March 28th, 2010
For all the tests Brandon Inge has been through this spring, his sliding stop and throw at third base Saturday was his first acrobatic play since coming back from surgery on his knees. And he came through it feeling fine, much to his relief.
“When I say I’m 90 percent [certain I’m healthy], it’s stuff like that I’m not sure about,” Inge said Sunday morning.
Inge had Sunday’s game off after playing in 12 games over the previous 15 days. He’ll be back in action Monday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.
The Tigers roster isn’t set yet, but manager Jim Leyland has a very good idea how it would play out if it was solely his choice.
“If I was to write down the team today, I could write it down,” Leyland said Sunday. “That doesn’t mean it would be the team. I don’t have the final say.”
He isn’t telling what it is, but he’s giving an idea that versatility is
important. Jeff Larish, he said, would have a better chance if he could play center field.
What went unsaid, of course, is that Don Kelly and Clete Thomas can. They’ve been the other candidates under consideration for the final bench spot. Thomas can play all three outfield positions, while Kelly plays all three outfield spots, third, second and first base. How Leyland feels about Brandon Inge and Scott Sizemore, and how often he’ll want to rest them early in the season, could have an impact. But then, something similar could be said of Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez for different reasons.
If the Tigers are looking to upgrade at second base, as one unnamed official from another club was quoted as saying in a published piece on Spring Training trade rumors, it’s news to them, including the guy in charge of trades. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Sunday morning that the rumor was “absolutely not true,” and that the Tigers have been happy with Sizemore this spring.
The only question on Sizemore going into the final week of Spring Training is whether he hits seventh or eighth. For that matter, the rest of the Tigers starting lineup is set.
“A lot of clubs have been calling on our pitching,” Dombrowski said. “But as far as Scott Sizemore, we’re happy.”
The Tigers start a three-day, three-game road trek today, the kind of trip that can be difficult for the final week of Spring Training — Tampa today, Dunedin tomorrow, then Sarasota Tuesday to effectively wrap up the road slate. By the time the Tigers play in Lakeland again, it’ll pretty much be decision time.
Jim Leyland is trying to make it a little bit more manageable by splitting up the first couple trips. The starting outfielders made the trip today; the starting infield will go back to Dunedin tomorrow.
- Jackson, CF
- Damon, LF
- Ordonez, RF
- Raburn, 2B
- Guillen, LF
- Dlugach, 3B
- Larish, 1B
- Avila, C
- Santiago, SS
P: Max Scherzer
- Derek Jeter, SS
- Nick Johnson, DH
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Alex Rodriguez, 3B
- Robinson Cano, 2B
- Jorge Posada, C
- Curtis Granderson, CF
- Nick Swisher, RF
- Brett Gardner, LF
P: Andy Pettitte