Verlander, Granderson, Rodney teammates again for All-Star Game

The last time Curtis Granderson played center field behind Justin Verlander, he came up with a game-saving diving catch in the eighth inning. Fernando Rodney had already relieved Verlander at that point, on his way to his last save of a Verlander start.

That was the last scheduled regular-season game of 2009, a  Tigers win that kept them alive for the one-game AL Central tiebreaker known as Game 163. Everyone knows how that story ended, and the dealing that happened afterwards — Granderson traded to New York, Rodney lost to free agency.

For one All-Star Game, they’ll all be teammates again, along with Miguel Cabrera. It wasn’t lost on Granderson, now a Yankees star.

“Justin’s obviously a great competitor,” Granderson said Monday. “He’s been a great teammate coming up. We made the team together in ’06, got a chance to be a part of a World Series together, and he’s continued just to blossom and grow and be one of the best pitchers in the game right now. And there’s no question why he’s the starter tomorrow.

“He’s dominant and he’s a guy that everyone talks about has the ability to throw a no-hitter every time he steps on the mound, and that’s a credit to him working hard and continuing to set the bar high.”

Verlander was a 19-game winner back then, a budding young arm still finding his full repertoire of pitches. He has found it in the two-plus years since Granderson became a Yankee.

“I would say, if anything, he’s found more ways to get you out,” Granderson said. “He used to trust, ‘Hey, I’m going to throw the fastball by you and I’m going to have a lot of success,’ but now he kind of messes with you a little bit.

“He knows he’s got the fastball. He’s got different fastballs now, some that are 91-93 [mph] and some that are 98-99. And any one can come out at any time. He’s got the changeup working now. He’s got the big curveball that he’s always had. And he can do it at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lefty or a righty, if you’ve had some hits off of him or if you haven’t, he’s got a good chance to get you out every time you step out there.”

Granderson, too, has blossomed, from one of the game’s great young center fielders into an All-Star starter and one of the most recognizable Yankees outside of the core group that has been there for years.

As for Rodney, that 2009 season was supposed to be his career year, a 37-save season that saw him blow only one save chance. He got the final four outs of that Verlander win, then tossed 48 pitches over three-plus innings two days later at Minnesota. At the very least, it was his payday season, drawing a two-year, $11 million contract offer from the Angels that winter. He recorded 17 saves over the course of that contract.

This year has been better, earning him his first All-Star selection. He’d still like one more chance to save a Verlander win.

“I’d like to be back in again to close behind Verlander,” Rodney said. “Whatever I have to be, I want to be the pitcher they go to.”

28 Comments

Oh, how the pain still hurts whenever game #163 is mentioned. Still can remember the shock when it was over.
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Rodney looksr the best I’ve ever seen him in a closer role. He’s really got it goin. Even though Curtis is a Yankee, I still think of him as a Tiger. He and Verlander both coming up in ’06. What a year!
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Prince looked pretty good, especially in the 2nd round.

Prince wants to win

No wonder Prince was named Prince. What a show!!!!! Go Tigers!!!

We have the Futures Game MVP and the HR Derby champion, plus the starting pitcher tomorrow. We do win some things.
Prince just doesn’t have much to say, does he? Nice kid.

Nope, not much to say. I guess that is why Berry is so often interviewed after the game. He loves to talk. Prince is pretty quiet except when he is playing. Still, a thrill for Tiger fans to enjoy and he’s won 2 of these HR derby’s. I don’t they think too many people had confidence in him winning it. They were wrong.

Way to go last night Prince, you put on quite an amazing show, and he seemed to enjoy it and loved seeing all the kids there.

You are right Kathy, Curtis will always be a Tiger in my mind too.

Nice show last night by Prince, he seems shy with the mic or just quiet. Detroit has taken control of this AS week, hoping Prince or Miggy can get MVP tonight but I doubt Miggy will play enough… dont want to get too greedy too! Go AL

Knobler reported the Tigers have stepped up scouting their own prospects to determine who to move in the event of a trade or trades. If Castellanos is a young Cabrera as some believe, it would be a shame to move him. The Tigers reportedly continue to be interested in Garza and the Cubs recently sent a scout to Double-A Erie.

Upton has been mentioned as a possible trade target of the Tigers. He is not having much of a year for Arizona(.273BA/7HR/37RBI) in a hitter favorable park. Upton is not playing regularly of late and reportedly is at odds with Gibson (albeit not to a toxic level).

I keep hearing Avisail Garcia is a young Cabrera. Castellanos is pretty special, that HR in the futures game is pretty impressive, to dead CF. And I love how he hits without the batting gloves. Tigers should not panic, the last week shows that they are getting healthier and better. If Fister, Porcello and Scherezer pitch well, I am confident that we will win the Central. DO NOT TRADE THE FUTURE FOR A MIDDLE INFIELDER!

I believe both Castellanos and Garcia are at Erie. They are considered top Tiger prospects. Maybe the Cubs want one or both of them for Garza. Garza is okay, but if either of these prospects are truly Cabreraesque, I wouln’t go there.

Amen to that.
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— Bob

I followed up with a stat check on the Upton news report concerning his playing time. Upton missed only 3 games in 2011 and already has missed 6 this year. He also has played regularly for the last week plus (as a possible showcase effort by GM Towers?)

CBS is now linking Upton to the Tigers. If a multiple prospect deal is pursued for Upton, the names mentioned were Castellanos and Turner. Porcello was also noted to be a possible chip. The price for Upton will be high because of his age, his 2011 season and the fact he is locked up in an extended contract.

Tigers having a hard time against LHP this year. Which is why BJ isn’t the answer.
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BJ upton against lefties in 2012: .271 OBP, .321 SLG
Ran Raburn against lefties in 2012: .216 OBP, .246 SLG
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yea it’s an improvement in many ways….but not particularly the answer to our LHP 1st half woes.

The idea of a trade for Upton makes me anxious. The Upton of this year does not excite me and the chips being discussed are all young wih lots of upside.

i mistook you

Not linking. Not even close. It links to an MLive piece that lists the prospects the Tigers have that would interest the Diamondbacks if their supposed interests in another report are true. Pure speculation.

That is a relief if speculation is all it is about.

This is not BJ Upton being discussed. It’s his brother Justin. Be careful, Evan, or you’ll become the source of the next rumor. ;-)

mmm good point Rich. Well i’d be more inclined to trade for justin upton…….402 OBP and .453 SLG

The comparision of Garcia to Cabrera has been appearance. If Garcia can hit get better at pitch recognition, he has the tools to be a star. Defensively, he may be the best right fielder in the system. He has a heck of an arm. Nick C. should be untouchable.

They are not getting rid of Castellanos. Bet on it.
Garcia they would likely trade. I don’t think they are very willing to trade turner eiter. I would. I don’t think he is going to be as they expect him to be. Waited too long with Oliver.
Crosby might be offered up though.
I don’t think Quentin helps us enough. Justin Upton does. Way too big a salary to deal with though.
I don’t thik we’re gonna end up with an impact RHB. Still think they will opt for a guy like Bourgos (sorry Rich). I wouldn’t mind that. Excellent D and speed to burn.Plays with enthusiasm.

Can’t forget about Vernon Wells either. Angels would like to be rid of him and would pick up a lot of salary I would expect.
He wouldn’t hurt but he’s on the cusp of his career. Hard to tell what he might still be capable of.

Wells and Quentin are no upgrade over DY or QB. The August pick up will be Andy Dirks.

When you look at Carlos Quentin, ask whether he is an upgrade over Boesch /Raburn in right. He has four straight years with 20 plus homers. On our team, he immediately becomes our power threat in the outfield. He loves playing in Comerica and I wonder if he would like to help beat those White Sox???

Heyman of CBS reported the Angels are ready to make a run at Greinke. I would assume Bourjos would be the major piece for them, given Wells would be tough, if not impossible to deal. I am concerned how awesome the Angels could become in a playoff situation against the Tigers with Weaver, Wilson. Greinke and Haren. Santana, Williams and/or Richards would also be available to start, if needed. This team needs to be blocked ,if possible. I love them, but not at the expense of the Tigers and a potential WS title.

And…as far as the ASG goes, the best thing is no Tigers got hurt.

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