January 4th, 2010

Laird hopes to clear up info on arrest

Dave Dombrowski said Monday that he expects to talk with Gerald Laird shortly about the events that led to the Tigers catcher’s arrest last week at a Phoenix Suns basketball game on an assault citation.

Laird can’t say much publicly about the incident at this point, but he hopes to clear up the matter soon.

“It’s been kind of a misunderstanding and a little blown out of proportion,” Laird told MLB.com by phone Monday evening.

According to the Arizona Republic, the 30-year-old Laird was arrested along with his younger brother, Yankees prospect Brandon Laird, after what Phoenix police characterized as a fight in a lounge at the U.S. Airways Center after last Wednesday’s Suns game against the Celtics. The report quoted a Phoenix police sergeant saying that Gerald Laird and a third person interfered with arena security as guards tried to arrest Brandon Laird following the fight.

Dombrowski said Laird left a message with him shortly after the arrest. Dombrowski and his family were on vacation at the time.

“He placed a call to me and we have not talked yet,” Dombrowski said. “I’m sure we’ll be talking, but I was up to date.”

Nothing going on Tigers, Hudson

Sometimes an opinion piece turns into speculation, which turns into a rumor, which turns into a report.

So I’m off for the holidays and return to find the Tigers in Orlando Hudson rumors, which makes me wonder if something had changed with rookie Scott Sizemore — either with his recovery timetable from the broken ankle or what the Tigers expect out of him.

Apparently nothing has changed, either with Sizemore or at second base. They still expect Sizemore to be ready when Spring Training opens, and they still expect him to be their starting second baseman on Opening Day.

“We expect him to be our second baseman,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Monday morning. “We have not changed on Sizemore.”

Without mentioning Hudson by name, Dombrowski pretty much shot down the rumor of pursuing Hudson to replace Placido Polanco.

Consider this: If the Tigers were really attracted to the idea of bringing in a veteran second baseman for a year until Polanco was ready, whether Sizemore was ready or not, they probably wouldn’t have hesitated to offer Polanco arbitration. Keep in mind that while Hudson signed for a relatively low base salary last year, he doubled his salary in performance bonuses for plate appearances, to the point where he would’ve made around $8 million.

Dombrowski’s comments in general indicated he doesn’t feel they have to do anything, though they’re going to explore it and see if it makes sense. If they went into Spring Training with the team they have now, Dombrowski said, they’d be fine with that.

That includes the bullpen, where they have some young closing options but nobody proven. Dombrowski said the Tigers didn’t actively pursue Matt Capps before he signed with the Nationals, and that signings over the last couple weeks haven’t really changed their outlook from last month, when they said they could go with someone they already have as a closer.

“We’re content with what we have now, the guys we have out there,” Dombrowski said. “The real key for us is the [Joel] Zumaya situation.”

That said, Dombrowski added, “At this point, we’re still open minded. If something happens we feel can help us, we’ll do that.”

Zumaya is still on track to report to camp sometime this month. He’s working out to get ready for Spring Training, rather than rehabbing, and the Tigers sound encouraged.

“He felt good,” Dombrowski said. “There was no change in that regard.”

One more note: Dombrowski said he has not spoken with catcher Gerald Laird since his arrest last week. Laird called him after the incident, but Dombrowski was on vacation with his family at the time.

“I’m sure we’ll be talking,” Dombrowski said, “but I was up to date on what happened.”

They’ll talk, but from the Tigers’ standpoint, there isn’t really much to do.