September 11th, 2009
Word from the Tigers is that Nate Robertson left Friday’s game with a
left adductor strain, essentially a groin strain. The replay on his
final hit allowed, Vernon Wells’ double to right, shows Robertson
possibly tweaking something in that area when he rushed to cover home
plate as Adam Lind rounded third.
UPDATE: Robertson underwent an MRI late Friday night to determine the severity. At the very least, manager Jim Leyland said, he is expected to miss his next turn in the Tigers rotation. Catcher Gerald Laird indicated that the injury seemed to be bothering him well before that play.
Daniel Fields’ batting practice at Comerica Park Friday afternoon wasn’t an arrival. For him, it was more like a reunion.
Four years ago, he was a coach’s kid looking up to the players. Now he’s a Tigers prospect, selected in the sixth round of June’s First-Year Player Draft. At least sizewise, more than a few Tigers are looking up to him.
“Ramon Santiago, he played with my dad in the Minors,” Fields said, referring to Santiago’s time at West Michigan playing for Bruce Fields. “It’s been a while since I’d seen him, so I gave him a big old hug. Alex Avila, I met him a couple years ago. He actually played against my brother in the summer [leagues], and I met him back then. There were a couple other guys I’d seen when my dad was coaching here [as hitting coach]. It was good to see those guys again.”
It was at Comerica Park where his resume as a hitter began to grow, where he hit a ball over the fence as a 13-year-old taking batting practice with his father. He didn’t clear the fences Friday, but he took just a couple rounds. It was enough for one of those moments where it hits the younger Fields that he’s now a professional baseball player, a realization that first crossed his mind in the hours after his late-night signing just ahead of the deadline.
“My friends were at my house when everything was happening,” Fields said. “After everybody left, I kind of went upstairs and was sitting in my room thinking about it, and that’s when it hit me: I was a professional athlete.”
He had another moment soon afterwards in Lakeland, where his first memories date back about 10 years. He was an eight-year-old following around his dad, then working Spring Training as an instructor, when one of those Florida downpours opened up over the complex.
“Everybody ran to go into the cafeteria or the locker room,” the younger Fields recalled. “For some reason, I turned my back, and when I turned around, everybody was gone. I was just looking around like, ‘Where did everybody go?’ I ran into the minor league clubhouse, and nobody was in there. So I went out and I saw my mom. She was picking one of our family friends up and was taking him back home. I saw my mom, so I started running after the car, and then everybody got into the car and she left.
“I was running down the street and chasing the car. She goes off, and I didn’t know where the car was, so I was walking down the street, and the whole time I’m just crying.”
Suffice it to say, he knows his way around now. He’s certainly on the Tigers’ radar. He’ll be back in Lakeland shortly for the start of the fall instructional league, then return home for offseason workouts.
Manager Jim Leyland wants to play Granderson as much as he can for the final 3 1/2 weeks, but he doesn’t want him having to struggle at the top of the lineup against lefties. Thus, Granderson is batting seventh Friday against Blue Jays left-hander Brian Tallet. Leyland said he’ll start him again Sunday against fellow southpaw Ricky Romero before resting him Monday against lefty David Purcey.
“He’s going to be a big key for us,” Leyland said of Granderson Friday.
The result is that we’ll see less of Wilkin Ramirez than one might’ve figured. As Leyland pointed out, it’s difficult to play a rookie down the stretch of a playoff race.
“I’m going to pretty much go with the guys who have been here all year,” Leyland said. “If it isn’t good enough, it isn’t good enough.”
- Raburn, LF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Thames, DH
- Inge, 3B
- Granderson, CF
- Laird, C
- Everett, SS
P: Nate Robertson
- Marco Scutaro, SS
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Adam Lind, LF
- Vernon Wells, CF
- Kevin Millar, 1B
- Rod Barajas, C
- Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
- Randy Ruiz, DH
- Jose Bautista, RF
P: Brian Tallet