May 21st, 2009

Magglio back for Friday's game

The Tigers announced after the game that they’re activating Magglio from the family medical emergency list for Friday’s game and optioning Wilkin Ramirez back to Toledo. Leyland said this morning that Magglio’s wife was reportedly got through surgery all right, but that Ordonez would not be able to get back in time for the game today.

Pitch count facts

Edwin Jackson’s 132 pitches are the most by a Tigers pitcher in the Jim Leyland era. The last Tiger to throw that many in a game was knuckleballer Steve Sparks, who threw 132 pitches against the Mariners on Aug. 21, 2002.

The last non-knuckleballer to hit that count? Remember Felipe Lira, who threw 135 on Aug. 11, 1996. He gave up nine runs on 14 hits in 6 1/3 innings that game.

The 132-pitch mark is also a first in the Majors this year, topping the 131 pitches from Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell on April 29.

Manager Jim Leyland has not put as big an emphasis on the number of pitches as much as the situation and the strain with which they’re thrown. Still, he usually tries to avoid racking up high pitch counts in back-to-back starts for a pitcher. Jackson went 97 pitches in his last outing May 15 against Oakland after topping 100 in his previous four outings.

The biggest thing to remember is that Leyland wanted to rest Joel Zumaya today after back-to-back outings.

Thames nearing rehab stint

The Tigers are aiming to put outfielder Marcus Thames on a rehab stint with Triple-A Toledo next week while the Tigers are on the road.

Thames, on the disabled list since April 19 with a left rib cage strain, is taking batting practice with his teammates this week as he works back into full activities. The Tigers hope to have Thames head to Toledo after Detroit’s upcoming series against the Rockies and meet the Mud Hens when they return home Monday for an eight-game homestand. Under that timetable, he could be ready to be activated from the DL when the Tigers begin their next homestand June 2.

“He needs to get about 30 at-bats or so,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I really think that, because of the injury in spring training, he hasn’t really gotten in sync at all to begin the season, so I think it’ll do him wonders. We’ll just have to play it by ear to see when he’s ready.”

Thames missed nearly three weeks in March with a strained abdominal muscle, then battled a stiff back early in April. Once thought to be the main beneficiary in at-bats when the Tigers released Gary Sheffield in the final week of spring training, Thames instead received just 18 at-bats over six games before he hurt himself taking extra batting practice one afternoon during the Tigers’ series at the Angels last month.

The Tigers have rolled along without Thames with a combination of young left-handed hitters such as Josh Anderson and Clete Thomas. Carlos Guillen  and Magglio Ordonez were taking the bulk of the time at designated hitter with Thames out before Guillen went on the DL with a sore right shoulder and Ordonez left the team a few days ago to be with his wife as she awaited surgery.

Guillen is not expected to be ready for a rehab stint when the Tigers leave town. He said he hasn’t heard whether he’ll stay back or travel with the club and take swings under the watch of team medical staff and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.

Not as righty-heavy as expected vs. Millwood

When last night’s game ended, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was thinking about loading his lineup with right-handed hitters for today’s meeting with Kevin Millwood due to the splits — .283 avg with a .773 OPS against right-handed bats, .194 with a .591 OPS vs. lefty bats. Well, Leyland backed off that idea after looking further back before 2007 and seeing the splits not that vast. Plus, the right-handed hitters who have hurt him this year have generally been pretty good — Orlando Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera, Frankin Gutierrez, Carlos Quentin among them. Thus, you get your usual assortment of left-handed hitters in the lineup today.

Also back in the lineup today is Dane Sardinha, catching for the first time since he injured his finger last Wednesday at Minnesota. Leyland said on a local morning show today that he might play Sardinha a little more than he has been, because he worries he’s been wearing down Gerald Laird with the amount of playing time he’s been getting. So that’ll be an interesting situation to watch in the days ahead.

TIGERS

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

P: Edwin Jackson

RANGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. David Murphy, LF
  3. Michael Young, 3B
  4. Hank Blalock, DH
  5. Marlon Byrd, CF
  6. Nelson Cruz, RF
  7. Chris Davis, 1B
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Kevin Millwood

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