Willis sticking with Mud Hens for now

Dontrelle Willis will make at least one more start with Triple-A Toledo. The rehabbing starter is scheduled to take the mound for the Mud Hens on Wednesday at Pawtucket as the team’s road trip continues.

It’ll be the first repeat start of his rehab assignment. He made one outing each at Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie before pitching five innings of three-run ball for Toledo on Friday at Lehigh Valley, giving up seven hits but recovering after walking his first two batters of the game.

No word yet on plans after that outing. If the Tigers want, they could have him make two more turns in the rotation before his rehab assignment expires May 20. From a pitch count standpint, he’s already stretched out past 100 after last outing.

Willis opened the season on the 15-day disabled list after being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. He was treated while continuing his work.

22 Comments

Beautiful ballgame. Good job, guys, excellent. This makes up for Friday night.
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Verlander was the big stud again. When he’s going good, he does seem capable of a no-hitter at any time. He was flying open some in the 3rd and 7th innings, but it looked like Dane helped with that before Knapp even got out there in the 3rd. After he pitches out of that 7th inning jam, you get your man some runs and they did just that. Again, really good work today.
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Granderson has dragged two beautiful bunts now. Curtis, put that in your permanent bag of skills. Can’t say for sure, but maybe their firstbaseman catches your 7th inning double if you hadn’t bunted earlier. Plus it was a bunting situation anyway.
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My own impression of Guillen is that he’s still turning in good ABs and is hitting a lot of line drives at people. He could just as easily have had three doubles today. It even looks like it’s becoming a point of humor in the dugout. Keep slashin’ Carlos. They’ll start dropping. He’s one of the most even keeled players I’ve ever seen.
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So that’s 5-3 in the Central, and jumped from 4th to 1st in one afternoon. No disasters yet.
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–Rich

Everything you said Rich I couldn’t agree with you more. Velrander was on fire, never more than in the 7th when he kept them off the board.
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Glad to see that they changed the ruling on the Raburn error yesterday, Miner didn’t deserve those as earned runs. He was really good yesterday as well. I noticed that he even made “THATS NASTY” on pitches yesterday on ESPN.
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GO Tigers
GO WINGS
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Twins in town, I noticed that Mauer sat today, so that means for sure he will be in on Monday.

JV must have muttered under his breath when he saw the Tiger lineup for today with easily the weakest offense on paper. Great to see him up for the challenge and it looks like he has turned the corner. Everett is becoming a pleasant surprise along with Laird and with him feeling more at home, his defense should drop off the error rate.
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The last 2 wins have been huge for the Tigers and it is showing they have more regained their backbone this year. They are winning their fair share of the close games.
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The bullpen is still a worry. Can’t pitch Seay, Zoom and Rodney every day and we have 7 straight against the Twins, Chisox and Indians. It looks like JL is going to have to turn to Perry and Lyon for late innings work regardless of the score.

I was at both games this weekend- and altho I’m proud of the way we pulled off both wins- I have to say the Raburn experiment is quite annoying. Especially today with one automatic out (Sardinha- altho he ended up with a very timely first hit of the season) there was no reason to have Raburn at DH. It was particularly frustrating with bases loaded in the 7th when we could have really used an extra insurance run, not to PH Santiago. But in all- that’s my only criticism of the weekend games. Very exciting baseball to watch.
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-Tracey

Interesting tidbit: this is the third consecutive weekend the Tigers have dropped the Friday night series opener only come back and take the series with wins on Saturday and Sunday.
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–Rich

Gotta agree with Tracey. I was at the game today and couldn’t believe JL let Raburn bat with the bases loaded considering all he does is pop up or strike out. Santiago gets no respect.

Inge’s homer was a bomb and was a highlight of the day as was the roar Verlander got when he struck out LaPorta in the seventh after he kept taking time and stepping out of the box. Place went nuts.

Guillen flew out 4 times to rightfield however you wanna interpret that. I will say he hit the ball hard but definitely seems hurt and probably should get time off to heal that tendon.
Great game today.

Will be real curious to see how Willis’ next two rehab assignments go. I’m guessing that if they are any where close to his last outing, he will be taking Porcello’s spot in the rotation. Realistically, young Rick could probably use more seasoning at AAA. If Dontrelle can somehow give us starts that keep us in the game, then that would be the best of both worlds. My gut feeling, though, is that we have a better chance to win if Porcello stays.

–Ed

If Guillen really has Achilles tendonitis, he should probably be rested so it can get better. If he keeps on, it can become a chronic problem for which there’s not much help for. This is totally separate from his performance, or any lack of, on the field. I’m not concerned with his hitting, I think he will hit, but he certainly won’t contribute if he’s laid up with chronic tendonitis. And I’m basing this only on the fragmented reports that are the norm for an athlete with a medical condition. It’s difficult to judge with no real information. If he continues to play, only time will tell if it was the right decision.
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–Rich

JV is now leading the AL in SO’s on 45 from only 35IP’s.

I didn’t get to see any of the weekend games, but way to go on getting the series win. Sounds like Zoom did a nice job this weekend, and obviously JV and Miner. I heard the Raburn dropped fly ball on the radio, didn’t see it, but I see above that they changed the scoring. I can’t figure out what is going on with Raburn, but we seem to be beyond the point of giving him any more chances if you ask me – I am all for letting guys screw up once in a while, but he has made some monumental mistakes over the past few weeks.

Can’t end on a negative note – way to go Everett, didn’t know you had it in you!!!

I have to agree with those above who say Guillen should be rested. He’s not going to help the team very much when he’s injured, so I’m not sure why JL keeps running him out there. Maybe he’s afraid Anderson will flourish playing everyday and he won’t be able to give LF back to Guillen? I went back and looked at the Gameday summary from Sunday’s game and here are Carlos’s AB’s:
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1st AB – Foul, Ball, Ball, Fly out
2nd AB – Fly out
3rd AB – Fly out
4th AB – Foul, Fly out
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He’s swinging at the first pitch every AB. It won’t be long until pitchers realize this (if they haven’t already) and pitch to him accordingly. He’s already slumping and this won’t help him at all. I’ve noticed that some guys are taking more pitches and it has paid off for them – Inge and Granderson, for example. I really wish Guillen would do the same.

What Gameday doesn’t tell you (and why I can’t stand not actually seeing the action) is that he hit the ball on the button three of those times. If you get a pitch you can drive, you swing at it, whether it’s the first pitch or the tenth. If the pitchers adjust, Carlos will too. He’s arguably the smartest hitter on the team, along with Polanco.
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His hitting is not my concern, his longterm health is. One guess is that they’re trying to get as much from him as they can until Thames returns. If we end up with Raburn as a regular starter, we’re in trouble. Having seen Wilkin Ramirez in spring training, I don’t think he’s ready. You could bring back Larish, but he hasn’t been impressive either.
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I think Guillen will continue to play for awhile, but I’d definitely DH him. I know that kills our DH flexibility, but options are limited.
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–Rich

Great weekend for baseball in Detroit! Loved the ESPN stat that the Tigers are 4-0 on weekends while the PIstons and Lions were a combined 4-30 or something like that on Sundays. Makes listening to Monday Sportscenter tolerable.

JV has come up huge here and I think with him, attitude and the mental approach is huge so…. hopefully he can continue to build on this and work through the hard times that are sure to come. His reaction to that inning ending groundout in the 7th was classic. He was pumped.

As for Carlos and LF I think we all understood that, at best, him in left was a gamble. I have had that achilles tendonitis before and agree that rest is the only thing that will help. I do think though that if we can get another month DH/LF or whatever out of him then we can look for a bat at the trade deadline. Radio guys said that Carlos was squaring up on the ball but just looked like he was hobbling in the field. Maybe we can get Mtthew (don’t call me Matt) Stafford out in left. Kid has a rocket for an arm!

I’m not saying that Carlos didn’t hit the ball well when he made contact. I watched the game, so I only used Gameday to find the number of pitches he faced – 8 pitches in four AB’s. Compare that to Inge seeing 8 pitches in his first AB alone.
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The point about seeing a pitch you can drive and taking a swing is only valid to a certain extent, IMO. Obviously that didn’t work out well for Carlos Sunday, as he didn’t get a hit. What he did was allow the the Indian’s pitchers to get 4 outs by throwing a combined 8 pitches. So many teams make our pitchers work every inning, and it gets frustrating to see us let other pitchers off the hook and not make them work. It isn’t very common this year to see a Tiger’s starter last longer than the opposing starter, which is no help to the bullpen.

There’s no question about Carlos not hitting. He simply isn’t. He left 7 men on base yesterday. He is struggling to hit his weight and he has no long balls.
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There’s no question Carlos is hurting. Himself and the team. JL can hope all he wants that he will snap out of it but in the meantime he should be at least trying to mitigate the damage that Carlos “Isn’t” doing.
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1st pitch swinging is a way to break out of a slump–at least some perceive this to be a fact. As every hitter is unique so, in my opinion, is slump breaking.
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There is no question Carlos is hitting the ball, but how hard and how far and where? 275 ft in the air, whether it is hard or not, will most often result in an out. How many outs can this club afford to give away in a game? I see Carlos struggling physically and mentally and while every fan and every teammate is pulling for him, you still have to field your best lineup (especially against division rivals) in order to WIN games.
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I would rather see him on the 15 day DL now then losing him for the season later.

In the immortal words of Charley Lau, there are two kinds of slumps. The ones in which you are hitting the ball square and they are line drives but just not falling… you don’t worry about. Just keep on hacking. The 0-20 slumps where you are popping out or grounding out (see Sheff last year) are the ones where the mechanics are out of whack. So far, I think borther Guillen is in the former. I think he’s squaring up and hitting the line drives but they just aren’t falling. So, IMO I’d continue to give a benefit of a doubt with an occasional day off. Lau also preaches patience and not pressing. So, if I’m Carlos, I just keep hacking. .300 hitters don’t go away overnight. Cab started slow last year and picked it up. This is Carlos’ year for that.

All that said, I worry about the achilles. Keep pressing the issue and you are done for the year.

Good discussion. There are several things in play here. He’s squaring up but hitting most everything the opposite way. He spent the last two days hitting RHed, supposedly his weaker side (I’m not so sure about that). He was up against a pretty good pitcher yesterday. How much of this opposite field hitting is approach, and how much caused by his injury? It’s possible he’s not able to take the good quick swing. Hard to say. We’ve rarely seen him in extended slumps. The one true fact is that JL won’t listen to anything we say anyway. :-) Certainly bears watching.
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Regardless, I’ll continued to be worried about making the conditiion worse, even if he goes 12 for the next 15.
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-Rich

Rich, I also agreewith resting Carlo`s.But, I think he should DH…..Playing him in left makes no sense whatsoever…If he lost range at short,he wnt be any quicker in left…..And playing him there will not help his recovery issue…..And has anybody seen him throw from left?? Not being able to throw or run well will not help the staff ERA. Better to let him DH until he is healthy once again…………………..I heard Ted Williams once say that Charlie Lau put the art of hitting back 50 years.I have to agree.Getting Carlo`s to drive the ball into the ground to beat out infield hits wont score us many runs….But, Carlo`s still works the count like true pro,and like someone mentioned,he probaly is the smartest hitter we have,and one of the best runners,too…..Anyway, Go Tigers! Keep it rollin

You’re right Rich, Guillen’s slump could be related to any number of things right now. For me, it’s hard to keep a guy who’s mired in a slump in the lineup when he’s hurt. I’m worried that one cold night (you never know in Michigan, even in May) he’ll finally hit one to the gap and injure himself even worse trying to stretch it into a double. Coming off the bench as a DH on a cold evening could cause any number of problems. I’m still wondering why Anderson can’t fill in for 15 days while Carlos rests. He’s been a quality backup so far.

These next 2 weeks are all Central division foes. I know Carlos isn’t hitting now, but I’d hate to see his bat come out of the lineup. Got a feeling he’s gonna come through in the clutch. Just seems to be hitting in some bad luck right now. I’m for dh’ing him.

–Ed

If they continue to run Guillen out there, it can only mean one of two things: a) Leyland and the medical staff have lost their minds or b) this injury isn’t as serious as we’re thinking it is. If it’s truly a tendonosis, it won’t get better without rest.
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Another consideration. Carlos was made to DH during the entire WBC, then got out there for only about ten days of spring training before the season began. I’m not saying this caused the problem, but it definitely put him at risk for it, especially considering that a new position requires different kinds of movements. I’d celebrate if they discontinued the WBC forever.
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–Rich

Bruce:

I remember that Teddy didn’t like the Lau book but I wondered whether it was because people adopted Lau and abandoned Ted’s book, the Science of Hitting. Ted was a great ball player but could be a little petty. I think the only difference between the two though is in how the batter shifts his weight during the swing and through the contact points. The rest is pretty standard stuff. I side with Lau because he’s a former Tiger. But I did like Ted’s approach to hitting. As it was described to me, Ted used to walk up to the plate muttering, “I’m Ted f’ing Williams and I’m going to hit the f’ing ball”. Can’t beat that mental approach regardless of the mechanics of the swing. :)

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