September 29th, 2009

Washburn hoping for return in 2-4 weeks

Jarrod Washburn said today the timetable he was given on his rehab program for his ailing left knee could have him back in 2-4 weeks, should the Tigers be playing around then.

Washburn, back with the club after missing the road trip to visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lewis Yocum, said he’s two weeks into a 4-6 week program designed to strengthen the muscles around his knee, which has instability on the inner side. That’s enough for him to hold off on surgery for now and try to get back into pitching shape.

“It was either that or surgery,” Washburn said.

That doesn’t mean he’s avoiding surgery. There’s a good chance he’ll have to have it this offseason. But waiting on that doesn’t hurt him, and he feels he owes it to the Tigers to at least try to come back, even if it’s a long shot.

“It’s frustrating,” Washburn said. “I’ve done nothing since I got here, and it’s all because of the knee.”

Porcello probably done until playoffs

When Jim Leyland extended Rick Porcello out to 111 pitches Tuesday against the Twins, he did so expecting that he’d be getting some extra rest. Because Monday’s rainout pretty much washed away any chance of Porcello pitching this weekend.

Asked if there’s any chance of Porcello pitching again this week, Leyland said, “I doubt it.”

If Porcello pitched Monday, he would’ve come back Saturday on his normal rest. With a Tuesday start, he would have to pitch on short rest to do that, which isn’t going to happen with a 20-year-old rookie.

Porcello could conceivably pitch on regular rest Sunday, but that has been Verlander’s spot all along in case the Tigers need a win in the season’s final day. It sounds unlikely that Verlander would pitch on short rest Saturday, either.

That would leave the Tigers in a spot start situation Saturday in a week when they’re already starting Eddie Bonine and Nate Robertson Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. The only other Tigers on the pitching staff who have started a game like that this year are Alfredo Figaro, who hasn’t started a game since June because a wrist injury forced him to miss nearly two months, and Zach Miner, whom Leyland said a few weeks ago he would rather not start unless “absolutely, 100 percent necessary.”

Monday night: Tigers vs. Twins

It’s the standard lineup for a left-hander, the same lineup Brian Duensing pretty much command a week and a half ago at the Metrodome. We’ll see how it goes.

The big story for the Twins is that Joe Mauer is catching the nightcap, a situation in which he would normally DH. Instead, Jason Kubel is the DH, with Carlos Gomez added to the lineup in center field for a speed factor near the bottom of the order.

TIGERS

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

P: Justin Verlander

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, RF
  2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Jason Kubel, DH
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Carlos Gomez, CF
  8. Matt Tolbert, 3B
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Brian Duensing

Blackburn on Tigers

This was a telling comment on Nick Blackburn on the Tigers offense Tuesday afternoon:

“First couple innings were a struggle. [Pitching coach Rick Anderson] came out and told me he saw a few
mechanical things I was doing different. Once we got those lined out, hitters
started battling themselves — in a way, kind of getting themselves out, taking
defensive swings and not sure what was coming
. So, for the most part,
they kept hitting the ball at people.”

Monday: Tigers vs. Twins

Magglio Ordonez was in the lineup for the rainout last night, but he isn’t in there today. With the doubleheader, Leyland was not going to start Magglio both games, instead giving Clete Thomas a shot in the opener after his nice game over the weekend.

More interesting might be the fact that Gerald Laird will probably catch both games. He’s in the lineup for the opener to work with Rick Porcello, which has been a good combination, and Laird has been working with Justin Verlander for all but one start this year.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Jason Kubel, RF
  5. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  6. Delmon Young, LF
  7. Jose Morales, DH
  8. Matt Tolbert, 3B
  9. Nick Punto, 2B

P: Nick Blackburn

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