May 5th, 2011

Thursday: Tigers vs. Yankees

Jim Leyland said last night that he was going to give Alex Avila the day off, since he has caught every inning of the last 12 games. He also figured the question of why not DH him would come up, the way he has been hitting. Here’s the problem, as Leyland explained it: If he has to pull Martinez to protect him from aggravating the groin injury again, the Tigers would lose the DH spot if Avila moved from there to catcher. And Leyland doesn’t want to use Don Kelly behind the plate unless it’s an emergency.

Thus, Magglio Ordonez gets the day at DH, with Ryan Raburn and Brennan Boesch in the corners. Don Kelly starts for Austin Jackson with a difficult right-hander on the mound in A.J. Burnett.

TIGERS

  1. Don Kelly, CF
  2. Scott Sizemore, 2B
  3. Brennan Boesch, RF
  4. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, C
  6. Magglio Ordonez, DH
  7. Ryan Raburn, LF
  8. Brandon Inge, 3B
  9. Ramon Santiago, SS
P: Rick Porcello
The bigger news about the lineups is on the Yankees side, where Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are both off.
YANKEES
  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Nick Swisher, RF
  3. Robinson Cano, 2B
  4. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  5. Curtis Granderson, CF
  6. Jorge Posada, DH
  7. Eric Chavez, 3B
  8. Russell Martin, C
  9. Eduardo Nunez, SS
P: A.J. Burnett

Your guide to Tigers reliever nicknames

And you thought the Tigers bullpen lost its character when Phil Coke became a starter.

Daniel Schlereth is out there, and as it turns out, he’s a character. So is Brad Thomas, and so, apparently, is Brayan Villarreal.

Schlereth announced today that he wants to be known by his nickname, the Alaskan Assassin. He was born in Anchorage, so that makes sense. He also has been nicknamed the Baby Black Bear.

I told him that could be quite a tandem, the Alaskan Assassin and Agent P, otherwise known as Ryan Perry, or the Platypus. But Perry has earned a new nickname in the Tigers bullpen. After his DL stint with an eye infection, he’s now known as Cyclops.

On down the line it went. Brayan Villarreal? He’s known as Zorro, Schlereth said, because of the hair.

Al Alburquerque? Schlereth didn’t have one for him, but Villarreal said he’s known as Avatar, after the characters from the movie.

Jose Valverde? They don’t really need a nickname, or at least they don’t dare put one of him. But when Big Potato was mentioned, Valverde nodded in approval.

Brad Thomas? Nothing. They just make fun of the Aussie accent.

Joaquin Benoit? Nothing yet.

Offbeat? You bet. But look at it this way: It sure beats those mohawk haircuts Tigers relievers had last year around this time.

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