Berry up, Balester DFA’ed, A-Jax in limbo

Austin Jackson, who was tentatively written into the Tigers lineup Tuesday afternoon, can’t swing at game intensity without feeling pain around his abdominal strain yet.

Don Kelly, though playing well in center field, isn’t really a center fielder.

The Tigers pitching staff is back to full strength with closer Jose Valverde back healthy.

Detroit has been going a position player short to have seven available relievers while Valverde was sidelined.

Collin Balester hadn’t pitched in a game since last Thursday. And when the Tigers had fallen behind Tuesday, they went to Duane Below and Luke Putkonen instead.

Put the pieces together, and you have a roster move.

As long as the Tigers have the room to add a position player, they figured they’d bring up a center fielder to fill in for Jackson for however long he’s out. Thus, they purchased the contract of speedster Quintin Berry, who made an impression in spring training and has stolen 19 bases already at Triple-A Toledo.

How long is Jackson out, you ask? Well, he’s pretty much out for Wednesday night. After that, it’s uncertain, but he’s clearly going to have to make some progress to get back into game action in the next few days.

“We can take this opportunity to try to buy a little more time, but not a whole lot more, to be honest with you,” Jim Leyland said of the Berry move. “We thought we could buy a couple more days with Austin, but right now, as we speak, it doesn’t look particularly good.”

How much time might come down to Ryan Raburn’s return. Leyland said earlier Tuesday that Raburn will be back on Friday, the first day he’s eligible to return from MLB’s Bereavement List. To do that, the Tigers will have to open up a roster spot. They could send back Danny Worth to Triple-A Toledo. But if Jackson isn’t ready by then, they could put him on the 15-day disabled list, backdate the move eight days to his original injury last Wednesday, and then potentially just lose him for another week.

The extra pitcher to go is Collin Balester, who actually opened the season on the team but has largely struggled to find a role in the long end of the bullpen. He went 10 days between pitching in late April and early May, then gave up six runs in four May outings.


did balester have minor league options?

Do not think so … that is why he was DFA’d and not optioned. May lose him.
Somebody can correct me if I am wrong.
— Bob

Everybody seemed to look good in ST. Can anyone guess where Berry will be in the lineup?

Correct. The Nationals were willing to trade him last winter in part because he was out of options.

Think Balester used his options up with the Nationals. Too bad, has good “stuff” just never knew where it was going. Putkonen has promise, see him improving albeit slowly. Nice to see Santiago get a couple games in a row, though not because of Raburn’s loss. Hope the Tigers bounce back soon, fans are starting to stress. Ya think?

OK, let’s say baseball is a business. We on this blog are also in business. We are in sales. We fail. We do not meet our goals. We do not meet our margins. Our sales manager never rides with us. The manager is not a good motivator. But, the sales manager does not have any accounts. I saw a comment about hitting Fielder 3rd. C’mon SOC, you would not bat Cabrera 3rd last year. What do you have to lose? Another game? Go Tigers, who ever the manager is!

Unless I miss my guess, JL will replace the speedy centerfielder with the speedy centerfielder in the leadoff spot, even though Berry isn’t much of a hitter. The absence of Jackson also can give the team an excuse, or they can step up. We’ve seen no stepping up yet since AJax went down. A few weeks from now, Jackson’s injury could be seen as the reason for the club’s struggles even though they were struggling with him in the lineup too. Time clouds things in the mind. “Injuries doom 2012 Tigers” could be a future headline, even though false.

There’s no stat on it, but this team may have already given away more ABs than last year’s club total for the entire year. It takes a fire in the gut, and that seems to be lacking. Young’s approach is to swing only at all pitches thrown. Cabrera has good ABs most of the time, as does Peralta and Santiago. The rest of them are sporadic in this area. Even when they do work a good hitter’s count, it seems they start swinging at everything whether it’s a good pitch or not. Add it all up and it looks like lazy ABs. Where does the motivation come from?

the easiest way to put out gut fires is to sign big names in the offseason – hence, why I did not want prince fielder, even after Vmart went down. And for that matter, I’ve come to embrace the notion of JL not being the kind of manager than can start fires in guts when their exists large expectations.

Leyland is falling into a habit of using one group of relievers when he’s behind, and another when he’s ahead, regardless of score. Last night Putkonen escaped by a miracle while Dotel warmed in the pen without being called in. If you trail late and close, use your best guys. Don’t save them all for the next game, use one. Jim is displaying no imagination in this facet of game management.

I am scratching my head about this move. I understand bringing up Berry, but why not put AJax on the DL. No reason to risk further injury, only rest will heal that kind of injury (lats, abodomens). Tigers only have 39 guys on the 40 man roster, so could have purchased Berry’s contract and a) put Jackson on the DL or b) sent down Putkonen.
Putkonen on paper has a lot of potential, 95mph fastball, good breaking ball. However, when I watch him, his fastball doesn’t move. So no matter how hard he throws it, guys in the bigs can hit it. So he either needs a 3rd pitch, or needs to go back to the minors.
Rich – couldn’t agree with you more about giving at bats away. Makes me sick. Disagree with you about the injury excuse, every team goes thru injuries. That is why you have a 40 man roster.
And Porcello CANNOT pitch up in the zone. Just can’t.

That was my point, PWL. Injuries are no excuse, but they may end up trying to make it one when it’s time to assess the season.

Oh, and Balester. If you are going to DFA him after 7 weeks, why not keep Ryan Perry in AAA this year?

Did Perry have options – I didn’t think so.

Perry had an option left, Balester did not. (perry started the year in AAA for Washington but is now getting torched in the bigs). Neither has pitched well this year.

well then who cares, all is well that ends well: We have a long man in Duane….and Perry would not have lasted in the bigs.
IMO Ballester was a backup plan for the long man role….and maybe the middle innings righty guy (e.g. what david villareal is doing now).

I think AJ (who is having a remarkable turnaround) will be smart enough to make sure he doesn’t try to come back too soon. If there is a good time for an injury (as far as hurting your team goes), this is probably it. They aren’t going to play better or win consistently with or without him in the lineup anyway. If this were at the end of the year then you might have to push it and play through more than you should.
Right now, with the way things are going, just put him on the DL and be done with it.
Hopefully someone steps up and lights a fire under this team in his absence—and I don’t mean Berry. This is a time where you want a guy like Alex to assert himself.
We are missing what was noted above (fire in the belly) but unfortunately we don’t have a Kirk Gibson or Bill Freehan on this roster.
I think Cabby has the respect and the demeanor to provide more in this area. He likes to win, hates to lose, strives for excellence and is a real student of the game. But, I don’t think he believes himself to be a motivator for others at this stage of his personal development.
Too bad JV only plays 35 games a season!

Balester went the way of David Pauley.

It’s true that hitting a baseball is the most difficult act in team sports, but one can at least give his best effort 4 or 5 times per game. It’s all anyone can ask. Nobody says it’s easy.

David Pauley came up with the Angels like two weeks ago…..9.1IP, 4.82ERA, 1.9WHIP and a 1.3 SO/KK ratio.
An example of a good decision to cut someone.

I never thought much of Balester, but still I think he somehow managed to get into JL’s “bad book”. Never really got a chance to pitch meaningfully. I don’t think he would have provided any solutions in the pen. The weird thing was why did he take up roster space to begin with. The mere fact we traded for a guy with with options for a similar guy with no options was not a brilliant move in my opinion.
Balester must have been best regarded as a reliable arm with potential to start and at worst, a placeholder till Q got back.
The pen is better off without him.

JL should think about invitign Tony LaRussa in to help him co-manage!

JL does not want to yell and scream and throw stuff. That doesn’t work. What will work to motivate this team?

They have to motivate themselves. Personal pride. Yelling and screaming and throwing chairs at the big league level won’t do it. They know they have their jobs locked up, most of them, since we’ve got nothing in the system to replace them. If they won’t do it for their mates, then I don’t know. That would be my approach. The ol’ esprit de corps.

Speaking of JL, how will he deploy Berry? Berry is a LHB and actually is hitting Lefties far better than he is hitting RHP. Will JL recognize that? Will he act upon it?
One thing we know about JL—he has a “formula” (read personal fixation) that he stubbornly refuses to deviate from.

If it is possible, could people tell me the % of our failures that they blame on the following areas: Jim Leyland, Llyod Mac, Jeff Jones, the majoritiy of the position players, specific position players, the starting rotation, the bullpen, individual members of both.
I think that the tigers should be 28-14. And the reason for the 8 losses I blame:
33% Jim
Scherzer and Porcello 16%
The bullpen 18%
Hitting with RISP – all positional players aside from Dirks, Prince, Cabby and Santiago. 33%


clarification: it sounds a lot of blame is put on JL for the way the team is performing. Sound part of the blame certainly falls on JL – but certainly not all of it. So the question is: what percent of the problem is the coaching, the positional players and pitchers faults?

sure, not sound in the second sentence

Does anyone know, or know how to find, the record for most consecutive games without back to back wins? We’re at 30 and I’m wondering what kind of company we’re in.

“Bad Company”

Bautista and Encarnacion 12 and 14 HRs respectively.
Cabby and Fielder have 15. They are out-hitting Edwin Encarnacion and only slightly behind Josh Hamilton.

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