Results tagged ‘ Dontrelle Willis ’
ST. PETERSBURG — Tigers manager Jim Leyland has spent the last couple of days visiting Rays senior advisor and old friend Don Zimmer in the hospital, as he recovers from four-hour back surgery he had on Wednesday. Leyland said Zimmer is doing better. How does he know this? “He’s still grumpy,” joked Leyland, who shared an assortment of Zimmer stories before Saturday’s game.
Just found out that Dontrelle Willis will make one more rehab start for Triple-A Toledo, this one coming Saturday at Columbus. I don’t think the Mud Hens’ pitching situation had anything to do with it, since they slotted in Josh Rainwater to start Friday in what was going to be Armando Galarraga’s spot.
The Mud Hens season ends next Monday. I don’t know the plan after that.
Dontrelle Willis walked eight batters over four-plus innings in his rehab start for Triple-A Toledo Sunday night, taking the loss against the Pirates’ Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate.
Willis, whose previous rehab outing was shortened by an injured right hip, was not in sync from the start. He walked four of the first five batters he faced, the exception in that stretch being a single, to allow two runs before a two-out single plated two more runs. He faced just one batter over the minimum over his next three innings before he walked all three batters he faced in the fifth.
Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish made the pitching change at that point. Willis threw 44 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
Dontrelle Willis, who has been working out with Triple-A Toledo for the past month or so, is scheduled to make a rehab start for the Mud Hens Sunday against Indianapolis, as first reported by the Toledo Blade’s John Wagner. It’ll be Willis’ second try at a return to action after going on the disabled list in June with anxiety disorder. His last rehab start August 19 was cut short in the second inning with soreness in his right hip.
The Mud Hens’ regular season schedule ends Sept. 7, so Willis likely has one more rehab start left after this.
Dontrelle Willis will be examined by a doctor in Columbus today after leaving last night’s rehab start for Triple-A Toledo after just 1 1/3 innings with a recurrence of his sore right hip. The Tigers referred Willis to Dr. Grant Jones for diagnostic testing, after which the Tigers will decide the next step for the right-hander.
According to both the Mud Hens radio broadcast and the milb.com Gameday application, Dontrelle Willis left his rehab start for Triple-A Toledo tonight at Columbus in the second inning with an apparent right knee injury. Working to find out what happened, though Gameday says it was a knee injury. He gave up a run on a hit over 1 1/3 innings with a walk and a strikeout, so it wasn’t a performance matter. Willis threw 24 pitches, 13 for strikes.
UPDATE: Both the Hens radio broadcast and others in Columbus are saying it looked like a right knee injury for Dontrelle, who seemed to be favoring it as he pitched.
Word from the Tigers earlier in the day was that Dontrelle Willis had his rehab start at Triple-A Toledo pushed back from Monday to Wednesday due to hip soreness. Now, Willis apparently won’t be starting Wednesday, either. His rehab stint is now on hold with his sore hip.
Meanwhile, just when you figured the draft wouldn’t affect the Mud Hens just yet, it cost them their scheduled Tuesday starter, too. The Tigers designated Chris Lambert’s contract for assignment Monday, presumably to make room for Jacob Turner on the 40-man roster. Because Turner signed a Major League deal, he immediately goes on the 40-man, even though he won’t be pitching in games for a while. We know it wasn’t to make room for Aubrey Huff, because the Tigers announced they moved Joel Zumaya to the 60-day DL for that.
The way things are going at Triple-A Toledo, they might need a pitcher or two from last week’s tryout camp before long. Because they just lost their scheduled starters for the next two nights.
Just found out from Tigers that Dontrelle Willis was pushed back from his rehab start tonight for Triple-A Toledo with soreness in his hip. He’ll instead start Wednesday for the Mud Hens at Columbus.
UPDATE @ 6pm: Ruddy Lugo will start in Willis’ place Monday night. Chris Lambert will make his Mud Hens return Tuesday.
Someone had asked for an update on Dontrelle Willis, and you can credit John Wagner of the Toledo Blade with the scoop: Willis is throwing a simulated game at Fifth Third Field with the Mud Hens this afternoon. Why is he doing this in Toledo when the Tigers are at home? According to team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, that was where it was recommended he do so. He also took swings in batting practice with the Hens Wednesday before working out in the weight room. The batting practice, from what I was told, was just something he wanted to do.
Speaking of Toledo, it appears Carlos Guillen’s minor league rehab assignment probably will not begin there. It appears that he’ll travel to Lakeland Sunday and start out down there. Considering team officials have said this will not be a short rehab stint, a stop in Lakeland makes sense as part of a progression up the developmental ladder, especially when both Toledo and Erie have All-Star breaks early next week. After this weekend, the Mud Hens are back home July 20-27, for what it’s worth.
Finally, just a heads-up that I won’t be covering this weekend’s series. I head to St. Louis Saturday for All-Star festivities, starting with Sunday afternoon’s Futures Game featuring Mud Hens second baseman Scott Sizemore. It’ll be my first trip to Busch Stadium since the ’06 World Series, so it’ll nice to see the city and the ballpark when the weather is good.
Talking with Dontrelle Willis after his 3 2/3 innings and eight walks Sunday, there was a sense of urgency that he hasn’t really discussed much since he’s been up here. He kind of addressed when he returned a month or so ago, but in a sense that he wasn’t worried. Sunday, the sense of letting down his teammates was obvious, as was the sense that he might be getting his last shot, if he hasn’t already.
“Honestly, today was just unacceptable. I can’t put my team in that type of hole. Can’t beat anybody pitching like that. It’s very tough to pitch when you’re in a jam every inning. I’m going to have to finally do something, or somebody else is going to have to go out there to help this ballclub win. Because I just can’t go out there and do that.
“It’s hard for us to come back from a deficit like that. Even when you get out of a jam, it’s tough for the team to be out there all day. You can’t defend a walk. So [I’ll] try to find a way to get the ball in play, or Skip’s going to have to find somebody to do it. I’m going to have to kick it into gear and get it done, step it up.
“I appreciate Skip giving me the leeway to go out there every time. Every time he gives me leeway, I go one step forward and two steps back. It’s just unacceptable, and I’m disappointed in myself the way I played today.”
When asked about the importance for him to hit the outside corner against right-handed hitters, which he missed so often over the last couple starts, Willis wasn’t looking that limited.
“Not only that, but just throwing the ball and making them hit it. I don’t care what corner it is. Just go out there and establish that I can throw the ball over the plate and not get in a jam where it’s all of a sudden bases loaded, no outs and I have to make pitches. It’s tough to pitch out of jams every single inning consistently.”
Asked how he gets through this, he said:
“I have to do a better job, and it starts today with me going out and watching what I did wrong today, going back after the off-day and working harder to stay focused get it done. It’s just inevitable. I have to do that, or else Skip’s going to have to find somebody else that can do that. It’s just the bottom line. We’re a good ballclub. We’re a great defensive ballclub. So I have to force the issue of contact. This is the bottom line. I’m going to work harder. I’m not going to give in. And I know I can come back, because I’ve done it before.
“Every time Skip gives me leeway, I do this. I take one step forward and two steps back, and one step forward. I’m just sick of it myself.”