August 26th, 2009

Wednesday: Tigers at Angels

After thinking it over, manager Jim Leyland opted to start Curtis Granderson Wednesday against Angels left-hander Joe Saunders. He’s on a hot streak in a ballpark where he hits very well (8 HRs in 20 career games at Angel Stadium) and where the ball can fly on day games, so it’s as good of a situation as any for him. On the other hand, while Aubrey Huff is 8-for-18 lifetime off Saunders, he’s in an 0-for-13 skid and a 1-for-16 road trip.

One factor to keep in mind today: It’s hot. Really hot. As mentioned, the ball usually carries well in day games here anyway, so that’s a factor. The Tigers had a note up in the clubhouse to drink plenty of water.

TIGERS

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

P: Edwin Jackson

ANGELS

  1. Chone Figgins, 3B
  2. Bobby Abreu, RF
  3. Torii Hunter, CF
  4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
  5. Kendry Morales, 1B
  6. Maicer Izturis, 2B
  7. Erick Aybar, SS
  8. Mike Napoli, C
  9. Gary Matthews Jr., LF

P: Joe Saunders

Galarraga to Toledo, Robertson to start Saturday

Nate Robertson is returning to the Detroit Tigers to start. Armando Galarraga is heading to Triple-A Toledo to basically recuperate.

The Tigers announced Wednesday that they’ve optioned Galarraga to the Mud Hens for what is expected to be a 10-day stay, the minimum required for a player optioned out unless he replaces an injured player. The right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start for Detroit Friday with inflammation in his throwing elbow.

Taking his place while he’s out will be Robertson, who will make his first Major League start in over almost a full year. The veteran left-hander, who spent the first half of the season in the Tigers bullpen before going on the DL for surgery to remove tissue masses from his left elbow.

Robertson will be activated from the disabled list and start against the Rays on Saturday. Rookie Rick Porcello, who was originally scheduled to pitch Saturday, will be moved up to pitch in Galarraga’s old spot Friday.

Galarraga’s inflammation is not expected to be serious. Since rosters will have been expanded beyond 25 players by the time he’s eligible to be recalled, the Tigers won’t need to make a return move to make room for him when he’s ready. If it works out as planned, it’ll be a shorter absence than if the Tigers had placed him on the DL.

Laird puts Verlander matter behind him

When Gerald Laird met up with family members after Monday’s game, he didn’t tell his dad about the, well, animated discussion he had with Justin Verlander in the Tigers dugout in the sixth inning. Then he tuned into Sportscenter. So much for that.

“He didn’t know it happened, and then everyone sees it,” Laird said. “Honestly, I didn’t think it was going to be on [the ESPN broadcast]. It was just one of those things where I thought I was right and [Verlander] thought he was right, we discussed it and after the game we shook hands.”

 Laird’s views on the matter sounded much like that of Verlander Monday night, that it was emotions of the game catching up with them and spilling out in public view when they shouldn’t have. And now, it’s over.

“It escalated probably more than it needed to,” Laird said. “If it wasn’t the ESPN game, I don’t think anyone would’ve seen it. It was just one of those things that got caught on TV. I’m sure we’ll talk about it today, but we shook hands [last night]. We’re friends. We have dinner together all the night. It’s just one of those misunderstandings.”

Laird said what sparked it came not from pitch selections, but from a point during the sixth when Laird tried to walk out to the mound.

“It was when we went out there and he called me halfway,” Laird said. “That was the disagreement right there, just on signs, I think it was. That’s it. He just mentioned something. He’s a competitor. You don’t like to get hit around. I’m sure he got frustrated and went to the dugout. I was frustrated because I want him to do the best he can. I don’t want him to give up runs, get hit around. It’s just one of those things in the heat of the moment. That’s it.”

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