. That’s what I’ve been doing. Whenever they feel I’m ready, I’ll go up.”

Anderson leads off again

If you find yourself getting twisted between Granderson and Anderson atop the Tigers lineup, you’re not alone. The lineup sheet posted outside the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium this morning started out kind of like this: 1. GrAnderson.

That said, Granderson and Anderson are the only two left-handed bats in the lineup today against Kyle Davies. Jeff Larish and Clete Thomas both have the day off. Thomas, in particular, has been playing a lot. Magglio Ordonez is the DH, while Ryan Raburn gets the start in right field, batting eighth.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

ROYALS

  1. Mitch Maier, CF
  2. David DeJesus, LF
  3. Billy Butler, 1B
  4. Jose Guillen, RF
  5. Mike Jacobs, DH
  6. Mark Teahen, 3B
  7. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Luis Hernandez, SS

P: Kyle Davies

Dickerson to undergo surgery

Tigers broadcaster Dan Dickerson returned home Wednesday morning and will undergo surgery to repair a ruptured quad tendon in his left leg.

Dickerson was jogging Tuesday morning in Kansas City when the tendon apparently ruptured. He underwent an MRI exam on both legs, but it appears only the left one has structural damage that requires surgery.

Dickerson will miss the rest of the Tigers’ road trip, including the upcoming four-game series at Baltimore, but there’s optimism that he could be back for the start of next week’s homestand Tuesday at Comerica Park.

Manager Jim Leyland talked to Dickerson Wednesday morning.

“I feel terrible,” Leyland said. “What a great guy. I feel bad for him. He’s got some issues, and we really send him our best.”

John Keating filled in on the Tigers radio broadcast Wednesday for the second straight game, while Jim Price handled play-by-play. No plans have been announced yet for the Tigers radio team for the next series.

Dickerson is in his 10th season with the Tigers radio network, and his seventh as the lead radio play-by-play voice. He succeeded Ford Frick award winner Ernie Harwell following his retirement in 2002.

Bonderman update: 6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER for Toledo

Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman gave up three runs, two earned (corrected totals), over six innings Tuesday night in his second rehab start for Triple-A Toledo.

Bonderman, who began the season on the disabled list with shoulder soreness stemming from last summer’s surgery to correct a blood vessel restriction, had runners on base in every inning thanks to seven hits and three walks against Norfolk. He escaped further damage by stranding seven runners on base, including at least one in all but one of his innings.

The only inning in which he didn’t strand a runner was his last. Brandon Pinckney took him deep to left in the sixth for a solo homer, Pinckney’s first home run on the season. The only other extra-base hit off Bonderman was a Justin Turner double.

Bonderman’s unearned run came about in the second inning thanks to a Robby Hammock drive to deep center fielder that Jason Tyner dropped for a three-base error, setting up a Melvin Dorta RBI single.

Bonderman threw 60 of his 97 pitches for strikes. He struck out four batters.

Bonderman is currently a week and a half into his rehab assignment, which began May 16 at Class A West Michigan. He can continue pitching in the Minors for a 30-day stint, which would take him to June 15 before the Tigers would have to make a decision on whether to call him up to Detroit.

So far, the club hasn’t announced any plans for what’s next with the 26-year-old right-hander, but he’ll most likely remain in Toledo and make another rehab start Sunday. Speculation had centered on Bonderman possibly cracking the Tigers rotation soon, that mainly came from Bonderman’s initial statements that he might only need one or two starts before he’s ready to return.

“You guys have as much of an idea as I do,” Bonderman told reporters in Toledo after the game.

Bonderman leveled out at 88 mph on his fastball with a top velocity of 90. That still isn’t back to his old speeds, but it might be forcing him to work with what he has for now.

“The first two innings, I was a little frustrated with the way I was throwing,” Bonderman told reporters. “After the second, I settled down and just tried to use what I have better. My velocity be there when it’s there. I can’t control that. I’m just going to go out, try to pitch and be successful.”

MRI negative on Guillen

The results are in on the MRI on Carlos Guillen’s ailing right shoulder, and no structural damage was found, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. Guillen visited specialist Dr. David Altchek in New York for a second opinion last Friday.

So for now, the Tigers medical staff is going to keep working with Guillen to try to get the pain out of his shoulder, and he won’t start doing baseball activities until he’s pain-free.

Broadcaster Dan Dickerson injured, taken to hospital

The Tigers radio network will be working without play-by-play man Dan Dickerson at least for tonight and very possibly the rest of the week after he was injured while jogging today.

Dickerson was taken to a local hospital, where he was expected to get an MRI on both knees. He has been advised to rest, and it appears likely he’ll have to return home rather than accompany the Tigers to Baltimore. The main injury occurred on the left knee.

The plan for tonight is for FSN Detroit anchor/host John Keating to cross over after the FSN pregame show and join Jim Price for the game broadcast. Not sure what will happen after that.

Guillen has shoulder re-examined

The Tigers and Carlos Guillen are awaiting test results from another examination on his ailing right shoulder, which they hope provides some insight as to why his progress has been so slow.

Guillen, currently on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation, said he visited a specialist last week during the Tigers’ just-completed homestand. They’re expecting to get results Tuesday. For now, though he’s working out, he still has soreness in his shoulder when he tries to swing.

“We’ll know more tomorrow,” manager Jim Leyland said Monday morning, “but I don’t think he’s doing good.”

Magglio back in third spot

After Jim Leyland talked Sunday about how the veteran hitters need to start producing for the Tigers to break out of this offense skid, those veteran hitters are back in the key spots in the order. Magglio Ordonez is batting third and playing right field. Curtis Granderson is leading off.

TIGERS

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Larish, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Thomas, LF
  8. Laird, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Justin Verlander

ROYALS

  1. Coco Crisp, CF
  2. David DeJesus, LF
  3. Billy Butler, 1B
  4. Jose Guillen, RF
  5. Mike Jacobs, DH
  6. Mark Teahen, 3B
  7. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  8. John Buck, C
  9. Willie Bloomquist, SS

P: Gil Meche

Different look up top

A day after the top third of Detroit’s lineup went 0-for-12 with two balls hit out of the infield, the Tigers did a little shifting for a day. Placido Polanco was already set to get the day off, so Ramon Santiago both plays and hits second. Josh Anderson is batting leadoff for the first time in two weeks.

Jim Leyland said Sunday morning that Granderson seems like he’s not getting in a good position to hit, instead getting caught in between. But as Leyland pointed out, Granderson can get back to hitting well in a hurry.

“He’s always been kind of a streaky guy,” Leyland said. “But we have to get him going, no question.”

TIGERS

  1. Anderson, LF
  2. Santiago, 2B
  3. Thomas, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Granderson, CF
  6. Ordonez, DH
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Everett, SS
  9. Sardinha, C

P: Dontrelle Willis

ROCKIES

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
  3. Todd Helton, 1B
  4. Matt Murton, LF
  5. Ryan Spilborghs, RF
  6. Garrett Atkins, DH
  7. Yorvit Torrealba, C
  8. Clint Barmes, 2B
  9. Ian Stewart, 3B

P: Jason Hammel

What next for Galarraga?

galarraga.jpgFor now, it’s back to the drawing board, or at least to the side sessions. Jim Leyland said after the game that pitching coach Rick Knapp had noticed some things going on. For one thing, he was throwing from different arm angles and wasn’t being consistent with it. For another, he wasn’t getting on top of his breaking ball, which we haven’t seen much of lately.

As far as the rotation goes, he doesn’t seem to be at any risk this turn. With Jeremy Bonderman set to make another rehab start Tuesday, and no off-day for the Tigers before Galarraga’s spot comes back around next Thursday at Baltimore, there isn’t much flexibility there. It affords Galarraga some more time to try to figure out what’s going on.

If he struggles again, then it becomes interesting, because the Tigers could go a couple different directions. If Bonderman is deemed ready for the big leagues after Tuesday, he could conceivably move into that slot on long rest. Or with an off-day coming up a week from Monday, the Tigers could choose to skip Galarraga’s spot, much like they did with Zach Miner, and sit on it for an extra week or so. It’s probably not what Leyland would prefer to do; he’d probably rather give his pitchers the extra day after some of these high pitch counts lately. But it’s doable, even if it turns out that Galarraga holds onto the spot a while longer.

Another interesting thing that Leyland mentioned after the game is that he saw something like this from Galarraga down the stretch last year, with this stuff not being as sharp. He didn’t point to a fatigue factor in this case, though, not so early in the season.

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