Results tagged ‘ Delmon Young ’

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Indians

If Justin Masterson is going to try to use his sinker to get a ground ball, it can’t hurt to start a guy with enough speed to beat a throw to first on a ground ball. Enter Quintin Berry, who gets the start in Delmon Young’s place this time around (you may have heard about Delmon sitting against Masterson last week).

TIGERS

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

P: Anibal Sanchez

INDIANS

  1. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Carlos Santana, DH
  4. Russ Canzler, LF
  5. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  7. Cord Phelps, 2B
  8. Ezequiel Carrera, CF
  9. Lou Marson, C

P: Justin Masterson

Leyland is going to rotate his corner outfielders

The Tigers came into Tuesday’s game against the Yankees weighting their lineup towards right-handed hitters against Phil Hughes, a right-hander who has been far tougher on lefties than righties this year. They won in part with two RBI singles from Andy Dirks and two tough at-bats from Brennan Boesch, both left-handed hitters.

On Wednesday, they’ll face an actual left-handed pitcher, CC Sabathia, who has been tough on left-handed hitters for the better part of a decade. And so, manager Jim Leyland will give Jeff Baker, the right-handed utilityman they acquired over the weekend, his first playing time with a start in left field. Gerald Laird will start behind the plate (hopefully finishing the game this time), and Ramon Santiago will start in place of Jhonny Peralta, who’s a right-handed hitter but who’s 2-for-20 off Sabathia.

This is the flexibility Leyland wanted from his roster down the stretch, particularly in the outfield. He admits he felt starting pitcher was a bigger priority than extra right-handed bat, but he still wanted the latter to fill out the roster. Now that he has what he needed, he says he’s going to try to get everyone involved, particularly in the outfield. But it won’t be easy.

“We have a chance right now to have everybody involved,” Leyland said. “Everybody has a chance to be a hero. But everybody’s got to buy in.”

With that in mind, Leyland said he met with all of his outfielders earlier this week and tried to let them know his plans.

“I told them, ‘I can play four of six every day, but I can’t play you all every day,'” he said. “I explained it to them so everybody knows their situation and everybody knows they might not be in the lineup every day with the exception of [Austin] Jackson. Everybody knows pretty much what they’re going to be doing and you just ask them to be on board and be patient with it, because I’m happy with all the outfielders. But I can only play three in the outfield and one DH. That’s four; we got six. That’s fun but it also keeps people fresh.”

That holds especially true against most right-handed starters, since they have three left-handed hitters in Boesch, Dirks and Quintin Berry. Leyland said Tuesday night that he’ll start Berry on Thursday against Hiroki Kuroda. It’ll be Berry’s first start in five days.

“When you have a dilemma, and it’s a good dilemma, you meet it head-on,” Leyland said.

Leyland planning to start Delmon in left on some days

Delmon Young returned to left field this past weekend out of necessity, thanks to Interleague play and National League rules. Turns out he might still get some starts there once the Tigers return home and get their designated hitter slot back next weekend against the Rockies.

Young went 2-for-13 with a solo homer, a double and four strikeouts over the three-game series in Cincinnati, where he started all three games in left field. He also made a costly misplay in left field Saturday on a ball he lost in the sunlight. His batting average for the season dropped from .261 to .254. However, he’s still batting better as a left fielder (.277 average, .759 OPS) than as a DH (.244, .640).

Young began the season playing in left field and struggled out of the gate in April. He missed a week on MLB’s restricted list in the wake of his arrest in New York City at the end of April on aggravated harrassment and hate crime charges, then returned in early May to find himself virtually a full-time DH.

Manager Jim Leyland isn’t promising Young a lot of play in the outfield, but would like to use him there a couple days a week, he said after Sunday night’s win.

“I talked to him a little bit about this — DH four or five times a week, but play the outfield a couple [times], but to break it up for him I think would help,” Leyland said. “I’ve talked about all these things. We’ve been making plans for it, but it seems like we have somebody different every day that can’t go, so we haven’t been able to do exactly what we wanted.”

Most of the starts in left will go to Andy Dirks once he returns from the 15-day disabled list, potentially later this week. Quintin Berry could stick with the team in a reserve role, though Young getting a start or two in left might work against the speedy Berry.

Leyland also didn’t commit full-time to Dirks returning to the second spot in the lineup. He said he could continue play Brennan Boesch there if he remains on a hot streak.

Tigers activate Young, designate Eldred

Delmon Young’s suspension from Major League Baseball is officially over. So is the Tigers’ experiment with Triple-A slugging sensation Brad Eldred.

As the Tigers say they would, the team activated Young on Friday from MLB’s restricted list, where he had been placed last Saturday following his arrest and arraignment on aggravated harassment charges. He is not expected to start tonight against the White Sox, but he will be available as a right-handed hitter off the bench.

As it turns out, he’ll be the only right-handed power bat available off the bench now that the Tigers have ended their look at Eldred after a week. Detroit designated his contract for assignment to make room for Young on the roster.

Eldred’s red-hot start at Triple-A Toledo earned the 31-year-old another shot at the big leagues. He joined the Tigers last Friday in New York, where manager Jim Leyland said he was going to give him a shot.

“Basically, we had one of the hottest hitters, maybe ever, in the minor leagues. Take a shot,” Leyland said last Saturday. “Bring him up here and run him out there. I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but I think you run him out there until you think that he can or can’t do it.”

The timetable didn’t last long. Eldred had a triple down the line, an infield single and an RBI Friday night, then went 0-for-8 in the final two games, leaving him 2-for-13 with five strikeouts for the series. After a pinch-runner appearance Tuesday, he went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk Wednesday against Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

The final line for Eldred’s first Tigers stint: 3-for-16 with an RBI, a walk and six strikeouts. After Wednesday’s game, he noted the challenge of not trying to do too much in trying to make an immediate impression.

“It’s probably a little bit of a battle, because you obviously want to impress,” Eldred said. “You want to do something, but you obviously can’t get caught up in that. You really try to stick to the same things you’ve been doing, but at the same time, it’s like you’re starting from a clean slate. You want to get a couple hits, just so that you can catch up with everybody else in average, home runs, all that staff. It’s just something where you can’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

The Eldred move erases what was looming as a potential position crunch once Young returned. If Eldred was going to be the regular DH as forecast, Leyland would have to choose between Young and Andy Dirks in left field. This move might set up Young for more time at DH, something the Tigers avoided the first few weeks this season because he wasn’t comfortable doing it.

Leyland: Delmon will not start on Friday

Delmon Young will be back on the Tigers’ active roster when he’s eligible to return from his seven-day suspension, president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Monday night, but he left the decision on whether Young plays to his manager. Jim Leyland’s answer came Tuesday.

“He will not play Friday,” Leyland said, “because he needs to get back into a routine a little bit, get out on the field, taking fly balls, BP on the field,  all that kind of stuff. So it’s very unlikely he’d play Friday.

“Now, would I put him in the game if I needed to? Sure, but he won’t start Friday’s game. And that’s the only reason, only because he needs to get back, get some BP, run around the outfield a little bit, stuff like that.”

Asked when Young will start, Leyland said, “I think he’ll be back in there very shortly.”

Young hasn’t taken batting practice on the field with the team or taken fly balls since last Thursday, the finale of the Tigers’ last homestand. He spent Friday at a midtown Manhattan police station and later a Manhattan court being arraigned and eventually released on bail for his aggravated harassment charge. Once he was placed on Major League Baseball’s restricted list, he wasn’t seen around Yankee Stadium all weekend.

Young can’t be in the clubhouse or on the field with the team during his suspension.

Young leaves game with sore left knee

Just as the Tigers are hoping to have Miguel Cabrera back in the coming days, they might have a new injury to worry about. Delmon Young left Monday’s game against the Marlins after three innings with a sore left knee.

Young is listed as day-to-day, the team announced.

It’s the first known injury of the spring for Young, who got off to a fast start this spring and raised hopes that he could be in for a big season in his contract year before free agency. He entered the game leading the Grapefruit League with a .422 batting average, 39 total bases and 19 RBIs, while ranking third with five home runs.

Young has split his starts between left field and designated hitter in recent days, mainly so that the Tigers could get time for Andy Dirks and Clete Thomas in their competition for the final roster spot. He started in left field Monday but didn’t seem to strain his knee on any particular play.

Young’s fast start, plus the Tigers’ outfield depth, means Detroit shouldn’t be in a bind if he has to miss a few days down the stretch this spring.

Why a Johnny Damon reunion makes sense

Around this time two years ago, the Tigers were about midway through the six-week saga of signing Johnny Damon to be their left fielder and designated hitter. He had a good, not great season in Detroit, good for a .756 OPS and a .355 on-base percentage, then was told by the Tigers near season’s end they weren’t interested in re-signing him. Detroit was already plotting a pursuit of free-agent Victor Martinez.

So with Martinez likely out for the season, why would the Tigers have interest in going back to Damon?

Well, they have a few pretty good reasons. But the big picture is that this is a much different team, and a much better offense, than the one that split with Damon last offseason. Delmon Young is the veteran, run producing corner outfielder the Tigers lacked in 2010. Brennan Boesch isn’t a rookie anymore, and Alex Avila is an RBI guy.

The Tigers are searching for a bat to fill the opening left by Martinez, but if they can help it, they’d rather do it with an outfielder. They’d rather keep Miguel Cabrera at first base than have to move him in and out of the DH slot, and an outfielder would allow them some flexibility with Delmon Young in the DH role if they want. Granted, Damon has had just 46 starts in the outfield over the last two seasons, but he at least provides the capability.

Juan Pierre, another free agent linked to the Tigers, kind of falls in the same category, though he has been an everyday outfielder the last couple years in Chicago. Both have declining skills showing, especially in the field, but both can be productive near the top of the order.

Neither would likely be as expensive as a middle-of-the-order hitter, which is a factor. Though the Tigers did have an insurance policy on Victor Martinez, it isn’t believed to be for nearly as much as many have speculated (including myself).

Damon or Pierre would allow them to move either Young or  Boesch down while (in theory) improving the percentages of Cabrera coming up with runners on base. They also add a left-handed bat in the top third of the order, something both manager Jim Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski have referenced in recent days. Leyland, of course, has also referenced the appeal of adding a top-third order hitter and a better baserunner.

The idea, of course, hinges on somebody else batting behind Cabrera.  Young thrived last year batting in front of Cabrera in part because he saw a lot of strikes; nobody’s going to pitch around the guy batting in front of Cabrera. Boesch struggled mightily batting behind Cabrera down the stretch in 2010, but he’s a more mature hitter now. Leyland never wanted to bat Jhonny Peralta above sixth last year, and he didn’t want to put a whole lot of RBI pressure on Alex Avila either.

Interest in Damon appears to be in the early stages at this point. The Tigers haven’t had any direct contact with Damon, according to a source. But then, with the Yoenis Cespedes pursuit on hold pending his residency clearance in the Dominican Republic, the Tigers aren’t likely to add an outfielder until the Cespedes courtship gets resolved, or at least becomes clearer.

Tigers reach deals with Kelly, Scherzer, Young

For a 10th consecutive year, the Tigers have avoided going to arbitration. This time, they didn’t get past the day numbers were exchanged.

On the day arbitration-eligible players and teams exchange numbers, the Tigers found a middle ground with their remaining three eligible players and settled. They agreed to one-year deals with right-hander Max Scherzer, outfielder Delmon Young and utilityman Don Kelly.

Kelly will earn $900,000 this coming season. Young and the Tigers settled for $6.75 million, according to CBSSports.com, which also reported Scherzer’s salary $3.75 million plus bonuses.

Kelly’s contract shows the value of versatility on the market. He made his case with two years of solid utility work, playing in 231 games combined over the last two seasons. He batted .245 (63-for-257) last year with eight doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 28 RBIs and a .672 OPS. He also pitched in one game and caught in another during the same week in late June and early July.

Kelly was eligible for arbitration for the first time after 11 years in pro baseball. The 27-year-old Scherzer had to wait a little less after his Major League debut in 2008 and three seasons in a rotation after that, the last two with the Tigers.

In terms of victories, last season was the best for Scherzer, who went 15-9 despite a career-high 4.43 ERA. He struck out 174 batters over 195 innings while allowing 207 hits and 29 home runs. He has 94 starts over the last three years, including a career-high 33 in 2011.

Young was expected to be the most challenging case, partly because he’s a year away from free agency, partly because he had what seemed like two different seasons — an early-season struggle with Minnesota before a late-season surge in Detroit.

The 26-year-old ended up with a .268 average with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs in 124 games before hitting five postseason runs in the Tigers’ run to the American League Championship Series.

The Tigers haven’t faced an arbitration ruling since Dave Dombrowski took over as general manager in 2002.

Dombrowski: Tigers unlikely to bid on Reyes, Rolllins, Ramirez

Credit MLB Network Radio’s Jim Bowden for his interview Friday afternoon with Dave Dombrowski, who reiterated his stance that aren’t going to be getting into a bidding frenzy on Jose Reyes, or Jimmy Rollins, or Aramis Ramirez. The Ramirez remark was new compared to last week, since Ramirez is a third baseman rather than a shortstop.

Bowden asked Dombrowski if there’s “any chance that you guys could play on a Reyes or Rollins … or any chance you would have interest in Aramis Ramirez, that kind of player?”

Dombrowski’s answer:

“Well, I kind of doubt it, would be my answer to that. I wouldn’t discount anything. I think our approach this wintertime is, we’re going to look to get better probably in smaller increments, but you never can tell what takes place in the wintertime. If something falls in your lap, and if it’s something — we have a tremendous owner in Mike Ilitch, he’s very aggressive — and if something falls in your lap … but I can’t see us being the leader in the front in those things. Because in our situation here, and we have a very hefty payroll, but we’re in a spot where you’re talking about having a Verlander and a Cabrera. You’ve got two $20 million guys, and in our market, you can only have so many of those type of guys. So I would doubt it, but again, you never know where dollars end up and what may fall through as the winter goes on.”

Read into the remarks, and the scenario kind of sounds like if one of those guys ends up in a situation like Pudge Rodriguez or Magglio Ordonez faced when they signed with Detroit years ago, where the Tigers were the last players on the market and not in a bidding competition. Reyes already sounds like he’s going to have no shortage of interest. Rollins has the option of going back to Philadelphia, where the Phillies don’t have to sign somebody else to replace him. With more demand than supply at third base, it’ll be interesting to see how the market develops on Ramirez at age 33.

Dombrowski also said emphatically that they’ll offer Delmon Young a contract. he left a slight opening, but not nearly as big as it seemed a week ago.

“I mean, we’re not going to non-tender Delmon Young. I mean, that’s just not going to happen,” he said. “But now, when I say that, you always put one-thousandth of a percent [open], if something falls on your lap, that you don’t anticipate. But we like Delmon Young. Delmon Young did a fine job for us, and he’s in a situation this year that he’s going into the last year of his contract, as we’re all aware, his free agency year.

“He did not play as well with Minnesota early. He had some injuries coming back from the offseason. He got a little bit bigger, and I think he got bigger from all conversations, in his own mind thinking he needed to add more power. Well, to me, Delmon doesn’t need to add more power. This guy’s got tremendous power all over the ballpark. He’s a guy that’s going to hit 20, 25, 30 home runs and knock in 100 for us. And so, we’re not going to non-tender Delmon. It would just be a situation where something just completely out of the blue took place. He’s our left fielder and look for his bat in the lineup on a daily basis.”

For the audio on the Dombrowski interview, MLB Network Radio has the link on its Facebook page. You can also click to it here.

Dombrowski: Ordonez, Guillen likely gone, iffy on Santiago

Lot of updates from president/GM Dave Dombrowski today in his talk with reporters. More in-depth stuff coming, but here’s the rundown …

  • Dombrowski said there won’t be a “real strong push” to bring a lot of their free agents back. Most likely, he said, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen are done as Tigers. “I would say in their case it’s highly unlikely they’re going to be back. In both cases,” said Dombrowski, who said he let both of them know that in the last month of the season.
  • Brad Penny also won’t be back. “With the young pitching we have coming, I would doubt we would re-sign him,” Dombrowski said.
  • Dombrowski wasn’t completely clear on the fifth starter situation. Ideally, he said, they’ll have a veteran as “protection” in case Jacob Turner or one of their other young guys aren’t ready. At another point, though, he said that if they sign a veteran for the job, Turner would start the season at Triple-A Toledo.
  • Here’s the main quote on the rotation: “The most likely scenario would be that those young guys come to camp with the four guys that are set and  compete for the fifth spot, and we have protection of a veteran type pitcher that can fill that if they’re not ready. But I also would say that, hey, if there’s some great starting pitcher that we really liked and was available for us, and we thought it was the type of move that made the most sense to get us better, would we be open to it? Yes. We like them all. We like every one of those pitchers. But can I tell you 100 percent that they’re ready? No. Now, can they be ready? Yes.”
  • Ramon Santiago is basically in a bad situation, at least as far as returning to Detroit goes. There’s mutual interest,  but Santiago wants a more regular role, and the Tigers don’t see him that way. “I think our feeling has been that we just don’t see him as the guy going out there and playing – we may be wrong – 150 games a year,” Dombrowski said. “We just don’t happen to see him as that guy, and we may be wrong. He’s done a very fine job for us and we like him a lot, but that’s not the role we see him in. If we thought he was our everyday second baseman, we’d go out and we’d make that move.”
  • This quote from Dombrowski on the market for free agents at second and third base is pretty telling: “I don’t think they’re real strong. And that’s why, too, not only free agents, you’d also have to talk about the possibility of trades, too.”
  • His evaluation on how slow this market will move compared with the way they took care of business quickly last year was also telling: “I don’t think we’re going to be rushing out like we did last year. We’re in a different situation than we were last year, where we identified a couple guys right off the bat in [Victor] Martinez and [Joaquin] Benoit. We’re still prepared; I don’t mean to say that we couldn’t make a move if the right move came about. But I wouldn’t think we would make a real quick move. I think we’ll take more time to go through it and let it work itself out.”
  • The Tigers are open to re-signing Joel Zumaya, but it would have to be a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite. At this point, it sounds like the Tigers expect Zumaya to wait and see if another team offers him a Major League deal. “He’d like to come back, and we would like to have him back,” Dombrowski said.
  • While Dombrowski didn’t anoint Delmon Young as the starting left fielder, he said he looks at his outfield being Young alongside Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch. But he left open the possibility they could try to upgrade in left, and he acknowledged they have time before they have to decide whether to tender a contract to the arbitration-eligible Young.
  • Tigers will look at both free agents and trades to upgrade at second. They will look at possibilities at third as well. That said, Dombrowski left open the possibility they upgrade at one spot and platoon at the other. They could also go with grinders there. “You can never have enough good players,” Dombrowski said, “but you don’t want all star players. You want some of those gritty role-type players. Jim likes those on his club and is very successful at fitting them into his club.”
  • Dombrowski confirmed that the Tigers will look for a backup hitting catcher, preferably a right-handed hitter, to back up Alex Avila. The challenge, Dombrowski acknowledged, is convincing a good catcher to sign with a team where he isn’t likely to play very often. Even with a drop in playing time, Dombrowski said Avila could catch 120-125 games next year. He is an All-Star, after all.
  • The Tigers are open to possibly beefing up their bullpen with one more veteran, Dombrowski said, but he probably wouldn’t be a seventh- or eighth-inning setup guy. They like the core they have with Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque and Daniel Schlereth.
  • No chance of Phil Coke returning to the rotation.
  • Dombrowski basically threw down the challenge to Ryan Perry. ” He’s at the point where he needs to step it up for us,” Dombrowski said.
  • The door is open for the Tigers to add a leadoff hitter, but that isn’t a sure thing. “We need to get better offensive production out of Austin [Jackson],” Dombrowski said. “We think he’s capable of doing that. Will he be our leadoff hitter next season? We really can’t answer that question.”
  •  Chances of the Tigers shifting Jhonny Peralta to third base and pursuing Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins? Not likely. Peralta is sounding very likely to stick at short. “I would think so,” Dombrowski said. “Would I say 100 percent? No. Would I say most likely? Yes.”
  • Another factor seemingly working against a Reyes pursuit: The Tigers have their quota of $20 million players for the foreseeable future. “I would think so,” Dombrowski said.
  • The entire coaching staff will be back for next season, Dombrowski announced, unless somebody gets hired for a managerial job elsewhere. Dombrowski said he has not received any calls so far asking permission to talk with McClendon for such a job, but he would have no problem granting permission.
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