July 29th, 2009

Yankees among clubs eyeing Josh Anderson

The Yankees have shown interest in former Tigers outfielder Josh
Anderson, following a report earlier Wednesday from cbssports.com’s
Danny Knobler. A second team, not yet identified, is also said to be
interested.

The Tigers designated Anderson’s
contract for assignment last week to make room for Carlos Guillen to
return from the disabled list, so Detroit isn’t in a position to ask
for much in a trade. Still, the speedy Anderson could be a fit for the
Yankees to fill in for Brett Gardner, who’s out until mid-August with a
fractured left thumb.

The Tigers will have to either swing a
deal with another club or let Anderson go if they can’t get him through
waivers. If he does sneak through waivers, the Tigers can outright him
to Triple-A Toledo.

Anderson batted .242 with the Tigers with
four doubles, four triples and 16 RBIs in 74 games, covering 165
at-bats. The 26-year-old stole 13 bases in 15 attempts.

Inge sits, looks to make changes

After much debating, Jim Leyland decided to give Brandon Inge the night off and pair it with Thursday’s scheduled off-day to give him two days of rest ahead of Friday’s series opener at Cleveland. He’s hoping it can make a difference in the pain that’s hounding Inge in the patella tendon around Inge’s left knee, though Inge isn’t so optimistic.

Inge talked Wednesday about using the night off to get away from the mental grind, then working a little with his swing to try to find a way to cut down on his pain without falling so much into bad habits. It might involve taking a two-strike approach throughout an at-bat and cutting down on the power, or keeping weight off of his front side in his stance.

“Mentally, I need to figure out how to go about this,” Inge said. “Everything’s kind of off right now because of the knee, so I’m going to have to make an adjustment.”

Ramon Santiago isn’t starting after taking that fol tip off his right shin, but he’s available if need be. Leyland might’ve started Santiago at second base and rested Placido Polanco otherwise, but he’ll instead look to rest Polanco at some point this weekend.

TIGERS

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

P: Justin Verlander

RANGERS

  1. Omar Vizquel, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. David Murphy, LF
  4. Marlon Byrd, CF
  5. Hank Blalock, 1B
  6. Andruw Jones, DH
  7. Josh Hamilton, RF
  8. Taylor Teagarden, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Scott Feldman

Zumaya to see Dr. Andrews

Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya will visit noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews Thursday morning for a diagnosis and a list of his options after he experienced more soreness in his ailing right shoulder.

Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said surgery is a possibility, but not a certainty, to clear up the bone shard in Zumaya’s shoulder from the stress fracture that developed last year.

“It’s going to be more of a diagnostic [visit] than a physical examination,” Rand said.

In other words, Zumaya seems to be back at the point where he was a week and a half ago, when shoulder pain forced him onto the disabled list after an outing against the Yankees. Together. Dr. Andrews and Zumaya have to decide whether he still has a shot to pitch again this year without surgery, or if he should just go ahead and have it now. Zumaya said last week that he would consider surgery if his shoulder soreness didn’t clear up.

Zumaya took two cortisone shots last week to quiet the swelling in his shoulder so the team medical staff could see how he felt when he threw. He had light sessions of catch last Saturday and Monday, Rand said, but complained of soreness again Tuesday.

Dr. Andrews has been consulting with Zumaya on his shoulder ever since he was diagnosed with a stress fracture last August. He advised Zumaya last year that he could work his way back to pitching again without surgery, that his fracture is a condition many football quarterbacks came through.

Zumaya came back better than expected in late April, throwing fastballs at his old velocity at 100 mph and above. For that reason, Zumaya said last week, he wasn’t overly concerned when he had shoulder soreness a few weeks ago. Once it became more severe during that outing at Yankees Stadium, Zumaya told the team medical staff.

If Zumaya opts for surgery now, it would almost surely end his season. Zumaya said last week that recovery takes about eight weeks, which would take up nearly the rest of the regular season. If he doesn’t have it now, he expects to have it when the season ends.

Leyland, Grilli revisited

Just when you thought the drama between Jim Leyland and Jason Grilli had long since passed, along came a 92 mph fastball from Jason Grilli that went behind Tigers batter Clete Thomas, head-high. It came in the fifth inning, with the Rangers on their way to a 7-3 win.

By the time the night was over, it was the catalyst for the inside pitches that left both dugouts with a warning from home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher.

The pitch in question came just after Thomas hit a long foul ball down the right-field line. But would Grilli, a Detroit teammate of Thomas to open the 2008 season, throw at him?

“When you don’t throw any wild pitches the rest of the time you’re out there, and one goes behind his head after a loud foul, it just looks suspicious,” Leyland said. “I’m not saying he did or he didn’t, but it did look suspicious. We were trying to send a message back.”

Leyland later described Grilli’s pitch as “careless.”

“I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t know what to think, whether he did or didn’t do it on purpose. That’s part of the game. Just go on about your business.”

You might remember the exchange of words between Leyland and Grilli last year. The Tigers traded Grilli to Colorado early in the year, and Grilli later was quoted in a Bob Nightengale article detailing the chemistry issues surrounding the ’08 Tigers.

Grilli has worked hard to put that behind him, and he didn’t indicate any hard feelings.

“I had great experiences over there,” he said. “I’ve been with the Tigers more than with any team in my career. It’s bragging rights, playing against your friends.”

The Tigers’ message pitch came an inning and a half after Grilli’s inside pitch, and immediately after Andrus homered to make it a 7-3 game. Zach Miner threw his next pitch behind Ian Kinsler.

“We weren’t trying to throw the ball behind Kinsler,” Leyland said. “We were trying to throw the ball down and in on him to get him to move his feet, just to send a message back. No question about it. And I’d do it again, because I felt Grilli’s was a real careless pitch. I think careless is a pretty good description of it.”

Once Eddie Guardado’s first pitch of the next inning went inside to Adam Everett, his teammate on the Twins last year, the dugouts were warned and several players were cxchanging words.

“I just don’t think there was anything to it,” Everett said. “To get it tight is one thing. To try to hit somebody is another.”

Leyland was seen talking intently with Fletcher and crew chief Tim McClelland after the inning ended.

“I just wanted to explain to them that we felt Grilli threw a purpose pitch after Thomas hit a loud foul,” Leyland said. “And the purpose pitch was at his head.”

The one player hit by a ball was Ramon Santiago, and it was a fourth-inning foul tip that knocked him out of the game with a bruised right shin. He’s day-to-day.

Washburn could be fit for Tigers

Oh, what a difference a turn in the rotation makes. When Jarrod
Washburn made his last start, baffling the Tigers over seven scoreless
innings, the Mariners looked like a team that could make a run in the
AL West after all. The Mariners didn’t win another game from their
other four starters, and as Washburn prepared for his next start
Tuesday night, rumors heated up about Washburn on the selling block.

The
Tigers had as good of a view as anybody at what Washburn could do, and
as a team in search of a left-handed starter, they couldn’t help but be
impressed. If the Mariners as serious about listening to offers for the
southpaw in his final year of his contract, look for the Tigers to at least inquire about him. The challenge for them is that so many other teams are in
need of solid, consistent starters that Washburn’s value could rise
quickly, especially now that a few contenders had injury concerns
emerge.

The Tigers had an appealing package for the Mariners in
trade talks for J.J. Putz over the winter, including left-handed power
hitting such as Jeff Larish. But these Mariners are a different team
than last fall.

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