June 19th, 2009

Tarp is back on, then off

Sorry, folks. But just as the grounds crew was working on the field, it began raining again. A few minutes later, it stopped, and the tarp came back off.

It’s possible that the weather has the best deception of the night.

Ordonez calls situation embarrassing, but not angry

While manager Jim Leyland is going out of his way to emphasize that Magglio Ordonez is not benched, and agent Scott Boras is arguing that Ordonez didn’t deserve to be taken out of the lineup, Ordonez is sounding surprisingly calm about the matter.

That doesn’t mean he’s taking it completely in stride.

“Yes, it’s embarrassing,” Ordonez said when asked how he’s feeling about not being in the lineup right now.

Ordonez talked with reporters Friday for the first time since manager Jim Leyland announced he was going to sit Ordonez indefinitely. Leyland talked again about his decision Friday when asked about it after the Tigers announced Leyland’s two-year contract extension.

“Magglio Ordonez is not benched,” Leyland said. “What I said was, and what I meant was, that I’m going to get him out of there indefinitely. And what I mean by that is, by Magglio’s own admission, and from what I’ve seen and the coaches have seen, we were kind of beating our head against the wall, all of us.

“I’ve tried [batting him in] the third spot. I’ve tried the fifth spot. I’ve tried the sixth spot. For whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to get him going yet, and that’s also by his own admission.”

Ordonez said he had no problem with the way Leyland has handled the decision. Leyland said he had three different conversations with Ordonez recently.

“We both try hard, the organization, everybody,” Ordonez said. “They don’t want me to do bad. I don’t want to do bad.”

Asked how he’s handling it himself, Ordonez said, “I’m handling it good. It’s something that I can’t control. I just prepare myself to be ready to play every day.

“I haven’t been hitting like I used to. But, like I said, I’m just going to come every day to the park ready to play. I don’t have control of the lineup. When he chooses me to play, I’ll be ready to play.”

Ordonez was asked about his hitting. He has had his share of singles as part of his .273 average, but with two home runs and nine doubles, his power has taken the greatest hit.

“Probably one of the reasons is I’m worrying about things that are out of my control,” Ordonez said. “And I probably forget what I do best is hit and play the game. If you see my history, in my career, I have good numbers. But I’ll be OK. I’ll be ready. I know how to hit. I know how to play the game. I’ve just run into a little bump, and I’ll be back.”

Ordonez’s agent, Scott Boras, came to his client’s defense earlier in the day.

“Take a look at what (Red Sox manager) Terry Francona is doing with David Ortiz,” Boras told the Detroit News. “And this man has nowhere near the numbers of Magglio Ordonez in recent seasons. And Ortiz is coming off a bad year from the year before (2008).

“A-Rod in the month of June hit .137 in 2006. Jeter, I believe, for two months hit under .200. They didn’t bench him.

“Give me the compelling reasons for benching Magglio. You bench Magglio, and you’re gonna have a problem — a real problem justifying that to me.”

Boras did not return a phone message left Friday by MLB.com.

Boras becomes involved in part because of Ordonez’s contract. His 2008 club option at $15 million automatically vests if he has 1,080 total plate appearances in 2008-09. He needs 215 more plate appearances this year to reach it.

Asked how much his contract situation weighs on his mind, Ordonez said, “It’s something that is out of my hands. It’s something that I don’t control.”

Rain delay update

UPDATE @ 10:10pm: Tarp has now been taken off the field. Looks like there’s a window to at least get this game official, if not finished.

UPDATE @ 9:20pm: This game had been set to resume around 9:30. Just when the grounds crew was about to remove the tarp, however, it started pouring again. The stakes are back in for now. This is going to be tricky, since there’s another nasty, large storm cell approaching from the west.

First home run reversal at Comerica Park

For the second time this month, the Tigers had a home run under review. Friday’s replay, however, resulted in the first reversal in Comerica Park history, giving Miguel Cabrera a game-tying solo homer in the third inning against the Brewers.

Milwaukee starter Braden Looper retired the first two batters of the inning and had an 0-1 count on Cabrera, who pounced on a slider and launched a line drive deep to left. Second-base umpire Ron Kulpa initially ruled the ball as in play as Cabrera rounded the bases. Tigers third-base coach Gene Lamont immediately started up the argument before manager Jim Leyland came out of the dugout to ask for a conference.

Only the umpiring crew can call for a review, which third-base umpire and crew chief Dale Scott did quickly following a meeting. A couple minutes after going into the bowels of the ballpark to look at the replay, they came back out with a reversal.

The ballpark hadn’t had a review at all until June 4, when then-Tiger Jeff Larish launched a ball down the right-field line that was initially ruled foul. Replays confirmed the ruling.

“Umpires are amazing,” Leyland said after that decision. “I must have seen 10 replays before I was sure they had it right, but they did.”

Friday: Tigers vs. Brewers

As expected, Magglio is again out of the lineup, as he’ll continue to be for a little while. And while Jim Leyland was asked about his contract extension, he also spent quite a few minutes discussing Ordonez’s situation.

“Magglio Ordonez is not benched,” Leyland said Friday afternoon. “What I said was, and what I meant was, that I’m going to get him out of there indefinitely. And what I mean by that is, by Magglio’s own admission, and from what I’ve seen and the coaches have seen, we were kind of beating our head against the wall, all of us. I’ve tried [batting him in] the third spot. I’ve tried the fifth spot. I’ve tried the sixth spot. For whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to get him going yet, and that’s also by his own admission.

“Nobody’s upset with Magglio Ordonez. This is another thing that a manager does. A manager tries to think, ‘How do I get the best out of my players?’ We’ve looked at video. We’ve hit extra. For whatever reason, it’s not working right now. I don’t want to say this is the last straw, but this is another idea that I’ve come up with. When you keep beating your head against the wall and nothing happens, every once in a while you have to back off.”

TIGERS

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

P: Galarraga

BREWERS

  1. Craig Counsell, 2B
  2. Casey McGehee, DH
  3. Ryan Braun, LF
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Corey Hart, RF
  6. Mike Cameron, CF
  7. J.J. Hardy, SS
  8. Mat Gamel, 3B
  9. Jason Kendall, C

P: Braden Looper

Tigers call up Dusty Ryan

The Tigers brought up some catching help Friday, at least for the moment, by recalling Dusty Ryan from Triple-A Toledo.

Ryan temporarily fills the roster spot that opened Thursday, when Detroit placed Dontrelle Willis on the 15-day disabled list. Alfredo Figaro will be promoted from Double-A Erie to start Saturday for the Tigers, but will have to be added to the roster before Saturday’s game.

Ryan spent most of last September as the Tigers’ everyday catcher, batting .318 with two homers and seven RBIs in 15 games, but went back to prospect status once Detroit traded for Gerald Laird at last December’s Winter Meetings. He got off to a slow start in Spring Training and then into the season at Triple-A Toledo, batting .156 in April with 13 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. He rebounded to hit .309 in May with four homers and 12 RBIs.

For the year, the 24-year-old Ryan is hitting .259 with seven homers and 23 RBIs.

Ryan’s recent performance raised speculation that he could be promoted to back up Laird in Detroit, where Dane Sardinha’s hitting struggles left him out of the starting lineup while the Tigers played six Interleague road games without a designated hitter at Pittsburgh and St. Louis. For Friday, at least, they’ll go with three catchers

Tigers sign 16 Draft picks

The Tigers began the process Friday of bringing players into their system from last week’s First-Year Player Draft. The team announced it has agreed to terms with 16 of its first 27 selections, including four of the top 10.

All of the signings were college players. Third-round pick Wade Gaynor, a power-hitting third baseman out of Western Kentucky, was the highest selection to agree to terms. Others included Oklahoma center fielder Jamie Johnson, a seventh-round pick, Winthrop catcher John Murrian and University of Pittsburgh second baseman Chris Sedon.

Michigan State catcher Eric Roof, son of Tigers roving outfield instructor Gene Roof, also agreed to terms. He was the Tigers’ 18th-round selection, and will join brother Shawn Roof in the Tigers farm system.

The signings were expected relatively soon after the Draft. The next step for the Tigers will be to try to sign some of their other college draftees, such as University of Texas reliever Austin Wood, as well as top high school talents who are debating whether to turn pro or go to college. The latter group includes first-round pick Jacob Turner as well as sixth-rounder Daniel Fields.

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