June 2010

Tuesday (back to work): Tigers at Mets

By now, you’ve probably heard the pitching move: Andy Oliver will make his big league debut Friday at Atlanta. Until then, the Tigers will have an eight-man bullpen with Jay Sborz, whom manager Jim Leyland said will be sent down after Thursday’s game to make room on the roster for Oliver.

As for tonight, you’ll notice the new No. 2 hitter, at least for tonight. With no DH slot, Johnny Damon out of the lineup and rookie Danny Worth at short, Gerald Laird gets the start in the two spot. It’s basically a situation where Jim Leyland doesn’t want to tinker with his lineup, at least with Guillen in the six spot and Brandon Inge batting seventh. And he didn’t want to put the rookie Worth up near the top at this point.

TIGERS

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

METS

  1. Jose Reyes, SS
  2. Angel Pagan, CF
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Ike Davis, 1B
  5. Jason Bay, LF
  6. Rod Barajas, C
  7. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  8. Ruben Tejada, 2B
  9. Jonathon Niese, P

Sborz move official

The Tigers officially confirmed the back end of the Rick Porcello move: Theyll call up Jay Sborz from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday. Hell travel with the team to New York and have the move made in time for the series opener against the Mets at Citi Field.

Porcello down, Sborz up

Back from some time off with some news on the back end of Rick Porcello’s move to Triple-A Toledo. Jay Sborz was reportedly told after the game that he’s heading up to the Tigers. Good work by the Toledo Blade site for tracking that down. Still don’t know Porcello’s replacement in the rotation, but at least we know his replacement on the roster for now.

At first glance, that would suggest that the Tigers are going to look to their bullpen to fill Porcello’s rotation spot for now, whether it’s Enrique Gonzalez (who started at Toledo this year), Brad Thomas (who started twice this season for Detroit) or Eddie Bonine (who started effectively for Detroit down the stretch last year). But Sborz could also be an extra arm in the bullpen for now if the Tigers want to call up somebody else to start later in the week, such as Andy Oliver. Tigers can wait until Saturday in Atlanta before they need a fifth starter.
It surely suggests Ryan Perry will not be ready to be activated from the disabled list when he’s eligible to come off Tuesday.
Sborz has quietly followed up the impression he made in spring training by putting up a very good season as Mud Hens closer, saving 15 games while striking out 28 batters over 26 2/3 innings and scattering 18 hits. His stats suggest he has been most effective as a one-inning guy for the Hens. Seven of his nine earned runs allowed came in four outings in which he was called upon for more than three outs.

Saturday: Magglio still out

Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand reports more improvement for Magglio Ordonez, but still not enough to get him back in the lineup. He was out on the field for batting practice today, which was a good sign. With a day game Sunday and an off-day Monday, though, it would not be a surprise if manager Jim Leyland decided to give Ordonez the next couple days to be safe and bring him back Tuesday against Washington.

Ryan Raburn is back in left field and batting third today with the left-handed Paul Maholm on the mound.

TIGERS

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

P: Jeremy Bonderman

PIRATES

  1. Jose Tabata, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  4. Garrett Jones, DH
  5. Ryan Doumit, 1B
  6. Ryan Church, RF
  7. Andy LaRoche, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Jason Jaramillo, C

P: Paul Maholm

Ordonez still out with oblique soreness

Magglio Ordonez remains out of the Tigers lineup and day-to-day with continued left oblique soreness. But as head athletic trainer Kevin Rand admitted, the days are piling up.

Friday’s series opener against the Pirates marked Ordonez’s fourth straight game out of the Tigers’ lineup. The 36-year-old outfielder has played in only one of Detroit’s last six games, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be available to play Saturday.

“We treated him last night and he’s a little bit better today,” Rand said Friday afternoon. “He’s still not the way we want him, but he’s a lot closer today. He feels a lot better about where he’s at.”

Ordonez was examined by team physician Dr. Jeff Michaels once the Tigers returned home Thursday night and diagnosed with general muscle soreness, nothing pulled or strained in a specific muscle. That in itself should be a good sign, but the area in question is one that he feels every time he swings.

“Obviously we put him through a thorough exam with range of motion and strength where we were looking for pain,” Rand said. “The good thing was that he wasn’t able to point specifically where the pain was. It was just soreness in the oblique, especially when he stretched out his side. That’s a lot better today.”

Don Kelly, not Ryan Raburn, is replacing Ordonez in the Tigers lineup tonight.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Kelly, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, RF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Santiago, SS

P: Justin Verlander

PIRATES

  1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. Ryan Doumit, 1B
  4. Garrett Jones, RF
  5. Ryan Church, DH
  6. Lastings Milledge, LF
  7. Akinori Iwamura, 3B
  8. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  9. Jason Jaramillo, C

Porcello to be skipped next turn thru rotation

Rick Porcello will get some extra time to try to work his way out of his sophomore slump. The Tigers will skip him in their next turn through the rotation to give him enough time for three side sessions.

The hope, obviously, is that those sessions will help him find the life again on his sinker for ground-ball outs and stronger outings than what he has suffered recently, taking him from Rookie of the Year consideration in 2009 to one of the higher ERAs in baseball in 2010.

“I think the No. 1 thing he needs to accomplish is to get the sinker back,” Leyland said Friday afternoon. “I think you have to go one step at a time. I think that’s the first step. We are going to try and accomplish that and try to slow him down a little bit. You always have ideas and thoughts and stuff. We just haven’t been able to slow him down. He’s kind of jumping at the hitters getting out there.”

Porcello had no drop on his sinker in his last start Wednesday, and the White Sox made him pay dearly for it. After Porcello gave up only one hit the first time through the White Sox batting order, he retired only one of the eight batters he faced he faced in what ended up being a seven-run fourth inning. He finished with eight earned runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings with one strikeout and two home runs.

The damage raised Porcello’s ERA from 5.25 to 6.09 on the season. He has allowed 89 hits over 65 innings, a humbling reminder that for all his success, he’s still a 21-year-old trying to compete.

“We need to iron this situation out,” Leyland said. “He’s throwing way too many balls from the belt up, where last year he threw form the belt down, with a much better sink. He’s getting more run on his ball than sink right now.”

With Monday a scheduled off-day for the Tigers, Leyland had the leeway to keep everyone else on four days’ rest and push Porcello back to next Saturday against Arizona. Max Scherzer will start Tuesday against Washington, followed by Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Justin Verlander.

Magglio scratched from lineup

What was expected to be Magglio Ordonez’s return to the Tigers lineup instead ended up being his third straight game out of action. He was a late scratch for Thursday’s series finale against the White Sox with continued left oblique soreness.

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

Thursday: Tigers at White Sox

As expected, Magglio Ordonez is back in the starting lineup today against John Danks, whom he has pounded for a 14-for-23 performance over his career. So is Gerald Laird, who’s 3-for-4 off Danks.

TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, DH
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Laird, C
  9. Worth, SS
SP: Max Scherzer
WHITE SOX
  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Omar Vizquel, 3B
  3. Alex Rios, CF
  4. Paul Konerko, DH
  5. Carlos Quentin, RF
  6. Mark Kotsay, 1B
  7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B
P: John Danks

Tigers place Perry on DL

The Tigers lost another reliever to the disabled list Wednesday night, placing Ryan Perry on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendinitis. Detroit purchased the contract of right-hander Enrique Gonzalez from Triple-A Toledo to take his place.

The injury is not expected to be a serious one, not by Tigers officials, but it explains a lot about the recent struggles of Perry. The second-year right-hander opened the year setting up closer Jose Valverde, but gave up nine runs on 10 hits in just three innings over his last five outings.

Manager Jim Leyland said he began to suspect some sort of the injury was the culprit, but kept hearing from Perry that he was fine. Not until “really recently,” Leyland said, did he admit to being hurt.

“His control has not been good,” Leyland said. “And normally when you see a guy that had real good control early in the season all of a sudden kind of lost that control, there’s usually a red flag there. There’s usually a message there that something’s not quite right.”

Perry visited team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos in Detroit for an MRI exam on Monday, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand. The results showed a mild impingement around the back of his rotator cuff and some mild tendinitis around his biceps.

Perry tried to throw a bullpen session Wednesday afternoon. Had he come through that OK, he might’ve been available out of the bullpen Wednesday night.

However, Rand said, “He felt it on a few of his throws.”

That’s when they made the decision to shelve him and put him on a medication program.

“I don’t really think this is anything long or serious, I really don’t,” Leyland said. “But at the same time, you have a red flag when you see the control.”

Leyland does not believe this puts any extra pressure on any particular reliever. He did say earlier Wednesday, however, that he plans on using Joel Zumaya in shorter outings, usually one inning or less, in hopes of having him available more often.

That said, he doesn’t expect this to be a long-term loss.

“I don’t really thnk it’s anything to fret about, I really don’t,” Leyland said. “I don’t think it’s anything serious at all. It’s just matter of taking care of it, getting it quieted down, going back out and pitching a little bit, and hopefully coming right back here.”

Gonzalez made an impression on the Tigers staff with a strong Spring Training, but has spent the season in the Mud Hens rotation. His performance there, though, earned him the recommendation from the minor league staff ahead of others in the Hens bullpen.

The 27-year-old Gonzalez, signed as a Minor League free agent last winter, owns a 4-5 record and 3.46 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 53 batters over 65 innings while giving up 68 hits. His last four starts, in particular, have been stellar: 27 2/3 innings, 19 hits, six earned runs and 23 strikeouts, including a complete-game shutout of Indianapolis May 23.

“I always use the guy they recommend, so that’s the guy we take,” Leyland said. “And he has been starting down there, so he should be able to give us some innings.”

Wednesday: Tigers at White Sox

Magglio Ordonez could’ve been in the starting lineup, Jim Leyland said today, but he decided to sit him one more day with an eye towards Thursday. He didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of playing Magglio both Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon with the quick turnaround, and if he had to choose one or the other, he opted for Thursday against White Sox left-hander John Danks. He’s 14-for-23 (.609) off Danks with four doubles and two home runs, compared with 14-for-47 (.298) with six doubles off Wednesday’s starter, Freddy Garcia.

Ryan Raburn gets the start in the third spot again, playing in left field. Danny Worth, meanwhile, gets his first start at shortstop, batting ninth.

TIGERS

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

P: Rick Porcello

WHITE SOX

  1. Juan Pierre, LF
  2. Omar Vizquel, 3B
  3. Alex Rios, CF
  4. Paul Konerko, 1B
  5. Carlos Quentin, RF
  6. Mark Kotsay, DH
  7. Alexei Ramirez, SS
  8. Ramon Castro, C
  9. Gordon Beckham, 2B

P: Freddy Garcia

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