August 15th, 2009

Fields weighs offer from Tigers

Daniel Fields, the standout shortstop from University of Detroit Jesuit High School and son of former Tigers coach Bruce Fields, said Saturday he’s still weighing whether to accept an offer from the Tigers to turn pro or follow through on his commitment to the University of Michigan.

It’s a decision he expects will go all the way up toward Monday night’s midnight signing deadline, making him one of several Tigers picks from the First-Year Player Draft still in limbo as the hours dwindle for the team to sign them.

Fields was considered a potential first-round talent heading into the season, and he didn’t disappoint, earning honors such as the Louisville Slugger Michigan High School Player of the Year. He fell to the sixth round, however, in large part due to expectations he would go to college.

He still might, but he’s keeping his options open, and the Tigers are trying their best to entice him to sign. They made Fields a contract offer, and he said Saturday he expects to be in touch with them this weekend. At some point, he’s going to talk it over with his family and make a decision. For now, he’s said, it’s a nervous time.

Ironically, his dad will be at work Monday night as the deadline approaches — in of all places, the Tigers’ farm system. The Cleveland Indians roving hitting instructor is meeting up with Triple-A Columbus, which plays at Toledo this coming week. The elder Fields, of course, also managed at Toledo for years before he became Detroit’s hitting coach in 2003.

If Fields does sign, obviously, it’s a very big gain for the Tigers from that round of the draft.

Galarraga all set for Sunday

Just talked with Armando Galarraga. He still isn’t back to full strength quite yet, having gone a couple days without being able to eat, but he’s healthy and has enough energy to pitch.

“I don’t expect to go out there and throw nine innings,” he said. “But if I can throw six good things, I’ll be OK.”

Galarraga has thrown side sessions the past two days and felt fine. Manager Jim Leyland said they expect him to go, and both Zach Miner and Eddie Bonine said they’ve been told they’re working out of the bullpen.

Don't expect many September call-ups

A little more than two weeks remain before Major League teams can expand their active rosters from 25 to as many as 40, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland already is aniticipating that they won’t make many additions.

As Leyland put it, the less, the better.

“I don’t think having a bunch of players up that you’re not going to use,” Leyland said.

That’s a change for him from past years, he admits. He used to handle September call-ups as a way to reward a player who worked hard at Triple-A, especially if they were sent down earlier in the year. He still likes that notion, but not if it means the player is going to sit around for a month and barely play.

One exception to that rule would be for a third catcher on the roster. Leyland plans to take advantage of that, allowing him to use Alex Avila as a left-handed bat for pinch-hitting on days when Gerald Laird starts behind the plate.

What that means for other Mud Hens, such as infielders Scott Sizemore and Brent Dlugach, remains to be seen. Same for outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.

Avila's role expanding

What had been a plan to use Alex Avila to catch just Rick Porcello and Armando Galarraga starting out seems to be expanding a bit. Avila is in the lineup tonight to catch Edwin Jackson, and manager Jim Leyland suggested Friday that he could use Avila with left-hander Jarrod Washburn going forward.

That said, manager Jim Leyland mentioned after Saturday’s game that Gerald Laird will catch Sunday with Galarraga pitching. That has more to do with the opposing pitcher; Laird is 5-for-12 off Royals starter Kyle Davies with a double, homer and three RBIs.

Using Avila with Jackson isn’t a decision made on the spur of the moment. When Leyland set Avila’s schedule initially, he said he wanted to give Avila a chance to catch Jackson in a side session, which he did. Plus, Jackson has struggled in two of his last three starts.

If Avila starts catching Jackson regularly, of course, that’ll be the sign that Avila is starting more often than Laird.


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

P: Edwin Jackson


  1. David DeJesus, LF
  2. Mitch Maier, CF
  3. Billy Butler, 1B
  4. Mike Jacobs, DH
  5. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  6. Mark Teahen, RF
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Alex Gordon, 3B
  9. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

P: Luke Hochevar

Reminder: Get to park early if you can

You haven’t seen many Lions and Tigers home games on the same day the last few years, but Saturday is one of them. This time, they’re just a few hours apart, with the Lions hosting the Falcons in their preseason opener at 4pm.

With that in mind, fans coming to the Tigers-Royals game at 7:05pm are being advised to get to their parking spot early if they can. The gates at Comerica Park open at 5:30, by which point the Lions game should be somewhere around halftime. I have no idea how quickly fans leave a preseason football game.