September 2010

Tigers-Orioles rained out

Rain and winds in Baltimore from the remnants of Tropical
Storm Nicole washed out Thursday’s series opener between the Tigers and Orioles,
setting up a doubleheader Friday at Camden Yards.

Game 1 will begin at 4:35 p.m. ET, with Game 2 beginning about 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

It’ll be the second doubleheader in three days for the
Tigers, who played two against the Indians on Wednesday. They flew from
Cleveland into Baltimore Wednesday night ahead of the storm, which began
overnight and continued with heavy rains into Thursday afternoon.

The Tigers will keep their rotation in order for Friday.
Jeremy Bonderman will pitch Game 1 in what could be his final start as a Tiger,
followed by Rick Porcello in Game 2.

Tigers coaching staff retained for next year

Any question about potential changes coming to the Tigers coaching staff at season’s end dissipated Thursday, when the club announced that all six coaches will be back next season. It’ll be the sixth season on the staff for third base coach Gene Lamont, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and infield coach Rafael Belliard, all of whom came on board when the Tigers hired manager Jim Leyland. It’ll be five consecutive seasons for bullpen coach Jeff Jones, who was on previous Tigers staffs in different stints. Pitching coach Rick Knapp returns for his third season, and first-base coach Tom Brookens for his second.

Some fans might’ve wanted some heads to roll for the way this season turned out; it’s a natural gut reaction. One reason not to, of course, is the impact injuries had on the squad. The other reason, and one that might get overlooked, is the fact that Leyland is only under contract through next season at the moment. It’s difficult to ask a new coach to commit to a team with no staff security past one year. Knapp was willing when he came on board, but it was his first job on a Major League staff.

Game 1: Tigers at Indians

Same lineup as was scheduled to go last night. Manager Jim Leyland didn’t offer many insights on how his lineup will play tonight, other than to say he’ll play a lot of guys.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Damon, DH
  4. Raburn, LF
  5. Kelly, 1B
  6. Peralta, SS
  7. Boesch, RF
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Avila, C
P: Max Scherzer
INDIANS
  1. Michael Brantley, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Matt LaPorta, 1B
  6. Trevor Crowe, LF
  7. Andy Marte, 3B
  8. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  9. Luke Carlin, C
P: Mitch Talbot

Cabrera hopes to return, flustered over play

Miguel Cabrera used crutches to maneuver around the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field on his sprained right ankle, a discouraging sign for his chances of returning to action in these final days of the Tigers season. However, he still holds out hope that he might be able to play this week.
“Let me see how I feel tomorrow or the next day,” Cabrera said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t know if it’s day-to-day. Today I don’t feel good to play, so let’s see about tomorrow.”
The Tigers, meanwhile, were guarded in their comments, other than x-ray results that showed no structural damage.
“He’s not too good,” manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s hurting. That’s all I have for you on that. He will definitely not play today.”
Don Kelly was in Tuesday’s starting lineup at first base. Ryan Raburn batted in the cleanup spot in Cabrera’s place. It was just the seventh game of the lineup for Cabrera, who leads the team in games played with 150.
Cabrera turned his ankle stepping awkwardly on first base on a pickoff play Monday against the Indians. He immediately crumbled to the ground in pain, and after getting back onto his feet, he could barely put any weight on his right foot as he limped back to the dugout with help from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.
At that point, Cabrera worried he had do something worse to his ankle. Considering his teammate and good friend Magglio Ordonez broke his ankle sliding into home plate back in July, an injury that led to season-ending surgery, he was understandably worried.
“When I twisted it, I heard a lot of [cracking],” Cabrera said. “So I was worried right at that point. But when I come in here, they tell me it’s not broken. I got the x-ray last night, they say there’s no bone broken. After that, I feel better. Hopefully the swelling will go, I can move better and tomorrow and try to finish the season with my team and play.”
He will not return to action, he emphasized, just to try to hold onto the American League RBI lead and enhance his MVP credentials in what is shaping up as a very close, hotly-debated contest.
“If I win, I win,” Cabrera said. “But right now, with this injury, I can’t control that. I can say I want to win. If I play, I say, ‘Yeah I want to win. I want to do everything I can to drive in more runs.’ But right now, I can’t control that. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
He isn’t trying to worry about that, but he’s a little frustrated over the way the injury unfolded. The pickoff throw that got him scrambling back to first came from catcher Luke Carlin throwing behind him, not pitcher Carlos Carrasco throwing over. It was the first time, Cabrera said, that any catcher had tried to pick him off this year.
“In that play,” Cabrera said, “it was a situation where it’s not going to be a bunt play. It’s not going to be a hit-and-run because we’ve got our fifth hitter. I don’t know why he pulled that play. Maybe he wants to prove he can play next year in the big leagues. I don’t know what he’s going to prove. But in that situation, I don’t know. 
“That kind of surprised me right there. I don’t expect that play. I’m not a fast runner. I’m not going to steal second. I’m not going to do anything. I don’t know why he put too much attention on me.”
Carlin said he wasn’t expecting Cabrera to be running, and he felt bad that Cabrera was injured on the play. However, he defended the throw as an attempt to get an out and try to get out of a developing jam. 
“They have so many good hitters in their lineup, we try to get outs any way we can,” Carlin said. “He got on first base when we intentionally walked him, and he had a pretty big lead and wasn’t getting back very quickly. Obviously he’s not going anywhere. There was somebody on second when we intentionally walked him as well. I knew he wasn’t going anywhere, but I was hoping maybe we could catch him off the bag a little bit and maybe get another out and get our pitcher out of a jam.
“It’s unfortunate. Obviously, we don’t want anybody to get hurt. Obviously he’s a great player, and I have a lot of respect for him. But no matter who’s out there, if I think I can pick him off, I’m going to go get him.”

Tuesday: Tigers at Indians

With Miguel Cabrera out, the Tigers have some shuffling to do. Ryan Raburn will take Cabrera’s cleanup spot for the evening, while Don Kelly takes over at first base and bats fifth against Indians right-hander Mitch Talbot.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Rhymes, 2B
  3. Damon, DH
  4. Raburn, LF
  5. Kelly, 1B
  6. Peralta, SS
  7. Boesch, RF
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Avila, C

P: Max Scherzer

INDIANS
  1. Michael Brantley, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Matt LaPorta, 1B
  6. Trevor Crowe, LF
  7. Andy Marte, 3B
  8. Luis Valuena, 2B
  9. Lou Marson, C
P: Mitch Talbot

Monday: Tigers at Indians

Before Progressive Field turns into a winter wonderland this November, they still have three nights of baseball left against the Tigers. It was a rainy wonderland for most of the day with showers coming up from the south, but the rain has become more scattered. Looks like they’re going to get this game in.

Once they do, it’ll be the 139th game of the season for Johnny Damon. One more after that, and he’ll become just the fifth player in Major League history to play at least 140 games in 15 consecutive seasons.

Damon is one of three left-handed hitters in this lineup. Right-handed batters have actually fared better than left-handed hitters, .328 average compared with .194, against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco.

On the other side, we’ll see if the Indians can score a run off of Armando Galarraga this year.

TIGERS

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

P: Armando Galarraga

INDIANS

  1. Michael Brantley, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Travis Hafner, DH
  5. Jayson Nix, 2B
  6. Trevor Crowe, LF
  7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
  8. Luis Valbuena, 2B
  9. Luke Carlin, C

P: Carlos Carrasco

Leyland hints at offseason strategies

Just a thought on a really cloudy day in Cleveland …
The Tigers will drop well over $50 from their payroll this winter through expiring contracts — some guys who will be free agents, others who aren’t on the team anymore. They have 
Sounds like the two ingredients of a massive free-agent splash, right? Well, depends on how you’re looking at it. They can spend money on a bunch of players, or they can concentrate their resources on throwing a bunch of money at just a few guys. Manager Jim Leyland’s comments over the weekend propels the idea that the Tigers will do the latter.
“Number one, that’s Dave’s area,” Leyland said Sunday morning. “Number two, you don’t spend anybody’s money just to spend it. You spend it if it makes sense. Is there some stuff out there that makes sense for us? There’s some. It’s not particularly a gorgeous free-agent list. But it doesn’t take much for this club. 
“This club has a chance to be real good. How many people are going to be going after some of that list? You don’t know, until you get into some type of financial bidding war, I guess. I don’t know that we’re going to do that. I think it’s one of those years where you try to pick the right piece at the right price, and we don’t need many pieces.”
It was an interesting mix of comments. On one hand, Leyland echoed the idea that there aren’t really any certainties in next year’s lineup beyond AL MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera and AL Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Jackson. At the same time, Leyland sees a lot of pieces they have. Does that mean maybe holding onto Jhonny Peralta and re-signing a free agent or two? Does it mean this lineup still having a good number of young players? Some combination? Good question.
“I think we have some real good pieces,” Leyland said, “and it does appear that we have a few dollars to spend.”

Sunday: Tigers home finale vs. Twins

After a couple days of blustery weather, looks like it has calmed down a little bit for the last game at Comerica Park between today and next April. Still cool, fall weather, just not nearly as gusty.

Casper Wells gets a start in the second spot of a righty-loaded lineup against Twins lefty Brian Duensing. Jhonny Peralta starts at DH, allowing Ramon Santiago to get a second consecutive start. Gerald Laird is behind the plate for Rick Porcello.
The Twins, meanwhile, are missing J.J. Hardy and Jason Repko on top of the guys they were already dealing without.
TIGERS
  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Wells, RF
  3. Raburn, LF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Peralta, DH
  6. Inge, 3B
  7. Sizemore, 2B
  8. Santiago, SS
  9. Laird, C
P: Rick Porcello
TWINS
  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, DH
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, RF
  6. Danny Valencia, 3B
  7. Jose Morales, C
  8. Matt Tolbert, 2B
  9. Nick Punto, SS
P: Brian Duensing

Saturday: Tigers vs. Twins

Ramon Santiago is at second base for what could be Jeremy Bonderman’s final start in Detroit as a Tiger, but manager Jim Leyland says it isn’t any reaction to the miscues at second base from Scott Sizemore (not an error) and Will Rhymes (was an error) last night. Rather, Santiago is 3-for-7 lifetime off Carl Pavano. Thus, Santiago gets his first start since Monday and just his fourth start in the last 19 days.

TIGERS

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

P: Jeremy Bonderman

TWINS

  1. Denard Span, CF
  2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  3. Delmon Young, LF
  4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
  5. Jason Kubel, DH
  6. Danny Valencia, 3B
  7. J.J. Hardy, SS
  8. Jason Repko, RF
  9. Drew Butera, C

P: Carl Pavano

Cabrera: Magglio wants to return to Tigers

Magglio Ordonez has pulled a vanishing act from Comerica Park since his season-ending ankle surgery a month ago, but he’s kept in touch through teammates such as Miguel Cabrera. And Cabrera told reporters Wednesday his good friend and veteran hitter wants to be back next season, even if he ends up a free agent this winter.
“I’ve talked to him,” Cabrera said. “He said he feels better. He wants so bad to play, but his injury, he feels bad. He wants to come back next year here. He wants to stay here.”
Whether the Tigers front office feels the same remains to be seen, and it represents one of the biggest decisions they have to make this offseason. It became their choice when Ordonez fractured his right ankle on a slide at the plate July 24. The resulting time missed ensured he wouldn’t end the season with enough plate appearances to vest the final year of his contract.
Thus, his $15 million option for 2011 became a team option that they must either pick up or decline in the days after the World Series ends. If they decline it, Ordonez becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team, including re-signing with the Tigers, for whatever salary he and agent Scott Boras can negotiate with a club.
“And I want him to be back,” Cabrera added. “Excellent hitter, great player, great teammate.”
After six seasons in Detroit, Ordonez has almost as much time here as he did with the White Sox, where he spent the first seven years of his career. His signing with the Tigers in January 2005 was a huge deal for a team still on the rebound from years of futility, and his walkoff home run in Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS stands as one of the biggest homers in franchise history.
Ordonez and his family have also become personally involved with the city. They established a scholarship fund for deserving students in Detroit’s primarily Hispanic southwestern neighborhoods, and Magglio made a donation to help refurbish a baseball field in the city.
At age 37, moving the family for a summer might not be the most appealing option. 
“It would be good if he’s back next year,” Cabrera said. “They love him here. The city loves him here. They love Magglio. He’s got to grow the hair again.”
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