April 12th, 2011

Martinez’s mad dash home, and other gems

Two days after the Tigers’ four-error debacle against the Royals, they might have played their best overall defensive game Tuesday, with at least four standout defensive plays. And it began on a play that probably should’ve been a disaster.

Brad Penny knew he should’ve been covering home plate as soon as he saw Josh Hamilton take off from third on Adrian Beltre’s popout to Brandon Inge in foul territory. At that point, of course, there was nothing he could do.

“I was standing on the mound and I saw [Hamilton] go,” Penny said after the game. “And I was like, ‘[Crap], I supposed to be there.'”

Fortunately for them, Victor Martinez realized it was uncovered immediately. And for a 32-year-old who has caught for almost his entire career, he still has some wheels. He had enough speed to beat Hamilton to the plate and apply the tag as he slid in.

“That was a huge play,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Penny and probably Miguel both should’ve been there. That turned out to be a huge play.”

It was a devastating one for the Rangers. Hamilton suffered a non-displaced fracture of the humerus bone below his right shoulder, sidelining him for 6-8 weeks.

The obvious highlight, of course, was Ryan Raburn’s catch to rob Michael Young of a third-inning three-run home run. Instead of a blast to break open a Rangers lead, it became a mere go-ahead sacrifice fly. For someone whose defensive exploits have ranged from good to bad to ugly, it was another big play for him.

“I think the wind held it up more than anything,” Raburn said. “It gave me time to get underneath it. I don’t think it was anything special. I just went up and I was able to come down with it. I felt [the ball] when I jumped up. I was just hoping it would stay in there.”

What might have gone overlooked between those plays, though, was the relay work necessary to throw out Beltre trying to stretch a double into a triple leading off the fourth. Specifically, Ramon Santiago took Austin Jackson’s throw in shallow right-center field and fired a strike to Brandon Inge, who applied the tag at third.

It’s a very difficult throw, Inge said, because of the angle involved.

“It’s usually a no-win situation,” Inge said, “because the runner once he’s past second base, the angle that he’s coming in is directly in line with where the throw’s in. So it’s probably a 10 percent chance that ball’s going to get close enough to actually put a tag on.

“Santiago started that ball right off the shoulder and it worked its way off to the left side, but he kept it close enough to him where I could get a tag on him real quick.”

Said Santiago: “I tried to throw it to the left side of the glove. When the runner is going in the same direction as the throw, it’s tough.”

Zumaya to see Dr. Andrews next week

Joel Zumaya has an appointment next Monday with Dr. James Andrews for a battery of tests, including an EMG test of the nerves, to try to finally determine what’s causing the inflammation in his elbow.

The appointment came out of a conference call Monday with Andrews, team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, Zumaya and someone from his agency, Hendricks Sports.

Magglio day-to-day with ankle soreness

The word from head athletic trainer is that there’s fluid from the bursa sac around his right Achilles tendon. It isn’t actually bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa sac. (Yes, there is apparently a bursa sac in the back of the ankle.) It’s just bursa fluid.

It’s similar to bursitis in that it comes from a lot of use of whatever joint or tendon the bursa sac is around, and it basically hurts whenever there’s movement. But it’s considered a day-to-day injury. Once they get the fluid under control, it isn’t expected to be a problem.

Tuesday: Lineup without Magglio

With Ordonez out for at least the next couple days with bursa fluid around his right Achilles tendon, there’s an opening in the third spot in the order. Today, with the left-hander on the mound for Texas, it belongs to Ryan Raburn. Leyland indicated he might play the matchups in that spot as long as it’s a day-to-day thing on Ordonez. Brennan Boesch gets the sixth spot and DH, while Wells takes Ordonez’s spot in right field.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  3. Ryan Raburn, LF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Brennan Boesch, DH
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Brandon Inge, 3B
  9. Casper Wells, RF

P: Brad Penny

RANGERS

  1. Elvis Andrus, SS
  2. Michael Young, 2B
  3. Josh Hamilton, DH
  4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  5. Nelson Cruz, RF
  6. David Murphy, LF
  7. Yorvit Torrealba, C
  8. Mitch Moreland, 1B
  9. Julio Borbon, CF

P: C.J. Wilson

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