March 4th, 2011

Schlereth hopes to pitch within a week

Talked during the game today with Daniel Schlereth, who said he hopes to be pitching within a week after straining his left hamstring last Sunday against the Yankees.

“I’ve been throwing every day,” he said, “so as long as my hamstring is OK, it’s not like I’m running sprints or anything. All I want to do is pitch.”

He’s been playing long toss from about 120 feet out, so that he can maintain his arm strength. He isn’t doing much runningwise, but he’s walking comfortably now.

He wants to give himself enough innings to be ready for the season, especially since it’s not an arm injury. The Tigers trotted out three potential lefty relievers — Charlie Furbush, Brad Thomas and Fu-Te Ni — in Friday’s loss to the O’s, but Schlereth would seem to be the primary lefty specialist as long as he’s healthy.

Ryan Raburn gets defensive, sort of

In case you missed it, I wrote last night on Ryan Raburn’s journey to a long-awaited starting spot and how this spring contrasts with so many previous camps where he had to try to win a roster spot. There’s definitely a sense that has finally arrived, but there’s still that sense he wants to prove himself on defense. He’s a little irked by the reputation he has picked up in left field after some high-profile miscues last year. From the story:

“I don’t understand why people give me such a bad rep,” he said. “Yeah, I’ve made mistakes, but so have a lot of other people. I’d like to see [others] go out every so many days … and try to do the best they can. They’re not going to be perfect, but there’s nobody in this game that is perfect.”

Raburn’s point: It’s hard to judge a utility player as an outfielder if he’s playing there sporadically while mixing in infield work. He’s getting all of his work in the outfield this spring, both in games and in workouts.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s anything physically that should preclude Raburn from being a better outfielder. When he has made his gaffes, it hasn’t been because he couldn’t get to the ball. Either he takes a bad route or makes a bad read. The hope would be that the more repetitions he has, the better reads and routes he gets.

I can’t say I’ve seen all of Raburn’s work this spring; I missed the split-squad game in Clearwater where he tripled and homered. But I’ve only seen one Raburn misread this spring, which turned a line drive against the Blue Jays last Saturday into a jumping catch.

Friday: Tigers vs. Orioles

So with split-squad games coming up Saturday, and so many regulars having played Thursday, Jim Leyland is taking today to give some of the veterans a rest and avoid overplaying them this early. Among the guys off: Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Victor Martinez, Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta and Austin Jackson. Brennan Boesch, meanwhile, gets the DH slot today.

On the bright side, it’s going to give some younger guys some more at-bats, among them Andy Dirks and Ryan Strieby. It also puts Casper Wells in center field.

TIGERS

  1. Ramon Santiago, SS
  2. Andy Dirks, RF
  3. Ryan Raburn, LF
  4. Brennan Boesch, DH
  5. Don Kelly, 3B
  6. Ryan Strieby, 1B
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  9. Casper Wells, CF

P: Rick Porcello

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