Results tagged ‘ Fernando Rodney ’

Rodney already warmed up for ninth

Once again, Fernando Rodney made an appearance in a non-save situation, where the stats show he struggles mightily compared with save opportunities. But to understand why the Tigers did it, keep in mind that Detroit had just a two-run lead before tacking on three runs in the bottom of the eighth as Rodney warmed up. By the time the Tigers had put the game out of reach, manager Jim Leyland, Rodney had already put in the warm-ups to be ready to pitch.

“It was a close game when I brought [Brandon] Lyon in,” Leyland said, “and then you’ve got Rodney warmed up. He had one inning [available] today. That’s all he had. But after he’s all warmed up and everything, you might as well pitch him. It’s like he pitched if you sit him down then, so go ahead and use him. If I had known at the beginning of the inning we were going to get some runs, obviously I’d have used somebody else in the ninth. But you can’t count on that.”

The non-save situation would also explain Rodney’s subdued reaction after the game. He never celebrates much after a win that wasn’t that close. I doubt it had anything to do with the ball in the stands from nine days ago, even though that was the first win he had finished off since then.

Leyland expects he’ll probably try to rest both Rodney and Lyon Monday. Fortunately for him, Justin Verlander works very well into that scenario.

Other notes:

  • Brent Dlugach made his Major League debut Sunday as a pinch-runner, replacing Aubrey Huff in the eighth inning and scoring.
  • Sunday’s win pushed this year’s Tigers in the tie with the 2006 team for the most home wins in a season (46) since the club moved into Comerica Park in 2000. These Tigers still have 11 games to go at home before the regular season ends.
  • On the day the Lions opened their season with a loss at New Orleans, we note with others that Sunday marked the Tigers’ 150th victory since the Lions last won a game. The Tigers won 74 last year, and this was their 76th win of this season.

Why Rodney in the 8th

That question came up after the Royals’ three-run eighth inning off Fernando Rodney, providing the Royals the margin to make the Tigers’ ninth-inning rally irrelevant and further ballooning Rodney’s numbers in non-save situations. Manager Jim Leyland pointed to two things: Rodney hadn’t pitched since Friday, and with a three-game suspension looming, there’s a chance Rodney won’t pitch for a few days down the road. Whether that means Rodney is going to take a suspension anytime soon isn’t clear.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen with this suspension,” Leyland said, “and you can’t let him sit there too long. Because if all of a sudden there’s a hearing on the appeal and they don’t drop some [games], he could go a long time without pitching.”

With that in mind, and with the Tigers on the road, Leyland switched his reliever roles for a day. Rodney was going to pitch the eighth inning, win or lose, and if the Tigers headed into the ninth inning with a lead, Brandon Lyon would be the closer for a day. It was a temporary shift, Leyland emphasized, not something long term.

There’s one major consideration to keep in mind when debating whether those add-on runs off Rodney cost them the game. Without them, Joakim Soria would’ve started the ninth inning instead of coming in after Jamey Wright loaded the bases.

“It’s good Fernando got back out there,” Leyland said. “I hope we have a chance to have him save the game tomorrow.”

Rodney to appeal suspension

A Tigers spokesperson said Tuesday that Fernando Rodney plans to appeal his three-game suspension handed down from Major League Baseball for his throw into the press box at Tropicana Field Friday night. The suspension otherwise would’ve started tonight against the Royals.

The heave came after Rodney gave up two runs in the ninth inning but still held on to save a 4-3 Tigers win over the Rays. After giving up an RBI single and double, Rodney stranded the potential tying run at third base and go-ahead run at second with a groundout. Rodney got the ball from first baseman Miguel Cabrera and flung it towards the seats behind the plate. The ball hit off the front row of the press seats and bounced into the back of the press box.

Nobody was hit, but it obviously raised safety concerns at the Commissioner’s office, as well as in the press box. Rodney insisted there was no malice intended.

“I was throwing the ball to the fans,” Rodney said afterwards. “[I was] emotional. It’s nothing bad. I know I’m not supposed to throw the ball, but I’m feeling in the moment. … I don’t throw it to hit nobody. I think if I throw it in the right spot, I don’t hit nobody.”

UPDATE @ 2pm: There is some precedence for this suspension. A Major League Baseball spokesperson cited former Astros reliever and current Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls, who threw a ball into the third deck of seats at Angel Stadium after blowing a five-run lead in the seventh inning against the Angels on June 18, 2007. He, too, was suspended three games along with a $3,000 fine. Qualls’ appeal was denied about a month later.

Carlos Zambrano also had a ball-tossing incident this year, but his throw went from home plate into the outfield. That, plus other actions during a memorable tirade, drew a six-game suspension from MLB, but as we know from Rick Porcello’s ordeal last month, the lengths on suspensions for starting pitchers are a little different.

Tigers at The Trop, Game 3

ST. PETERSBURG — By winning the first two games of this series, the Tigers moved to 4-2 against the Rays this season, which guarantees they’d win a season series against them for the first time since 2006. 

After Armando Galarraga’s struggles on Saturday night (six runs in 2 1/3 innings), manager Jim Leyland said he’d talk to the young righty and his coaching staff to see what the next step is. With Nate Robertson making two good starts for Detroit recently, Galarraga could find himself out of a rotation spot — which looks like it will fall on Saturday against the Twins.
We’ll find out more soon, I’m sure. 
On to the lineups, which have Ramon Santiago back in there after a two-hit night — this time taking Placido Polanco’s place at second base. 
Curtis Granderson, CF
Santiago, 2B
Carlos Guillen, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Aubrey Huff, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Adam Everett, SS
SP: Edwin Jackson (RH)
Jason Bartlett, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Ben Zobrist, RF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Pat Burrell, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
Dioner Navarro, C
Fernando Perez, CF
SP: Wade Davis (RH)
UPDATE (2:03 P.M. ET): 
* Fernando Rodney will indeed not be available to close tonight. He’s fine, but Leyland would rather take advantage of Monday’s off-day and give him three days of rest. Jeremy Bonderman will be off, too. 
* Alex Avila’s two-run homer against James Shields in the seventh inning on Saturday was an absolute moon shoot to right field, one that bounced off the catwalk that sits just above the JumboTron beyond the right-field seats. He’s the second player to hit a home run off what’s called the “C-ring” this season, with the other being Evan Longoria on April 30. “That was a bomb,” an impressed Leyland said.
— Alden Gonzalez

9/5 pregame happenings: Zimmer, Rodney, Kelly

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. 

* Leyland confirmed he’ll give Fernando Rodney a day off after throwing 35 pitches on Friday night. The 32-year-old right-hander has pitched in four of the last six days. Either righty Brandon Lyon or lefty Bobby Seay will likely get the ball if Saturday presents a save situation. Leyland is kicking around probably giving Rodney Sunday off, too. That would give him at least three days without entering a game, with Monday being an off-day.
* Leyland on Rodney chucking the ball into the press box after his latest save: “It doesn’t bother me at all because … obviously, there was no intent to do anything wrong. I’ve seen 30 balls thrown in the stands during batting practice every night, I’ve seen third-base coaches throw them into the stands, over the dugout. I don’t pay any attention to that kind of stuff.”
* The rotation after this series: Rick Porcello on Tuesday, Justin Verlander on Wednesday, Jarrod Washburn on Thursday and Edwin Jackson (Sunday’s starter) on Friday. Porcello would be on normal rest for Sunday, possibly leaving Saturday open for either Armando Galarraga or Nate Robertson. Leyland said Robertson is “on hold.”
* Utility man Don Kelly, recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday, was in the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field. He’ll be a welcome addition after the Tigers used all four of their lefty hitters on Friday. The Tigers were originally planning on bringing him up on Tuesday, but after what happened Friday, they hurried him along.  
* The Tigers likely won’t be calling up any more players this month, but Toledo Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish will join the club at some point.
* Dontrelle Willis will make one more start for Triple-A Toledo tonight, as their season comes to an end on Monday. 
— Alden Gonzalez

Bullpen fact from Elias

From Elias Sports Bureau: Those four perfect innings from Nate Robertson, Bobby Seay, Ryan Perry and Fernando Rodney Saturday marked the first time since 2004 that Detroit’s bullpen had thrown four innings in a game without allowing a runner to reach base.

In case you were curious, that game was June 27, 2004 against Arizona at Comerica Park, one of the walkoff victories against the Diamondbacks that weekend. Danny Patterson replaced Mike Maroth with nobody out in the sixth and retired all four batters he faced before Jamie Walker went 2 2/3 perfect innings with three strikeouts. Detroit came back from a 5-2 deficit to tie it before Carlos Pena hit a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.


  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Larish, DH
  7. Laird, C
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Edwin Jackson


  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  2. Michael Young, 3B
  3. Josh Hamilton, CF
  4. Hank Blalock, DH
  5. Nelson Cruz, RF
  6. David Murphy, LF
  7. Chris Davis, 1B
  8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  9. Elvis Andrus, SS

P: Kevin Millwood

Rodney won't get comfy at closer

If Fernando Rodney has won the closer competition for the Tigers, somebody forgot to tell him.

“That’s news,” he said Thursday morning.

Considering his locker at Joker Marchant Stadium sat just outside manager Jim Leyland’s office before they packed up and left for Atlanta Thursday, it’s unlikely he just wasn’t paying attention.

Though Leyland said Wednesday that Rodney would pitch the ninth inning if the Tigers have a lead in the ninth inning on Opening Day, he appears to be simply getting the first shot. At this point, nobody has been declared the closer.

As far as Rodney knows, the closer competition might still be going on, and he can’t let up.

“We have a lot of competition here for that position,” he said. “I don’t know who’s going to be the closer. We have a lot of guys who can close the game. I think that competition is very close.”

Rodney has had no fewer than four different stints as the Tigers’ closer over his six-year Major League career. He saved three of the Tigers’ 43 victories in 2003, and has worked behind such Tigers closers as Franklyn German, Troy Percival, Kyle Farnsworth and Todd Jones.

When the team announced the Brandon Lyon signing at TigerFest in January, adding someone who saved a career-high 26 games last year, Rodney said he looked forward to competing for the closer job. Never mind that the competition appeared to be a formality at that point.

He didn’t accept defeat when the contest seemed stacked against him. Now he isn’t basking in victory, either.

“I keep competing and keep working hard,” Rodney said, “because you don’t ever know what’ll happen.”

Closer by committee? Sure sounds like it

It’ll get lost in the news about Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry, but Jim Leyland was asked about his closing situation. If the Tigers have a one-run lead in the ninth inning on Opening Day at Toronto, he said, he’ll turn to Fernando Rodney to close it out.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll do the same if the Tigers have a one-run lead on Tuesday, it’ll be Rodney again. It could be Brandon Lyon.

Leyland indicated a week or so ago that he might not name a closer, that he might turn to multiple relievers for the role. As the Tigers close out camp, that still appears to be the case.

“It might be,” Leyland said. “It might not just be one guy. There might be somebody else involved.”

And it might not just be Lyon and Rodney, at least not for the long term.

“We may have a guy that’s two weeks, maybe a month away from joining the team,” Leyland said.

That’ll get Joel Zumaya into the picture.

Bullpen blues

It’s only Spring Training, but it was pretty amazing how quickly Friday’s game fell apart once Justin Verlander left the game. A leadoff error didn’t help Fernando Rodney in the eighth, but the ensuing single and double put him in major trouble. He settled down to retire the next three batters and keep the game tied, but as manager Jim Leyland pointed out, he could’ve used that earlier.

“When the horse got out of the barn, Rodney showed that everything’s fine,” Leyland said. “But in a 2-0 game, you’ve got to come in there [like that] right away. I’m just grateful and thankful that he did have it and show it, and that’s something that can be easily cured. But it was too late. The horse was out of the barn by the time he started throwing the ball.”

That’s four straight outings, including a camp game, in which Rodney has surrendered multiple runs after looking dominant for the first half of Spring Training. Total damage in that stretch: 12 runs, 11 earned, on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Rodney had been working on a slider as a third pitch, which the Tigers had been encouraging last year, but expect to see a whole lot of fastballs and changeups from here on out.

Enter Brandon Lyon for the ninth, his first outing since giving up four consecutive homers to the Red Sox on Monday. He didn’t give up an extra base hit, but after a leadoff walk, two singles sufficed to end it. The only batter he retired was on a sacrifice bunt. He has given up multiple baserunners in six of his last seven outings.

Again, it’s Spring Training. But with Joel Zumaya now all but certain to stay back in Florida when the regular season starts, Rodney and Lyon are a little more important than if Zumaya was ready. What this means for Ryan Perry’s chances of making the team remain to be seen, but it could make for an interesting decision. Leyland pointed out Friday that he doesn’t have many decisions to make in the bullpen.

A few other notes before you go watch basketball …

  • Dontrelle Willis threw another side session today, according to Leyland, and had some encouraging results. He’s now set to follow Jeremy Bonderman on Sunday. How many innings or pitches, I don’t know.
  • Joel Zumaya will be pitching in a camp game Saturday afternoon. If you’re in the area and not going to Dunedin to watch the Tigers and Jays, the camp game supposedly starts at 1 p.m. ET.
  • Yes, I did notice Omar Infante at shortstop today.

Zumaya will not throw Saturday

Turns out Joel Zumaya will not throw in Saturday’s simulated game. He has what head athletic trainer Kevin Rand likened to a cramp between his shoulder and his neck, so he’s going to be held back a day or two. Fernando Rodney also will not throw Saturday; Jim Leyland said team officials decided he had been stretched earlier in the week, so they’re going to hold him back.

Meanwhile, Casper Wells was not available Friday. He has had lingering pain in his elbow after a diving attempt earlier in camp and was getting it checked out by a doctor Friday. No word yet on the diagnosis.