June 2nd, 2009

No word yet on Bonderman

Jeremy Bonderman threw a side session today and came out feeling fine, but there’s no news yet on what will be his next step. Manager Jim Leyland said this afternoon that pitching coach Rick Knapp was working on a plan.

“We’re going to look at it and evaluate it and see where we stand,” Leyland said.

One factor that could come into play is the day-night doubleheader at the White Sox scheduled for next Monday. Leyland said Armando Galarraga will pitch the first game on his regular turn, but hadn’t determined anything yet for the nightcap.

There is one move on the injury front: Dan Dickerson is back in the radio booth for tonight’s game. He’s on crutches and having a hard time getting around, but he’s in good spirits.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

RED SOX

  1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  2. J.D. Drew, RF
  3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
  4. Jason Bay, LF
  5. Mike Lowell, 3B
  6. David Ortiz, DH
  7. Jason Varitek, C
  8. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  9. Nick Green, SS

P: Daisuke Matsuzaka

Tiger Stadium set for wrecking ball again

What remains of Tiger Stadium could be demolished as soon as next month after a Detroit city commission voted to finish tearing down the historic ballpark.

Detroit’s Economic Development Corporation, which has worked with the city council to determine what to do with stadium, voted Tuesday to finish the demolition project and amend its previous contract to dismantle and recycle the scrap pieces of the structure. In so doing, the EDC rejected the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy’s plan to restore what was left of the stadium into a museum and playing field.

Demolition could begin in the next two weeks, according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.

Demolition began last summer and was set to completely tear down the stadium until the conservancy won Detroit City Council approval to keep part of it standing and allow time to come up with a plan to preserve it. What remains of the ballpark runs from dugout to dugout.

The conservancy hoped to renovate the lower deck and part of the upper deck into a historic exhibit along with commercial space and special event facilities. Once a deposit was submitted for buying the ballpark and paying for security at the location, a project plan and budget were submitted to the DEGC and given preliminary approval.

The dispute since then has been on financing a project estimated to cost $29 million. The conservancy submitted a plan March 1 that included a $3.8 million federal budget earmark, plus federal and state tax credits and private donations, such as from the Kresge Foundation in suburban Detroit. Since then, the conservancy has been trying to secure financial commitments and get other organizations involved, including the Tigers.

“We have extended deadlines for the conservancy to meet its commitments several times, yet the group is still far short of its targets,” said Waymon Guillebreaux, executive vice president for the DEGC in charge of project management and contract monitoring. “Meanwhile, security costs are continuing and demolition costs are rising again. We simply can’t afford to keep waiting when it is clear that the conservancy’s concept is not financially viable, nor will it be in the immediate future.”

Gary Gillette, a board member of the conservancy, disagreed.

“This action by the DEGC/EDC is completely unwarranted,” Gillette said. “It is unnecessary. It is short-sighted, and it’s foolish. While we have not met all of the goals that we originally talked about in our MOU with them, we are making substiantial progress, including anticipating receiving the $3.8 million Federal earmark that has been approved, including receiving funding and support from the Kresge Foundation, and including receiving approval from the state Historic Preservation Board for the amended listing to stay as a state historic site even with the partial demolition.

“For the city of Detroit — in the midst of the worst economic recession since World War II, and the day after GM filed for bankruptcy — to potentially forgo $20-plus million of development in Corktown at a cost of $0 to the city — since the city is not paying for maintenance and security, and since the money would come from state and federal tax credits, the federal earmark, and other sources — is literally crazy.”

More on Bonderman

I didn’t get a chance to get into it more than in passing in the article, but it’s obvious that making room for Bonderman poses a difficult decision. Justin Verlander, Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello combined for 14 wins in May. They’re obviously not going anywhere. Dontrelle Willis had been pitching well until his last start last Friday at Baltimore, where he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in five innings. He won’t be heading back to the minor leagues. Armando Galarraga struggled for much of May, then had better stuff last Thursday against the O’s, but still lost with three runs on 10 hits in seven innings. After double-checking, he supposedly still has an option left.

If somebody gets pushed out into the bullpen, or if Bonderman goes into the bullpen (more on that shortly), there’s still a move to be made. And among the current Tigers relievers, there’s a similar crunch. Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya and Bobby Seay aren’t going anywhere. Nor likely is Nate Robertson, who pitched well in May as Detroit’s second left-hander and has service time. Zach Miner has pitched better in shorter bursts and is out of options. Ryan Perry can be optioned back to the minors, but has pitched effectively in situations.

I mentioned the possibility of Bonderman to the bullpen in the article, but Bonderman brought up the possibility first.

“Maybe I won’t be going back in the rotation. You never know,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s the thing. Nobody can sit there and say, ‘You’re going back in the rotation.’ Nobody knows. The way it’s going, heck, I wouldn’t blame them for not putting me back in the rotation. I’m willing to do whatever to help the team. Wherever they put me, I’ll pitch, and I’ll go about my business and worry about it one day at a time.”

To Bonderman’s credit, he isn’t going to make any demands. That still isn’t going to make the Tigers’ decision very easy. One thing to keep in mind is the Tigers’ doubleheader at the White Sox next Monday. With no off-day from this Monday (June 1) until two Mondays from now (June 15), they’ll almost surely need a sixth starter for one turn through the rotation.

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