June 2010

Verlander meets Tom Seaver

The Tigers had three rough days in New York last week. Justin Verlander had a particularly rough outing in the series opener last Tuesday, but he might’ve gained something from a meeting with Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver. The point was to get Verlander to look at a lineup and determine where his outs are.

“Not to give too much credit to good hitters,” Verlander said. “That’s basically what I got out of it. Believe in yourself. Don’t try to overthink stuff.”

Jim Leyland talked before the game about looking down a lineup and determining where your outs are, which hitters are going to be tougher battles than others, and formulating a game plan that way. That seemed to be one of the points Leyland wants Verlander to gather, not that he’s usually one who lacks for confidence.

Ni optioned to Toledo

The much-pondered question of what the Tigers would do with Fu-Te Ni got an answer Wednesday afternoon, when he was optioned to Triple-A Toledo postgame. No return move was immediately announced, but the first candidate you probably thought of isn’t the guy. Leyland said Ryan Perry would not be the guy coming up.

“Perry’s going to pitch there until he’s right,” Leyland said, admitting with that he’s not down there on rehab simply to show he’s healthy.
“There’s nothing wrong with Perry’s health,” Leyland said. “Right now, there’s something wrong with his control. He’s rusty.”

Wednesday: Tigers at Twins

It’s the end of the nine-game, nine-day, three-city road trip, closing out with a noon local time game, but there’s a good number of Tigers taking part in the optional batting practice, Brennan Boesch among them. 

Magglio is in the lineup, but at DH. Leyland’s trying to take it easy on him for a day. Santiago gets his first day off in almost a week after five straight games started. He’ll get two days off before Friday’s series opener against the M’s.

By the way, if Avila had been catching today, the Tigers would have five rookies in the field, including the pitcher.

The Twins line up four left-handed hitters against Andy Oliver, but Joe Mauer isn’t one of them.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, DH
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Worth, SS
P: Andy Oliver
TWINS
  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
  7. Jim Thome, DH
  8. Nick Punto, SS
  9. Drew Butera, C
P: Kevin Slowey

Perry, Porcello both struggle for Hens

What was expected to be a big night for the Tigers’ pitching staff at Triple-A Toledo ended up producing some disappointing results. Both Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry struggled for the Mud Hens against Gwinnett Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field.

Porcello, making his second start for the Hens since being optioned out of Detroit, gave up five runs on 10 hits in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He produced 10 ground-ball outs compared with one in the air, but the hit total obviously nullified. Word from Toledo is that he threw a heavy dose of sliders, likely by design as he tries to nail down that pitch in his arsenal.
“My breaking ball was pretty good today,” Porcello told reporters. “I didn’t give up any hits on my breaking ball. The guys I was trying to get ahead of with the fastball were jumping on the fastball and getting hits. I can’t start everybody off with a breaking ball, so maybe I need to start guys off with the four-seamers away, then come back with breaking balls or the sinker.
“I’m still trying to figure things out myself; that’s why I’m down here. It’s frustrating. The bottom line is that there’s a lot of stuff I need to figure out down here.”
Perry followed his roommate to begin the seventh and battled his command, throwing just 16 of his 36 pitches for strikes. He gave up an unearned run on two walks and a well-hit double over his 1 2/3 innings. His outing took on extra importance in light of Joel Zumaya’s season-ending injury, but it looks clear he has a little work to do.
“When he got hit, he was either behind or 3-2 in the count,” manager Larry Parrish said. “When they knew what was coming [the fastball] – at any level, when they know what’s coming, they can get the bat started. He looks like he’s healthy; it’s just a matter of getting ahead in the count. When he’s missing, he’s missing down. But he’s still missing, whether it’s down or up, and being behind is not where he wants to be, especially when he starts facing good hitters.”

Tuesday: Tigers at Twins

As it turned out, Magglio Ordonez’s left side wasn’t what really kept him out of the lineup. To hear him explain it, it was the virus he’s been dealing with for the better part of a week now. The left side bothered him, but it was mainly the virus making it feel worse, he said. He’s feeling much better tonight and is back in the lineup after taking some swings in the cage free and easy.

TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS
P: Armando Galarraga
TWINS
  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
  7. Jim Thome, DH
  8. Delmon Young, LF
  9. Nick Punto, SS
P: Nick Blackburn

Zumaya out for year with fracture in elbow

MINNEAPOLIS — Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya will miss the rest of the season with what the team called a non-displaced fracture of the olecranon, a bony process at the tip of his right elbow.

An MRI exam and X-rays taken at a local hospital revealed the injury, which he suffered on an eighth-inning pitch Monday night against the Twins at Target Field. Zumaya grabbed at his elbow and eventually collapsed in pain behind the mound before the Tigers athletic training staff helped him off the field.

It’ll mean a fourth straight injury-shortened season for Zumaya, whose struggles to come back and regain his form as baseball’s hardest-throwing reliever have been going on since he was a rookie sensation in the Tigers’ run to the American League pennant in 2006.

A 99 mph fastball to Delmon Young in the eighth inning of the Tigers’ 7-5 win over the Twins sent Zumaya clutching his right elbow and shaking his hand. Suddenly, as if the pain suddenly hit him, he knelt to the ground in apparent agony.

The fact that it’s a non-displaced fracture raises the possibility that he could recover without surgery. That would improve his odds of a comeback as well as his timetable for recovery.

The Tigers placed Zumaya on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday morning. Casey Fien will take his place in the Tigers bullpen for now while the team waits on Ryan Perry’s return from bicipital shoulder tendinitis.

Zumaya update: Elbow injury, MRI Tuesday

Word from the Tigers is that it’s an elbow injury for Joel Zumaya. They’re going to wait for Zumaya’s MRI exam Tuesday to talk about the severity. But obviously, as Jim Leyland said, “It doesn’t look good.”

I saw Zumaya come out of the training room and go to his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field. His right arm was in a sling. He said he’d talk with reporters tomorrow.
Zumaya has a long injury history, as everybody knows, but until now his elbow has been sound. Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard “a little pop” when Zumaya threw the pitch. That can mean a few different things, so I wouldn’t want to speculate on ligament or dislocation.
No word on any possible roster move yet. Leyland and Dave Dombrowski were expected to meet tonight to go over possible options. They do have a spot open on the 40-man roster, and they do have the option of recalling Jay Sborz from Toledo. Normally the rules say you have to wait 10 days, but an injury replacement for a DL move is an exception. Leyland indicated it will not be Ryan Perry, who’s scheduled to throw his second rehab outing for the Mud Hens tomorrow.

Magglio scratched with left side soreness

Talked today with Magglio Ordonez, who admitted his left side was sore but not badly enough that he’d be knocked out of the lineup. Apparently he felt it worsen during batting practice, because he was just scratched from the Tigers starting lineup.

Ordonez took BP today, but wasn’t in the group at the end, so he apparently felt something.

As mentioned earlier, any recurrence of Ordonez’s injury is a bad sign. The same injury kept him out of action for six games earlier in the season, and his absence was sorely felt in the lineup. Considering he’s 8-for-24 with two home runs and three doubles against Twins starter Francisco Liriano, his loss will probably be felt tonight.

The new Tigers lineup, with changes in bold:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Santiago, 2B (now in lineup)
  3. Raburn, LF (was batting 2nd at 2B)
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF (was in LF)
  6. Guillen, DH
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Worth, SS

Monday: Tigers at Twins

What was expected to be a day off for Carlos Guillen is actually a day at DH. Jim Leyland decided to keep Guillen in the lineup, but will get him a day out of the field.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Raburn, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Guillen, DH
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Worth, SS

P: Jeremy Bonderman

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Joe Mauer, C
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
  7. Jim Thome, DH
  8. Delmon Young, LF
  9. Nick Punto, SS

P: Francisco Liriano

Left side still bothering Magglio

It sounds rather minor right now, and it might not develop into the issue it was before, but manager Jim Leyland said Magglio Ordonez is experiencing some soreness in his left side again. It’s the same issue that cost him six games out of action earlier this month.

The soreness doesn’t bother him on normal swings, Leyland said. It’s when Magglio does something like reach for a ball, or check his swing, that he feels it. Whether it has anything to do with his 3-for-20 performance so far on the road trip isn’t clear, but Leyland wants to make sure it doesn’t develop into a bigger problem.

As long as it isn’t major, it would be a shock if he isn’t in the starting lineup Monday. He’s 8-for-24 with two home runs and three doubles against Francisco Liriano, and with Danny Worth set to start at shortstop and give Ramon Santiago a night off, the Tigers don’t have the same flexibility in the top third of their lineup that they had this past week.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,320 other followers