July 27th, 2009

Knapp OK after passing out on plane

Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp was back at work for Monday’s series opener against the Rangers, but his trip to Texas was still the talk of the clubhouse after a frightening incident on the team flight.

Knapp passed out after trying to enter the restroom on the team plane, and briefly lost consciousness before head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and their staff scrambled to his aid to awaken him. An ambulance met the plane upon landing quickly at Love Field and took Knapp to a local hospital, where he stayed briefly before being released early Monday morning. The rest of the Tigers arrived at the team hotel around 2:30 a.m.

The Tigers were less than a half-hour away from Dallas when the incident happened, so emergency landing was necessary.

Knapp said he had been feeling ill before the flight and felt worse after he ate something. He also had taken Tamiflu, prescribed to all team personnel on the trip after Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla tested positive for H1N1 Type A influenza, commonly known as swine flu.

No official diagnosis was given for what was behind Knapp’s blackout, but a heart attack or stroke were quickly ruled out. Follow-up tests showed no cause for further concern.

Knapp resumed his normal duties Monday, albeit on short rest. He was more embarrassed about the incident than anything.

Still, that embarrassment couldn’t match the concern on the part of the Tigers as they watched Rand and others trying to revive him as the plane rushed to land.

“A lot of players were upset, scared,” Leyland said.

Said reliever Bobby Seay: “It was just pandemonium there for a minute. You don’t know what was going on.”

Magglio in lineup vs. right-hander

If Jim Leyland is rewarding Magglio Ordonez for looking better at the plate, he isn’t saying. But Ordonez, who went 3-for-8 against the White Sox over the weekend and is pulling the ball better lately, is in the Tigers lineup against Rangers rookie right-hander Tommy Hunter.

Leyland’s reaction when asked about it: “That’s my lineup today.”

It bears noting that Marcus Thames went 3-for-17 over last week’s homestand, while Ryan Raburn is batting .111 (4-for-36) over his last 12 games. There’s an opportunity out of necessity.

TIGERS

  1. Curtis Granderson, CF
  2. Placido Polanco, 2B
  3. Clete Thomas, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Carlos Guillen, DH
  6. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Gerald Laird, C
  9. Adam Everett, SS

P: Armando Galarraga

RANGERS

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

P: Tommy Hunter

Guillen doesn't limit Tigers trade options

Posted this on the MLB.com trade blog. Probably should’ve put it up here at the same time. Oh well. …

While Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski continues in
earnest his search for a hitter on the trade market, newly-returned
Carlos Guillen’s limitations aren’t expected to limit the Tigers’ trade
options, just as his return hasn’t stopped the Tigers from shopping
around.

The normally switch-hitting Guillen, activated from the
15-day disabled list Friday after missing 2 1/2 months with an injured
right shoulder, is currently limited to batting left-handed and playing
at designated hitter until his shoulder is stronger. However, as
Dombrowski and Guillen indicated over the weekend, they don’t expect
that to last for long.

“We’re looking for a bat,” Dombrowski
said when the Tigers activated Guillen Friday. “As you start talking
with clubs in the trade [market], which we’ve been doing a lot of, a
lot of the players that are available are DHs. In our mindset, we think
we might have as good of one as anybody, not that he’s going to be
limited to DH in the long run.

“I do not know when he’s going to be ready to play [the field]. It could be a couple days. It could be longer.”

Guillen
said Saturday he thinks he’ll be able to bat right-handed before he can
play the field, but he believes he’ll be able to do both.

“We’re
being careful with the shoulder [batting] from the right-hand side,”
Dombrowski said, “but he is feeling better and better all the time on
that.”

A corner outfielder, such as Washington’s Josh
Willingham, Baltimore’s Luke Scott or Florida’s Cody Ross, would still
be an easier fit for the Tigers, who platooned Marcus Thames and Ryan
Raburn over the weekend. Even if/when Guillen can play the outfield
again, they still could benefit from using him at DH once in a while,
which was their plan when the season started. But with DH types such
Washington’s Adam Dunn and Baltimore’s Aubrey Huff still mentioned, not
to mention the potential (albeit unlikely) to grab an infielder such as
Pittsburgh’s Freddy Sanchez, the Tigers aren’t necessarily hamstrung.

While
a bat has been the primary target for the Tigers, they’ve continued to
look around on the starting pitching market beyond Roy Halladay, who
appears out of reach. At this point, they’re more likely to get someone
to slot in behind top arms Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson than a
front-line starter. With Rick Porcello struggling to get out of the
sixth inning in his last six starts, and fellow rookie Luke French
having lasted six innings only one in his four starts, the Tigers could
justifiably worry about the impact on their bullpen down the stretch.
While they can watch pitch counts with one starter through the
rotation, doing so with two is far more difficult.

The Tigers
are believed to prefer a left-hander to balance out a rotation that has
French as the lone lefty. They’ve scouted Pittsburgh, which has
left-hander Zach Duke potentially available, and they’ve been linked in
reports with fellow Pirates southpaw Tom Gorzelanny, who has been
impressive at Triple-A Indianapolis this year. The Pirates, meanwhile,
had a scout at the entire Tigers homestand last week.

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