June 29th, 2010

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.
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