October 2009

Granderson wins Marvin Miller Man of the Year award

For those who missed it this morning, Curtis Granderson was selected by MLB players as this year’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year for excellence on and off the field. The story is on the site if you want to read more, but from what I’ve looked up, it’s the first time a Tiger has won a national baseball award for community service since Al Kaline.

Here’s Granderson’s reaction to the award:

“I am honored to not only be receiving such an award, but also humbled that this
was voted on by other Major League Baseball players. I am in a position to use
my status as a professional baseball player to help others in need to rally
others to help those in need.

“Working with the Detroit Tigers Foundation, the Detroit Action Team and the
various other programs along with my own Grand Kids Foundation, I have seen
first-hand impacts being made in Detroit and other inner cities throughout
Michigan. I am excited at being able to continue to help enhance the educational
experience for many of Michigan’s students.
“I want to help others realize that they do not have to be rich and famous
to make a positive impact in their community. Volunteering just one hour a week
at any community organization or school can make a difference.”

Granderson also was on the Mike and Mike show this morning talking about it. There’s a sound clip available on the show’s home page on the ESPN Radio site.

Whatever your reactions on Granderson’s season at the plate, and I know there’s a range of reax, this is a nice award to get. The way the postseason awards are shaping up, it’s probably going to be the only individual award the Tigers get this year.

Sizemore undergoes surgery on ankle

Scott Sizemore underwent surgery on his fractured left ankle Tuesday, including screws inserted to stabilize it, but the Tigers still expect him to be healed and ready for the start of spring training next February.

According to the Tigers, Sizemore will spend two weeks with a splint on his ankle, then a CAM boot to immobilize the ankle and foot. If all goes well, doctors will remove the screws in January.

While the surgery will obviously alter Sizemore’s offseason rehab — before the tendon damage was discovered, the Tigers hoped the simple fracture could be healed with six weeks in a protective boot — it shouldn’t impact his season. He’ll begin full weight-bearing activity once the screws are out and have at least a month between then and the time position players report to camp.

Tigers confirm interest in Cuban defector Chapman

Jason Beck / MLB.com

Add the Tigers to the meeting list for Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman as he talks with Major League teams.

Tom Moore, the team’s director of international operations, confirmed a published report that the team has shown interest in meeting with the highly-regarded left-hander and his representatives in the next couple weeks.

The interest was first reported by SI.com. The report lists the Tigers among nine teams to have shown some level of interest in Chapman, joining the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, White Sox, Cubs, Mets, A’s and Cardinals.

That doesn’t mean the Tigers are going to get into a bidding war. At this point, the Tigers don’t go in with financial expectations. But with Chapman and his representatives meeting with clubs and allowing teams to get to know the highly-touted hurler, the Tigers will take the opportunity and talk.

“We’re basically just at the interest level,” Moore cautioned. “Because of the nature, I think it’s a situation where they’re going to take the time to allow clubs to spend some time with the player and see who he is.”

Sizemore visits team doctor

Tigers 2B prospect Scott Sizemore visited a team doctor for a follow-up exam on the left ankle he fractured last Thursday in the Arizona Fall League. Should be hearing something out of that on Tuesday.

UPDATE @ 8pm: Sizemore is expected to require surgery, though the team has no comment. Detroit Free Press reports quotes Sizemore saying it’ll be Tuesday. Nothing firm on timetable, though Sizemore told the Freep he hopes to be ready for spring training.

So far, Porcello getting no ROY credit

Still a few weeks to go until the Rookie of the Year award from baseball writers. However, various other publications have come out with their own choices, and Rick Porcello isn’t winning any of them. White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham won AL honors from The Sporting News, while Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen won Baseball America’s Major League Rookie of the Year award. Porcello didn’t even make the list of three AL finalists for the Players Choice award as voted on by players; Beckham, Jeff Niemann and Elvis Andrus beat him out there.

To be fair, a lot of the credit given to Porcello this year was more about what he showed for his age, rather than what he has done as a rookie. But without Porcello, the Tigers wouldn’t have led the AL Central for as long as they did, and they almost certainly would’ve been in trouble in the division tiebreaker game a few weeks ago. Porcello’s performance in that game may or may not bolstered his award hopes, depending on how many writers waited until then to vote. Ballots were due when the postseason began, which technically wasn’t until the next day.

Sizemore out for AFL season with fractured tibia

The Tigers’ second baseman of the future won’t be playing anymore this year. Scott Sizemore will miss the rest of the Arizona Fall League season after breaking his left ankle trying to turn a double play during a game Thursday.

Sizemore is traveling to Detroit this weekend for follow-up exams. However, he told the Detroit Free Press that the injury is not expected to require surgery to repair, meaning he should be ready in time for Spring Training.

The 24-year-old was off to a scorching start to the AFL campaign, going 7-for-19 with two doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in five games for the Peoria Javelinas. He was following up a regular season in which he batted.308 with 39 doubles, 17 homers and 66 RBIs between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Those numbers, combined with his progress defensively over the course of the season — he turned 100 double plays and made 21 errors in 118 games at second base — convinced team officials that he’s ready for the jump the Major Leagues. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in his end-of-season remarks that Sizemore would be their starting second baseman if they can’t re-sign soon-to-be free agent Placido Polanco.

This injury isn’t expected to change those plans. Barring a setback, he’ll be fully recovered well ahead of the start of camp in February. He’ll be the second Tigers infielder there to have spent the offseason recovering from injury. Brandon Inge will undergo surgery on both knees Nov. 3 but is on schedule to be ready for baseball activity around the start of February.


Inge to have surgery on both knees

Just got confirmation from the Tigers, who say Inge will have surgery on both knees, which Inge did not confirm Wednesday night. He’s still expected to be ready for the start of spring training. Team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos will perform the surgery Nov. 3 at Detroit Medical Center.

Brandon Inge to have knee surgery

Jason Beck / MLB.com

Brandon Inge will undergo surgery on his left knee to repair the damage inflicted this summer that hobbled him the last few months.

Inge confirmed the surgery to MLB.com via text message Wednesday evening, adding it was scheduled for the end of October or early November. No official announcement has been made.

The timing should give Inge enough recovery and rehab time to be ready for Spring Training.

An examination since season’s end apparently revealed enough damage in Inge’s left knee to prompt doctors to recommend surgery. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said two weeks ago that they hadn’t yet determined whether Inge would need surgery, but that there was the possibility he could recover without it. That was apparently before doctors took another look.

“I think it’s more a matter of looking at what they have on MRI and X-rays and examining those,” Dombrowski said two weeks ago, “and they’ll have a feel of where he is now compared with where he was before.”

The surgery isn’t a complete surprise; Inge openly wondered about the possibility last month. At the time, he said his knee felt worse at times down the stretch than it did over the summer. When Inge made diving stop on two occasions in September, he said it was the worst his knee had felt in a while.

Plus, if the rehab option hadn’t progressed as hoped, Inge could’ve ended up needing surgery anyway.

Guillen and the Tigers lineup

Jason Beck / MLB.com

Carlos Guillen said a lot about his own situation, both last week and over the weekend. What separated his comments over the weekend, beyond his stance that he didn’t want to play left field because of how the situation played out last year, was his frustration over Leyland’s lineup tinkering. Those comments weren’t just about himself, but the team in general.

It painted a picture of frustration over how much criticism hitters received for the Tigers’ struggles. To listen to Guillen tell it, the amount of lineup tinkering made it difficult for any hitter to get into a groove.

“Before he points the finger at the offense, he’d better look in the mirror and see what he did,” Guillen said Sunday. “I don’t want to make an excuse, but nobody in the big leagues feels comfortable when you play [lineups] that way. It’s not fun to play like that.”

Those are remarks that go beyond Guillen’s own situation and towards the team as a whole.

According to baseball-reference.com, manager Jim Leyland used 126 different batting orders this year, not including pitchers during Interleague Play. The most common order was used just seven times. That’s actually more stable than last year, when Detroit used 131 different orders, none more than five times. But it’s still more lineups than in 2007 or 2006. The Tigers used 107 orders in ’07, one of them 25 times.

Guillen said it’s difficult for an offense to be consistent when someone gets three hits one night and is sitting the next. Leyland countered that maybe some guys were productive precisely because they didn’t play day in and day out. He also indicated it was a shared responsibility for the organization for not getting it done, and that both he and GM Dave Dombrowski had accepted their blame.

By the way, Guillen confirmed Tuesday he had talked with Leyland on Monday, and that they basically reached an understanding about his situation. It isn’t exactly bliss, but it’s something he’s accepting now.

Leyland: Guillen must produce to play every day

After Carlos Guillen said Tuesday that he wants an everyday job again, manager Jim Leyland said answered publicly Saturday by saying that if Guillen wants to play every day, he needs to stay healthy and produce.

Leyland said he, too, liked the idea of the switch-hitting Guillen playing every day.

“That’s music to my ears,” Leyland told MLB.com. “But playing every day comes with production.”

Leyland traditionally would rather have his players discuss their issues with him privately rather than take them public. He has not talked with Guillen since season’s end.

Leyland stood by his comments from the final days of the season, when he said he made his late-inning outfield moves for defensive purposes. He also kept in mind concerns about his shoulder prior to the stretch run, notably in terms of throwing.