Results tagged ‘ Ivan Rodriguez ’

Pudge on Leyland: "He's a great person"

pudgeleyland.jpgAfter Jim Leyland suggested Thursday that he cares for Pudge despite the disagreements that they had, Pudge acknowledged as such  and said it was an emotional conversation they had when he was traded.

“I love him, man. He’s a great person,” Rodriguez said Friday. “I think that the little things that we have, I think it was for the best. He taught me a lot of things. I have no complaints.

“When I got traded [last] July, it was a surprise, because I thought I was going to be there until the end of the season. When that happened, he called me to the office and wished me the best. He almost cried when he talked to me. For me, that’s something I’ll never forget. He talked to me as if I was his son when that happened. And that was the end.

“In the offseason, he called me to say hello. He called me when I signed with Houston to congratulate me. And then a couple of days ago, I called him to tell him I looked forward to seeing him here in Houston. He’s a great person, great manager. It was an honor for me to play for him for three years. In the three years I played for him, he taught me a lot.”

Leyland talked to Rodriguez at a time when not many teams were calling. It was a difficult offseason for him waiting to find a team, believing he could still play and knowing he had to convince a team. In that sense, this season should feel like redemption for him, proof that he can still play as a regular catcher in the Major Leagues.

pudgemagglio.jpg“It was tough, free agency,” he said. “But at the same time, I’ve got great support from my wife, my family, my kids. I’ve got a brother that keeps me in good shape, throwing me batting practice, working out with my trainer again. It was a tough free agency, but at the same time, I was just waiting for the opportunity. And Houston gave me the opportunity. I’m here and playing, pretty much playing every day. I’m feeling great.

“Physically, I’m feeling good. Mentally, I’m feeling great. And I love what I do. When you love what to do, you have to keep doing it. Basically, that’s how I feel.”

He still believes in what he said last year, that he can play until he’s 40. He has the ability, he said, and he has the will to do, even now that the record for games caught is his.

“This is a great sport,” he said. “It’s an unbelievable thing to do, to play something that you love and be able to play for 18 years. But I still have a lot left. I’m still only 37. I’m not that old in this game. Everybody has to remember that my first game was when I was 19. It seems like I’ve been in baseball for a long time, but basically, I came up to the big leagues at a very young age.

“Physically, I feel great. Age doesn’t bother me at all. I’m feeling great physically and mentally. As long as I feel like this, I go out and do the best that I can do.”

He has another goal left in his mind: He wants a chance at 3,000 hits. He’s a little more than 340 hits away at this point, so it would take more than another full year for him to get there.

“That’s a goal,” he said. “I’m not too far away. I can do that. I have to take one at-bat a time, just keep doing what I’m doing, just try to put the ball in play.”

He’d like to do that with the Astros, but he’s willing to move on if need be. All the while, he continues to track the Tigers.

“I still follow them,” he said. “I see Brandon Inge has a different batting stance, and it works. Miggy, he’s talented, and he’s always killing the ball. They’re doing great. Justin is dealing. He’s pitching great. Jackson is pitching. I always pay attention to Detroit. I love those guys. The organization was great. I spent 4 1/2 very good years. Great group of people.”

Thames in left, Magglio in right

Just got back from the Astros clubhouse at Minute Maid Park and a good chat with Pudge, who looks and sounds rejuvenated a bit here in Houston. Look for highlights of that on the blog a little later tonight.

As for the game, you’ll see in the lineup that Marcus Thames is in left. Jim Leyland said he had weighed starting him or Ryan Raburn, but wanted to put in Thames for the quick at some quick offense against Wandy Rodriguez. Magglio, meanwhile, is back in right.

As for Curtis Granderson, he said he isn’t as worried about the hill in center field as he is about playing the short dimensions in left. Keep in mind, the Tigers played two games here at the end of Spring Training last year.

TIGERS

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

ASTROS

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jeff Keppinger, 3B
  3. Miguel Tejada, SS
  4. Carlos Lee, LF
  5. Lance Berkman, 1B
  6. Hunter Pence, RF
  7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
  8. Kazuo Matsui, 2B
  9. Wandy Rodriguez, P

Wednesday: Cardinals at Tigers

Leyland said before the game that he doesn’t want to run Pudge into the ground behind the plate now that Inge is on the DL, but he’s going to have to play him more than he probably wants to play him. He plans to catch Dane Sardinha on Thursday, but don’t expect this day-on, day-off pattern that Inge and Pudge had going.

TIGERS (36-40)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, 3B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Thames, LF
  7. Sheffield, DH
  8. Renteria, SS
  9. Rodriguez, C

CARDINALS (45-33)

  1. Skip Schumaker, RF
  2. Aaron Miles, 2B
  3. Rick Ankiel, CF
  4. Troy Glaus, 3B
  5. Chris Duncan, LF
  6. Yadier Molina, C
  7. Adam Kennedy, 1B (Pujols could be back Thurs.)
  8. Nick Stavinoha, DH
  9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Pudge catches again

That’s the second straight game for Ivan Rodriguez, of course, breaking the alternating string that Leyland had going with Pudge and Brandon Inge. Don’t throw out that plan just yet, though. Leyland said he’s worried that Inge is still bothered by that left oblique, and he wanted to give him an extra day.

“I’ll catch him tomorrow if he’s right,” Leyland said of Inge, “but I’m a little worried.”

You’ll also notice Granderson in center against Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez. All things being equal, Leyland probably would’ve sat Granderson today, but he wanted his regular CF in there to deal with the winds on fly balls here at AT&T Park.

Here’s the full lineup:

TIGERS (32-38)

  1. Renteria, SS
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Guillen, 3B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Thames, LF
  7. Rodriguez, C
  8. Granderson, CF
  9. Rogers, P

GIANTS (31-40)

  1. Fred Lewis, LF
  2. Ray Durham, 2B
  3. Randy Winn, RF
  4. Bengie Molina, C
  5. Aaron Rowand, CF
  6. Rich Aurilia, 3B
  7. John Bowker, 1B
  8. Emmanuel Burriss, SS
  9. Jonathan Sanchez, P

As I type this right now, the Giants are taking batting practice to the sounds of the White Stripes. Surprising how you hear more White Stripes on the road.

Catching rotation continues

Jim Leyland said after Tuesday’s game that he planned on catching Inge Wednesday regardless of what Pudge did behind the plate, and he stuck to that. Inge is back behind the plate tonight for Justin Verlander, while Rodriguez gets another day to rest up. With a day game coming up Thursday, it might’ve made sense even if they weren’t rotating every other game, though Rodriguez is 10-for-26 lifetime against Javier Vazquez.

TIGERS (27-37)

  1. Granderson, CF
  2. Polanco, 2B (15-for-43 lifetime vs. Vazquez)
  3. Guillen, 3B
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Larish, DH
  7. Renteria, SS
  8. Thames, LF (0-for-8 career vs. Vazquez)
  9. Inge, C

WHITE SOX (37-27)

  1. Orlando Cabrera, SS
  2. A.J. Pierzynski, C
  3. Carlos Quentin, LF
  4. Jim Thome, DH
  5. Jermaine Dye, RF
  6. Joe Crede, 3B
  7. Nick Swisher, 1B
  8. Alexei Ramirez, 2B
  9. Brian Anderson, CF

The Tigers bullpen should be at just about full strength tonight. Aquilino Lopez has returned from the Dominican, and he’s available. So is Freddy Dolsi, though that might only be in an emergency.

Inge, Pudge to alternate at catcher

Brandon Inge is in the lineup today behind the plate, and according to Jim Leyland, he’s going to be there every other game. He wants to get more rest for Pudge, he said, but he also alluded to need to catch Inge some more.

“Inge needs to catch,” Leyland said. “He needs to catch some. We need to find out if he can do it.”

Leyland did not say how long he’d be going with this setup. And when asked if next season had anything to do with it, Leyland said, “We’re putting the cart before the horse. We’re getting way ahead here.”

Still, with Rodriguez a free agent at season’s end, you can see something coming.

Anyway, here’s the lineup:

TIGERS (26-36)

  1. Renteria, SS (de facto leadoff vs. LHP for now)
  2. Polanco, 2B
  3. Thames, DH
  4. Ordonez, RF
  5. Cabrera, 1B
  6. Guillen, 3B
  7. Inge, C
  8. Clevlen, LF
  9. Granderson, CF

INDIANS (28-35)

  1. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
  2. Ben Francisco, LF
  3. Victor Martinez, 1B
  4. Ryan Garko, DH
  5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  6. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  7. Casey Blake, 3B
  8. Kelly Shoppach, C
  9. Josh Barfield, 2B

Wrapping up postgame issues

Pudge said he decided to let the ball drop after he didn’t see Orlando Hudson running down the first-base line. Had he seen Hudson pass him, he said, he would’ve caught the ball. Both Leyland and Rodriguez said it was a risk, partly because it was somewhat close to foul territory and they could’ve given away an out, but it was a heady play.

The socks-up look was apparently Edgar Renteria’s idea. He went around to players and suggested that they do it, according to a couple different players.

You probably know this by now, but that’s their first win this season when scoring less than five runs in a game. Last time was last Sept. 15 in a 4-3 win at Minnesota over Johan Santana and the Twins.

Players hold pregame meeting

It’s very odd for players to meet prior to a day game after a night game (at least around the Tigers clubhouse, it is), but apparently it was a spur of the moment decision on the players’ part to bring everybody together as soon as the players on the later bus arrived at the park. There weren’t many details afterwards, but one player said the focus was to get guys to relax a little and do what they’re capable of instead of trying to be a superhero out there. It did not appear to be a tense meeting by any stretch, because the players were very loose and in a pretty good mood when the clubhouse opened up afterwards. But these guys have done a pretty good job of not carrying the previous day’s frustrations into the next day.

A couple lineup switches for the day game after the night game, but Leyland said those were more about getting Ramon Santiago and Brandon Inge a day in the lineup than giving Ivan Rodriguez and Edgar Renteria a day off. After all, they had back-to-back days off Sunday and Monday.

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

The Royals give Alex Gordon, David DeJesus, Mark Grudzielanek and John Buck the day off, but Jose Guillen is still in there. Keep an eye on Alberto Callaspo, who made his name as a very exciting player on Miguel Cabrera’s winter ball team and in the Caribbean Series:

  1. Joey Gathright, CF
  2. Esteban German,3B
  3. Billy Butler, 1B
  4. Jose Guillen, DH
  5. Miguel Olivo, C
  6. Mark Teahen, RF
  7. Alberto Callaspo, 2B
  8. Ross Gload, LF
  9. T.J. Pena, SS

As a footnote, Jacque Jones passed through waivers and was released this afternoon. He’s now a free agent who can sign with any team he chooses who wants him, including the Florida Marlins.

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