Thomas optioned to Toledo, Kelly coming up

The Tigers announced after the game that they’re optioning OF Clete Thomas to Triple-A Toledo and purchasing the contract of Don Kelly from the Hens to take his place in Pittsburgh.

Thomas started out as a spark for the Tigers after joining the team in early May, but he was batting under .200 since May 16, including 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Thursday. His grand slam last Sunday was one of just three hits for him in 29 June at-bats.

“Thomas has to work on shortening his swing,” manager Jim Leyland said. “This is not a punishment. This is a player that we love.”

Kelly, meanwhile, has been a versatile piece for the Mud Hens. He’s batting .341 for Toledo with three homers, 22 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 17 tries. Moreover, he has added center field to his defensive acument, allowing him to play around the outfield as well as the infield.

“He’s come back and really done well,” Leyland said. “You like to reward people who do well.”

Kelly will join the team in Pittsburgh, which is fitting since he was born and raised in nearby Butler, Pa.

11 Comments

Didn’t see that one coming. Thought Clete was performing well enough and did have some big hits thus far. He needs to learn to cut down the swing with two strikes and go to more of a contact mode, but still scatchin’ my head over this move. Even some of the announcers for the opposition have stated that Clete has the makings of a real fine player. Hope he returns soon.

–Ed

Clete does have the makings of a real fine ballplayer. He has a nice inside out swing but hasn’t been snapping the bat through the zone, i.e. swing is too long. I’m a big Clete fan, but I think they’ve done the right thing. He’ll be back, but he does need to work on shortening that stroke, especially with two strikes. With Kelly, we’ll probably get that initial burst, then we’ll see how he does.
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I thought it was asking a lot to win today’s game, but we sure came close. Jackson didn’t have good control but between him battling and Chicago’s lousy hitting, he made a game of it. I have to give credit to Floyd today. That was an unhittable curveball, he was always ahead in the count so we couldn’t be patient and, lest we forget, the kid did win 17 games last year. And his last couple of starts were good ones too.
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It was definitely a time for Bobby Seay in the 8th, if you want to win the game. The thing is, Nate just sits out there taking up a spot. Either pitch him or move him elsewhere, but don’t expect results from these sparse appearances. Bad call by Leyland, as we could have gotten Nate some innings during interleague in games without the DH.
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Josh Anderson is showing himself to be a pretty bad hitter, and if he doesn’t bunt, there’s not much point starting him. He should never hit into a doubleplay. If he wasn’t out of options, I’d send him down for some work too. As it is, he’ll need coaching and a manager who flashes the bunt sign more when he’s up.
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As far as the worst offense for a first place team, I’ll take the 1965 Dodgers. :-) They did okay.
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The offense won’t improve until Polanco, Ordonez, and Granderson hit consistently. If they all have bad or down years, what you see is what you’re going to get. Cabrera is down to about .330 now, and I expect he’ll settle in at that level. I didn’t expect him to hit .377 for the year. Would be nice to see a few more homers, though. Rather than Maggs 3rd and Grandy 5th, I’d do the opposite. Maggs has hit into 10 DPs (seems like more), and Cabrera has been leading off for too many innings, which says a lot about your #3 hitter.
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And I don’t think Dombrowski is just sitting up there doing nothing. There will be some transactions made. We’re in good shape for now, as we’ve got some really good starting pitching and a determined and scrappy team. This has been a good stretch of games since the Boston fiasco.
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And Zoom……………throw a curveball, man!
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–Rich

Hopefully this will give us a spark.

Well Rich, I don’t know if I’d call them scrappy. Their hitting does rhyme with that word, however! I’d say at this point they are a team that is winning more than they are losing because they have gotten some excellent starting pitching 3 out of 5 starts and they have improved their defense over last year. Coupled with the fact they are in the Central Division that may just be enough to win this thing. And who knows, once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen as we witnessed in 2006.

–Ed

Didn’t watch the game but the box score tells me that JL thinks as we do. The bullpenn is in disarray. If you have a closer (Rodney), then why was he not pitching the 9th?
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Bad move by JL. He has tried to force Zumaya into a role not designed for him. If you pretend Rodney is the guy then you have simultaneously proved Zumaya is not ready and yu have no confidence in the Rod.
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You lose a game OK. But JL is consitent in showing that he is not handling the job that is expected of him. I admit he is a character but that in itself will not win us a pennant. He is simply not an excellent manager. You want to place in your division then he is adequate but you want to win. Then you better bring in a change.
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I blame Leyland.
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Something important is missing and he doesn’t know how to fix it.
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Big deal. We’re in first. The offense stinks and the chemistry is and cohesion needed to win is non-existent.
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The courage this team is lacking nees to come from upper mangement. The ball is in DD’s court.

A couple of quick responses because it’s late (here).
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My use of the word “scrappy”: they get swept by Boston then lose the first game of the Angels series. They then turn around and take the LAA series then go to Chicago and take 3 of 5 in a tough house. That’s scrappin’ to me. Scrappin’ to stay alive, but scrappin’ nonetheless.
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I know exactly why Leyland used Zumaya and not Rodney today in the 9th. I don’t agree with this rigid managerial thinking of today, but it’s what they do. JL was saving his closer for when his team took the lead then he brings on the closer for the bottom of that inning on the road. If you’re at home and it’s tied, the closer may pitch in a tie game. Simple as that, no ifs ands or buts, a no-brainer as JL calls it. It’s the same thinking that Joe Girardi employed tonight by saving Rivera for a save opportunity that never came while his 8th inning guys lost the game to Boston. It drives me crazy when people can’t think outside the box.
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–Rich

Bringing Zumaya in in the ninth on the road was the right call, though. The idea is that you hope your set-up guy will get them out in the bottom of the ninth, and that your team will score in the top of the tenth, and that your closer will then come in to save the game in the bottom of the tenth. That’s standard-issue managing.
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Granted, Zumaya has not been good lately, but neither has pretty much anyone in the bullpen, including Rodney. If Zumaya makes that play on the bunt there, I think he gets out of that inning. Pretty brutal error.
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I like the move of sending Thomas down. Sure, he ran into one for a grand slam against the Angels, but he’s been overmatched for quite a while. Not sure what to think of Kelly — a journeyman originally drafted by the Tigers in 2001, cut two years ago and then re-signed for organizational depth. Hopefully he’ll provide a spark, but I’m not counting on too much out of him.
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Anderson: I’m not sure why he’s not bunting. I mean, he’s not even attempting bunts ever. All he seems to do lately is pull a weak ground ball to the second baseman for an out — pretty automatic. If he had options, he’d definitely be in the minors right now. It seems likely that this Kelly guy, who also has some speed, will take over for Anderson in the short term as the left-handed left-fielder against righties, and Josh will turn into a late-inning defensive replacement. I feel bad for him, but he needs to learn how to use his speed as a hitter.
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I’ve read a lot of comments about how people think Lyon has improved, but it’s hard to be sure. Sure, he pitched 2.1 innings of great relief today, but the White Sox are struggling to score even more than we are of late. And he sucked in that game on Tuesday, despite how he did in the 10th against the bottom of their order. I’d love to see him turn into the Lyon of 2007, but I just don’t think he’s capable of doing that in the AL. But I like what he did today.
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Although I think we can win the division without making a single trade, given how weak the other teams are, the bullpen is shockingly vulnerable. Whether it’s a lights-out set-up guy or a true closer, we need something from the outside. Hopefully DD is working on that as we speak. Sadly, the Rockies have won, like, eight in a row and crept back into the wild card picture, so Street is probably off limits for now. But he’d really make our bullpen one of the strongest in the league, instead of one of the iffiest.
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There really aren’t that many other options for bullpen help out there, who’d both help the Tigers and who might actually be available. A trade with Boston might make sense, because they have by far the best bullpen in the majors, with six legitimate closers — Saito, Okajima, Delcarmen, Bard, Ramirez and Papelbon — and more waiting in the minors. Maybe we could pry Delcarmen away from them for a hitting prospect?
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Sorry, I love thinking about this kind of stuff, even if it never happens. I fully expect the Tigers will dominate the interleague trip. I want revenge in St. Louis for 2006!

It’s amazing to me how non-chalant everyone is about Zumaya. He blew 3 leads this week and luckily we only ended up losing one game. Did he even record an out yesterday?
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He’s cocky, he seems to shake off his catcher constantly and then get burned. All he could say about yesterday was we won 3 out of 5 and that’s great?
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He’s like the little kid no one wants to discipline. Help me out here if I’m way off base?

-Tracey

I agree Tracey and I think that a lot of people think that Joel is a little full of himself and the radar gun. I hope that Knapp and Leyland tell him that he is a little full of himself for a guy that has blown three games this week. I feel like he is in love with his fastball (which by the way isn’t fooling very many) and unwilling to throw any of his other pitches. From my understanding he has at least two others.
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A will stick with my position, they are not hitting, they are so anemic I cannot believe they have the energy to get out on to the field most days. And while I agree with you Rich Cabrera was not going to hit 370 all year, I think that he only has 3 or 4 hits this entire month. Yes he is hurt, which leads me to my next point, why not rest him a few of these games at DH and let Marcus give it a shot. At least it is a realistic shot of getting a hit. Despite the homer the other night by Miguel he is pretty much an automatic out. Just as much as any of these other guys on the team.
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Hopefully Kelly can add a little spark, sometimes even when they bring up these young guys there isnt much of a book and they can get a few hits because pitchers think that they are any easy out.
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GO TIGERS
GO WINGS
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I AM SO STRESSED ABOUT THE WINGS TONIGHT!!!!!!!

My apologies for my out-of-line post last night. I stated I didn’t see the game and then went on to scream for JL’s removal as manager because of his misuse of Zumaya Rodney.
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I must admit that after a team ball party I was a little under the influence and for whatever reason, did not notice that the tigers went into the bottom of the 9th “Tied”. I thought they were one run ahead and I couldn’t understand why JL had suddenly used Zumaya in that role at that time.
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My Bad.
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And my apologies. I need to pay attetntion more!
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I actually agree with what JL did now that I know………..the Whole Story!!!

Verlander’s start in the middle of the week helped a ton. You could tell that rodney and Zumaya were simply exhausted. They needed that time off.

I liked that comment about Nate in the bullpen from up on the page. The guy has been a starter in the past and i would like to think he is still good for something. I would like to see him used more – even if its just a car-show; trade bait.

I dont know if DD thinks nate’s stock is high enough right now to get something for him or what. It would be nice to think that packaging Robertson and Anderson could get something decent before the deadline.

I like the fact that Raburn is starting to be productive and hopefully Kelly will come out of a similar mold. Aside from that monster error against Cleveland Raburn has been solid and its great to think he can be moved into the infield without losing much. If Kelly is the same way i think this can be a great move to provide more depth without losing much speed or defensive ability in the outfield.

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