March 15th, 2010

Sizemore finally feeling it at the plate

We’ve rambled on and on all spring about Scott Sizemore’s ankle and whether it would allow him to be ready for the regular season. We’ve done very little to ask the same question about Sizemore’s bat.

Monday was a big day in that respect.

What had been a slow spring for Sizemore with a .150 average entering Monday got a jump start against the Jays. It wasn’t just about the leadoff home run his first at-bat, but the two other balls he hit hard in two other at-bats. One went for a base hit, the other for a line out.

“Good to finally get a few knocks and feel somewhat confident in there,” Sizemore said afterward.

Sizemore said he has worked some with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, but not a whole lot yet. He’s going by feel with his swing at this point rather than getting too much into mechanics. Monday was a big day for him on that.

“Today was the first day I really felt like I had an idea of what everything was going on in there: Contact point, hands, feet, legs,” Sizemore said. “I could kind of feel what I was doing in the box today. So yeah, it felt good. Today was a big step in the right direction, for sure.”

Leyland could sense that step.

“He’s getting his feet wet,” Leyland said. “If you make a mistake in there, he’s got some power.”

As for the ankle, Sizemore said it felt good today with the exception of the end, when it felt a little sore. He thinks that had a little bit to do with sitting around between innings and letting it cool down too much. He’s going to have to find ways to keep it loose during long innings in the dugout, especially back in Detroit in April with the weather cool. He has some little tricks he has done on his own, such as calf raises, but the point is to keep it moving. So if you see Sizemore constantly standing and moving around in the dugout, that’ll be why.
Still, it’s sounding like the ankle is becoming less and less of a question. Jim Leyland said today he was told by the medical staff that Sizemore is about to be removed from the daily list of injuries Leyland receives each day.

Other tidbits:

  • It was bound to happen sometime, but the first simulated game of Tigers Spring Training is on for Thursday at 11am, when the team will line up hitters to take swings off Max Scherzer. That move allows Dontrelle Willis to get the start in the main game against the Astros at 1:05. That game will be broadcast online at MLB.TV, on MLB Network nationally and FSN Detroit locally. The cameras make for a very interesting addition to Dontrelle’s comeback attempt.
  • Didn’t write much about Armando Galarraga’s start, but it was up in down. He’d move ahead of some hitters and then fall behind on counts the next batter. As Leyland pointed out, “His command was inconsistent.”
  • In case you’re wondering which pitcher is starting where for Friday’s road split-squad game, here it goes: Rick Porcello will face the Yankees at 1:05 in Tampa, then Jeremy Bonderman will face the Braves at 6:05 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
  • Two more scoreless innings Monday from first-round pick Jacob Turner, who didn’t have a whole lot of trouble doing it. One longtime scout who saw Turner pitch in the ‘B’ game against the Astros earlier this month said he compares favorably to Rick Porcello, someone who has the stuff and the composure and could be ready in a year or two.
  • Mike Rabelo spent last year trying to get over shoulder problems, and he said more than once he was simply happy to be healthy and catching again. So you can imagine his frustration at being sidelined the last few days with right oblique soreness suffered when he took a swing during batting practice. He was moving around today, so it doesn’t seem as severe as what Marcus Thames had last year, but that doesn’t mean he’s on the rebound yet.

Seay set to throw side session

Bobby Seay’s throwing program has progressed to the point that he’s ready to throw off a mound. That’s apparently coming up Tuesday in Lakeland, either live BP or a simple bullpen session. If he gets through that, he could be pitching in game action of some sort soon.

The Tigers have a simulated game Thursday to get innings for Max Scherzer while Dontrelle Willis starts in the regular game that day. Not sure if that would be an option for Seay at this point. Regardless, one could envision Seay pitching in game action of some sort by the end of the week.

That would give Seay around two weeks, maybe a little less, before the Tigers break camp and head north. If Seay needs 10 outings to get ready for the season, that clearly isn’t going to happen in that time frame. If he can be ready in, say, five or six outings, that might be doable. But manager Jim Leyland said he doesn’t have a number in mind.

Monday: Tigers vs. Blue Jays, Round 4

This time, it counts, because it’s on TV. It’s on FSN Detroit up north, and MLB Network nationally.

As mentioned last night, Austin Jackson has this game off. He’s going to take BP, lay down some bunt attempts for base hits on the back fields and then he’s done for the day. Scott Sizemore starts at leadoff so that he has a better chance of getting an extra plate appearance before Jim Leyland goes to his bench at second base in the later innings.

Ramon Santiago was originally in the starting lineup, but was scratched because he’s under the weather. He had some sort of illness last week, because he had just about lost his voice.

TIGERS

  1. Sizemore, 2B
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Laird, C
  8. Wells, CF
  9. Nunez, SS

P: Armando Galarraga,

BLUE JAYS

  1. Jarrett Hoffpauir, 3B
  2. Brad Emaus, 2B
  3. Jeremy Reed, RF
  4. Randy Ruiz, 1B
  5. Brian Dopirak, DH
  6. Travis Snider, LF
  7. Chris Aguila, CF
  8. Jose Molina, C
  9. Tyler Pastornicky, SS

P: Marc Rzepczynski

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