April 13th, 2012

Why Max Scherzer wore Justin Verlander’s glove

I didn’t have a close-up look from the press box at U.S. Cellular Field, since the televisions in the booths weren’t working, but the sight of Justin Verlander’s name on Max Scherzer’s glove apparently hit social media fairly quickly.

Scherzer confirmed he had Verlander’s glove. Basically, it was best-fitting glove he could find once he realized just before he took the field to warm up that he had forgotten to pack his own glove yesterday at Comerica Park.

That was a first for him. He described it as panic attack, trying on teammates’ gloves from Collin Balester to Rick Porcello to others.

“I was panicking, like, ‘Whose glove am I going to use,'” Scherzer said. “Verlander’s was the closest to mine. Even then, it wasn’t even comfortable pitching today.”

Don’t let the results make you believe he’s going to try it again. Scherzer said his glove is on its way from Detroit and is expected in Chicago on Saturday.

Worth, Villarreal optioned to make room for Inge, Wilk

The expected Tigers roster moves came after Friday’s game. Brayan Villarreal, who took Doug Fister’s roster spot when Fister went on the 15-day DL Sunday, was optioned to Triple-A Toledo along the Danny Worth, who made the Opening Day roster as an extra infielder.

The moves make room for Adam Wilk to be recalled from Toledo in time for his scheduled start in Fister’s place Saturday, and for Brandon Inge to be recalled from the 15-day DL. Jim Leyland said that Inge will start Sunday, when the White Sox will have lefty Chris Sale starting.

 

Batters box delay in Tigers-White Sox

The Tigers brought their lineup to U.S. Cellular Field on Friday ready to take their swings at the fences. Three batters into the White Sox home opener, they realized they were swinging a little closer than usual.

Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the first inning and immediately pointed to the batters box, arguing that it didn’t extend far enough back. As it turned out, out he was right. Home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson confirmed that the box was drawn too far forward and stopped the game for the grounds crew to rechalk the lines.

According to diagrams in the Major League Baseball rulebook, the batters box must be four feet wide and six feet deep, extending three feet each way from the midpoint of home plate. The batter must stay in that box when he’s hitting, though the back line usually gets blurred by hitters’ back foot soon after the game starts.

The box appeared to be the right dimensions, but it was centered too far forward. Neither Austin Jackson nor Brennan Boesch noticed it in their at-bats before Cabrera came up, but either Cabrera or someone in the Tigers dugout did.

It’s a rare miscue. Major League grounds crews have wooden frames made out to the batters box dimensions so that they can chalk the lines quickly and exactly. It can make a big difference for a hitter who wants to stay as far back as possible to get an extra split-second to react to the pitch.

The game was delayed for about five minutes while the grounds crew swept off the chalk of the old box and redrew it. Cabrera, meanwhile, drew a heavy amount of boos from the U.S. Cellular Field crowd, which has made him a favorite target in his four-plus seasons with the rival Tigers.

Once they finally had it right, Cabrera stepped to the plate and flew out to right on the first pitch.

Friday: Tigers at White Sox

Max Scherzer was in the Tigers clubhouse a little bit ago and looked healthy enough to pitch, so it appears he’s good to go for the start despite whatever virus is circulating up and down the roster.

Jim Leyland said two relievers who won’t be available today, but he wouldn’t say which ones. One would assume Collin Balester will be rested after pitching two-plus innings. The other one is a fair question. Jose Valverde pitched each of the last three days, so he would seem like a safe bet to get rested. Octavio Dotel was out of yesterday’s game with back issues, but came into the clubhouse Friday morning in good spirits and moving around OK. He might be available on an as-needed basis. And if the Tigers don’t have their closer today, they might need to have Dotel available in a close game late.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Alex Avila, C
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Andy Dirks, DH
  9. Ryan Raburn, 2B

P: Max Scherzer

 

Tigers make history with no-decisions

Sure, Justin Verlander’s making headlines for no wins yet despite two solid outings, but NOBODY has wins in Tigers rotation. And yet, the Tigers are 5-1 entering today’s game against the White Sox.

This from this morning’s Tigers game notes: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Detroit is the first team in Major League history to win at least five of its first six games without a starting pitcher getting a win in any of them.

Inge completes rehab assignment in Toledo

It appears that Brandon Inge will be activated from the disabled list when he’s eligible on Saturday. With the Mud Hens going on the road for the next eight days, Inge started at second base and went 0-for-3 before confirming to John Wagner of the Toledo Blade that he’ll rejoin the Tigers in Chicago.

Wagner’s full recap on Inge’s night, including a pair of difficult plays at second base, is available here.

“I had a couple of plays running both ways,” Inge told The Blade. “Once I covered those, there really wasn’t anything else [to test]. I had a couple plays backwards, and I’m happy where I am right now.”

At the plate, Inge went 0-for-3 with two walks on the night, and 1-for-9 over his three-game stint.

“The timing will come back,” Inge told The Blade. “I’m not worried about the results right now. When you’re going through a rehab, getting timing, seeing the pitches and drawing walks is important. I really didn’t get many good pitches to hit. They weren’t throwing me much — which was kind of funny.”

Inge will physically rejoin the Tigers in Chicago on Friday ahead of their Saturday afternoon game, which starts at 4 p.m. ET. Once the Tigers activate Inge, he’s expected to assume a platoon role at second base, starting against some but not all left-handed pitchers.

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