February 2011

Schlereth leaves with left hamstring strain

The Tigers have had their fair share of news this spring, but at least they had their health. That changed on Monday when Daniel Schlereth strained his left hamstring trying to cover first base.

Schlereth believes the injury is “very minor” and expects to be throwing again by next week. But initially, it didn’t look so minor as he limped down the right-field line towards the Tigers clubhouse with help from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.

“I’ve never had any injuries like this,” Schlereth said afterwards. “I hurt my arm before, but that’s really the only thing I know about something injured. I just was going to cover first base and [Ryan] Strieby peeled off. I was going towards the bag and I think he was going to take it at the last second. I was sprinting and I pulled up, and my left hamstring popped a little bit.”

Schlereth will be re-evaluated Tuesday morning. Because it’s the leg with which Schlereth pushes off in his delivery, and not his landing leg, he doesn’t believe it’ll be a nagging injury for him. And missing a week or so shouldn’t cost him terribly much this early in camp, with four weeks left before camp breaks.

“At least it’s in the beginning of spring,” he said. “We’re not going to the Bronx next week.”

Monday: Tigers vs. Yankees

As expected, Miguel Cabrera is in the lineup at DH. Victor Martinez shifts over to first base, with Alex Avila behind the plate.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Justin Verlander goes today. One would figure two innings, but Verlander has said all spring that he has been trying to move up his schedule. He has done the same program as in previous springs, but a little further ahead. Does he get a third inning? Does it make a difference at this point?

Also on the pitching docket after Verlander and Rick Porcello is Charlie Furbush in his first game outing of the spring.

TIGERS (2-0)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ryan Raburn, LF
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, DH
  5. Victor Martinez, 1B
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  9. Alex Avila, C

P: Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry, Daniel Schlereth, Charlie Furbush

YANKEES (1-1)

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Robinson Cano, 2B
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Andruw Jones, RF
  6. Russell Martin, DH
  7. Francisco Cervelli, C
  8. Justin Maxwell, LF
  9. Melky Mesa, CF

P: CC Sabathia, Pedro Feliciano, Manuel Banuelos, Mark Prior, Daniel Turpen, Robert Fish

Why Penny started over Scherzer Sunday

Checked around a little bit Monday morning, and the decision to swap Brad Penny with Max Scherzer in the pitching order Sunday was nothing serious. Turns out Penny takes a little more time to warm up in the bullpen than Scherzer — don’t know if it’s age, tempo or just deliberate things he needs to do when he warms. In any case, it made more sense to let Penny get the extra time to warm up before than the game than Scherzer, who can warm up relatively quickly for a starting pitcher.

It won’t be a question later in camp, when manager Jim Leyland gets his rotation order lined up for the season and decides who starts which day opening week.

Cabrera to DH Monday

Miguel Cabrera will make his Spring Training debut as the designated hitter Monday when the Tigers host the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium, adding the Tigers’ most important offensive player back into the lineup. Manager Jim Leyland made the announcement Sunday morning.

Cabrera missed the Tigers’ first two spring games this weekend, as well as their exhibition against Florida Southern College last Friday. He reported to camp last Thursday after missing the first six days of full-squad workouts following his arrest in South Florida on charges of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence.

Cabrera has worked out and taken swings in the batting cage the past couple days. He joined in pregame batting practice Friday and Sunday and looked fine with his swing, and he ran the bases Saturday, but Leyland and the Tigers wanted to allow him time to get his legs into shape for game action. By using him at DH, they can get him at-bats and get his timing going seeing live pitches while allowing him to ease into baseball shape.

“Listen, I protected myself to the hilt on this one,” Leyland said. “I talked to him. I talked to every trainer, I talked to the coaches, and I talked to my boss, so that everybody’s on the same page. So he’s going to DH tomorrow.”

Monday’s game will be broadcast online at MLB Gameday Audio and back in Detroit on 97.1 FM and AM 1270.

Sunday: Tigers vs. Blue Jays

Lakeland Feb 27 004.jpgTigers working on infield drills this morning as part of their extra work. Once they’re done with that and batting practice, they’ll set about for official Spring Training home opener festivities, which include bunting all over the stadium and a ceremonial first pitch from Hall of Famer Al Kaline. Also throwing out a ceremonial first pitch is the great-great granddaughter of Clare Henley, who helped bring the Tigers to Lakeland for Spring Training in 1934.

As for the starting lineup, most of today’s starters are guys who didn’t make the trip to Dunedin yesterday. So it’s like the Blue Jays are facing a whole different squad, save for Ryan Raburn and Ryan Strieby.

TIGERS

  1. Will Rhymes, 2B
  2. Victor Martinez, C
  3. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  4. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  5. Ryan Strieby, 1B
  6. Ryan Raburn, LF
  7. Don Kelly, CF
  8. Audy Ciriaco, 3B
  9. Andy Dirks, RF

P: Max Scherzer, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit, Joel Zumaya

Cabrera could play Monday

Miguel Cabrera’s Spring Training game debut could come Monday afternoon against the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium, manager Jim Leyland said Saturday.

“Monday’s more of a possibility [than Sunday],” Leyland said, “but I’m not sure about Monday either.”

Cabrera did not accompany the Tigers to Dunedin for their official spring opener against the Blue Jays. He stayed back at Joker Marchant Stadium for what Cabrera expected to be a day of hitting work under coach Lloyd McClendon.

Judging from Cabrera’s swing might be ready for games right now, Leyland said. His concern is getting Cabrera’s legs in shape.

Cabrera working out with team

Spring training has effectively began for Miguel Cabrera Friday morning. He took his locker in the corner of the Tigers clubhouse, right next to manager Jim Leyland’s office, and prepared to get in his work. His manager, obviously, was glad to see him.

“One thing’s for sure: Our team got a whole lot better this morning,” Leyland said.

Leyland said Cabrera will be working out like every other player on the team. It’s his call when Cabrera is ready to play in games, and that could happen soon, but Leyland didn’t want to give a definite date.

“That’s hard to say,” he said. “I really believe position players are usually here about 3-4 days and they’re ready to play. Whether that’s the case with him, I don’t know.”

It has been noted that Cabrera is in good physical condition after working out with a personal trainer alongside Magglio Ordonez and Alex Avila for most of the offseason.

The Tigers won’t have an extensive morning of workouts today due to an MLBPA meeting and the 1:05 p.m. ET exhibition against Florida Southern. Cabrera, not surprisingly, won’t be available for that game, nor will Carlos Guillen as he continues to rehab his knee. Catcher Rob Brantly also isn’t expected to play after suffering a corneal abrasion.

Reviewing the Cabrera press conference

Lots to take in from Thursday’s press conference with Miguel Cabrera, and the MLB press release that went with it. Here’s the list version of what we learned:

  • Cabrera will enter what MLB vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred termed “a multifaceted, professionally administered program” to address his alcohol issues.
  • The program setup will allow Cabrera to remain with the team throughout the process.
  • The Tigers and MLB are looking into somebody — sponsor, mentor, counselor, someone along those lines — to be with Cabrera on a regular basis for counseling, support and supervision, much like what Johnny Narron means for Josh Hamilton. Both the team and Cabrera have to be comfortable with whomever they bring on.
  • Cabrera apologizes to pretty much everyone involved — teammates, coaches, owner Mike Ilitch, friends, family, and the officer who made the arrest.
  • Cabrera has been cleared to work out with the Tigers and will take part in workouts. When he starts playing in games is up to manager Jim Leyland, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
  • Cabrera does not plan on getting up in front of his teammates to apologize to them as a group. He said he would rather talk with teammates individually over the course of camp, rather than do something planned or rehearsed. “He’d rather go to each guy 1-on-1, face-to-face, and he’ll apologize to each guy in his own way, throughout the day an din days to come,” Al Avila translated.
  • No, Cabrera can’t promise he’ll never relapse again, which is to be expected. But, as Avila translated at the press conference, “He is going to do everything possible for this never to happen again and restore everybody’s faith in him.”
  • Under Florida law, Cabrera can still drive while his case makes its way through the legal system (he has a certificate, but Florida’s Department of Motor Vehicles reportedly will review the case next month). However, Cabrera is choosing not to drive, and he didn’t drive himself from South Florida to Lakeland.
  • Cabrera was still undergoing outpatient counseling this winter. His last meeting was about four weeks ago.
  • Cabrera said he was driving his 2005 Range Rover to Lakeland last week with plans to have it shipped back to Venezuela for family members. He hadn’t driven it in 3-4 months, and the radiator went.

Cabrera headed to camp, to talk with reporters

Miguel Cabrera is headed back to Tigers camp, at least for now. The team has scheduled a 4:30 press conference on the field at Joker Marchant Stadium, where Cabrera will talk with reporters about his situation.

MLB Network and MLB.com will broadcast the press conference live.

It’ll be Cabrera’s first public remarks — and his first time in camp — since his arrest eight days ago in Ft. Pierce, Fla. on charges of driving under the influence and resisting an officer without violence. Since then, Cabrera was examined by a doctor earlier this week to determine his condition and figure out how his treatment should proceed.

According to the Detroit News, Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski met Wednesday evening with Cabrera’s agent, Fernando Cuza of SFX, in Dombrowski’s office at Joker Marchant Stadium. Presumably, they were working out the details for Cabrera’s eventual return.

It is not known when or how Cabrera arrived in Lakeland from his South Florida home.

Thursday: Lineup for Florida Southern

Still waiting for Miguel Cabrera to arrive at camp, if that happens today. Right now, there are no indications around the clubhouse to suggest it’s imminent, but that could be by design. Players and coaches just went out for workouts, and Cabrera’s locker in the clubhouse remains untouched.

For what it’s worth, we have the lineup for tomorrow’s exhibition against Florida Southern:

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Will Rhymes, 2B
  3. Magglio Ordonez, RF
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  6. Brennan Boesch, LF
  7. Brandon Inge, 3B
  8. Ryan Strieby, 1B
  9. Alex Avila, C

SP: Andy Oliver

Most of the regulars will only get one at-bat. Ryan Raburn will follow Martinez at DH, while Scott Sizemore will replace Rhymes at second and Scott Thorman will replace Strieby at first.

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