Results tagged ‘ Omar Infante ’
Omar Infante is back in Detroit, but is nowhere near a return to the Tigers. He’s at Comerica Park awaiting an examination on his left ankle, which gave him trouble again Thursday night during his rehab assignment for Class A West Michigan.
Infante said he felt fine at the plate, but felt pain — not soreness, but pain — in his ankle when he tried to to accelerate on the basepaths after getting on base. He also felt some pain pushing off in the field.
“It’s pain, same is in the past,” Infante said.
The Tigers are giving no timetable on an Infante return. At this point, they’re going to have to focus on simply getting him healthy and then move from there. Infante is thinking it might take a while.
“I think maybe one more week, two more weeks,” he said.
As for Darin Downs, he came out of his rehab inning at West Michigan last night feeling fine. The lefty will pick up his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo, likely pitching Sunday night. Again, there’s no timetable saying that one more rehab outing should do it, but it sounds like he’s getting close. The Mud Hens are home through next week, so the Tigers have ample time to get him ready.
The Tigers sent out Omar Infante on rehab at low Class A West Michigan saying he’d spend a couple days with the Whitecaps and then be re-evaluated after that. Infante’s self-evaluations sounds like he’s going to need more time than that.
Thursday marked Infante’s first game at second base since Colby Rasmus’ takeout slide caught him in the left shin and ankle July 3 at Toronto. The ankle was originally seen as the secondary injury compared to the huge bruise on his shin, but the ankle was slow to heal and has proven slow to get back to game shape.
Infante played four innings at second on Thursday, going 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout and one play in the field, before being replaced.
The ground ball he fielded apparently brought back the ankle issues that have slowed his rehab the last week and a half.
“I’m feeling a lot of pain in my ankle right now,” Infante told MLive.com. “I’m taking the ground ball, and I was feeling it a lot.”
Infante will be re-evaluated in Detroit on Friday. Even if he checks out all right, it remains to be seen when he’ll resume his rehab assignment.
Infante wasn’t the only Tiger on rehab with the Whitecaps Thursday. Darin Downs needed just 10 pitches to retire the side in order in the sixth inning. The results were nice, but they came against a side of Class A hitters. The more important thing will be how his shoulder feels afterward.
The Tigers had been hoping they avoided serious injury with Omar Infante after Colby Rasmus’ takeout slide last week in Toronto. It just wasn’t the injury they were expecting.
After six days of waiting and hoping for a return, Detroit placed its second baseman on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained left ankle. The move is retroactive to last Thursday, the day after Rasmus slid into Infante’s left leg in Toronto trying to break up a double play.
By backdating the move, the Tigers could bring back Infante as soon as next Friday for their first game out of the All-Star break. Before they do that, though, he’s going to have to make progress from an ankle injury that has proven more serious than initially thought.
The more severe injury to Infante out of the collision was a bruised left shin, which left him on crutches immediately afterwards. Infante also felt part of the impact on his ankle, but didn’t believe it to be a major issue.
While the shin healed up within a few days, the ankle hasn’t gotten any better. He hasn’t been able to hit off a tee, let alone run on it, which led the team medical staff to have him undergo an MRI exam Tuesday in Detroit.
“I did some light running [Monday], but it wasn’t easy,” Infante said late Monday night. “I can’t run or jog. I can’t do nothing.”
Infante has been an underrated presence in the Tigers offense despite hitting near the bottom of the order most nights. His .309 batting average ranks third among AL second basemen to go with 18 doubles, six home runs, 27 RBIs and 38 runs scored.
Utility infielder Ramon Santiago has filled in better than expected in his place, providing a key two-RBI single Friday in Cleveland, but is 4-for-20 in five starts during Infante’s absence.
The DL move opened the opportunity for infield prospect Hernan Perez to get the call from Double-A Erie to fill in for the week, giving the 22-year-old speedster a taste of the Majors for a week without much pressure. Already a well-regarded defender, Perez earned an Eastern League All-Star selection with a breakout season at the plate, entering Tuesday with a .300 average, 28 doubles, four home runs and 35 RBIs in 86 games. He has stolen 24 bases in 31 attempts, three off his career best from last season.
Miguel Cabrera is finally getting the respect he deserves in All-Star balloting. He not only has lapped his competition at third base on the American League ballot, he currently leads all AL players in votes.
The first balloting update, released Monday, shows how much Cabrera’s Triple Crown season in 2012 and record-setting pace in 2013 have vaulted him among the game’s biggest stars. Cabrera has 1,500,165 votes, double that of Baltimore’s Manny Machado among AL third basemen and about 265,000 more than Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano for the AL’s top vote-getter.
Cabrera’s lone All-Star start in his career came in 2010 as an injury replacement for Justin Morneau at first base. He has six other All-Star appearances as a reserve, including the last two seasons as a Tiger.
The only other Tiger in line to start as of Monday’s balloting update is Torii Hunter, third among AL outfielders with 761,937 votes. He holds a slim leads over Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, while looking up at Angels sensation Mike Trout and Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.
Prince Fielder is at serious risk of losing his starting spot at first base thanks to Chris Davis’ amazing start and a strong showing by Orioles fans at the ballot box. Though Fielder topped the million-vote mark already at 1,059,300, he trails Davis by just under 117,000 votes.
The potential snub could be at shortstop, where Jhonny Peralta’s hot start earned him just a third-place showing behind Texas’ Elvis Andrus and O’s counterpart J.J. Hardy. However, shortstop is shaping up to be one of the tightest races on the AL ballot this year, with about 187,000 votes separating Peralta from Andrus’ leading total.
Omar Infante’s quietly strong season has him ranked fourth among AL second basemen with 417,333 votes. Victor Martinez, despite his slow start, ranks fifth among designated hitters with 340,967 votes, about 675,000 behind Boston’s David Ortiz.
Among the surprises with last week’s unveiling of the World Baseball Classic provisional rosters was only two Tigers on Team Venezuela. It wasn’t as big of a surprise as, say, no Tigers on Team USA, but Detroit had candidates beyond Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez. Omar Infante, in particular, was much rumored for a spot on the club. The one obstacle was the fact that the Venezuelan infield is pretty stacked.
Whether something has changed is up in the air. A tweet from the man in charge of the Venezuela baseball federation suggested Infante is joining the squad.
Omar Infante hasta ahora el jugador 21 al WBCI. Esperamos la incorporación de los otros 7 para presentar oficialmente el equipo.
— Edwin Zerpa Pizzorno (@EdwinZerpa_FVB) January 21, 2013
I double checked with two baseball writers in Venezuela, and they both said it’s legit, that Infante will be the 21st player on the roster (their provisional roster had just 20).
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Monday afternoon that while there have been rumors it would happen, there’s nothing official yet. At this point, that might just be a matter of time.
One potential reason for the delay might have been Infante’s offseason recovery from the left wrist injury he suffered in Game 4 of the World Series. He was reportedly cleared to begin playing winter ball for Caribes de Anzoategui last week, and he’s on track to be ready for full work in Spring Training.
A report from the Venezuelan sports publication Lider en Deportes suggested Infante could play some outfield in the World Baseball Classic, a throwback to his younger days as a superutility player before he became an everyday second baseman again a couple years ago. That, however, is way unofficial, and it could depend on the rest of Venezuela’s infield. Pablo Sandoval was reportedly hospitalized with colitis, but rejoined his winter league team a few days ago.
For all practical purposes, Jim Leyland’s question over whether to bunt the potential winning run over to second base in the ninth inning Thursday was academic, since the signal never got to Ramon Santiago at the plate and Santiago swung away. Still, Leyland said, the question over whether to go for the win or tie the game stuck with him all night.
He had a different conclusion today than he did yesterday.
“I thought about it all night, and I came to the conclusion I [messed] up one thing: I should have never even thought about bunting Santiago,” Leyland said.
He didn’t change his thoughts on how the inning played out from there. With no outs, he was not going to call for a squeeze bunt, nor was he going to have Omar Infante try to steal second and risk a line drive double play.
“Not with nobody out,” Leyland said. “If he hits a line drive, it’s a double play. In fact, if I had sent him with Santiago, it would’ve been a double play. First and third, nobody out, for the most part, no matter who’s hitting, you’ll very rarely see me send a guy, because a ground ball, you get the run.”
Nor was he going to use either of the two hitters on the bench, Delmon Young, or Jeff Baker to pinch-hit in that situation.
“All we needed was contact, anywhere on the ground. Contact, or fly ball, contact anywhere, and we get the tying run in,” Leyland said. “And I was worried about the strikeout, because that guy’s real nasty. …
“The funny part about it was I had Delmon Young ready to pinch-hit, but as the inning played [out], it played totally different than what I needed him to pinch-hit for. I was only going to pinch-hit for him if there was like two outs and nobody on, because it was Avila, Infante and Santiago. With two out, nobody on, I was going to let him take a shot at maybe hitting a homer. But [not] after all we needed was a ground ball or a fly ball.”
The big regret, he said, was thinking about having Santiago bunt, and planting the idea in Santiago’s head beforehand that they might call for the bunt.
“When he went up there, I said look for this first pitch to hit, just like he did to Infante. We didn’t bunt, but I knew he’d lay something in there thinking we were bunting. And I told Santi the same thing. Well, he took the first pitch, and I was actually trying to get the bunt on, which we didn’t. But I should’ve just let him [hit], because I told him afterwards that he might bunt.
“We had the tying run. If he just hits a ground ball or a fly ball or anything, we’ve got the tying run. I should’ve just let him think about hitting all the way, not even mention bunt. Because if he gets the run in with a fly ball, you’ve still got a guy on first. You’ve got Berry hitting. You’ve got Dirks coming up. You might hit and run, you might do something. I mean, we had the tie right there. If he hits a ground ball to second [for a] double play, we’ve got the game tied. I shouldn’t have even been thinking bunt. That’s where I messed up.”
Miguel Cabrera doesn’t look for many pitches to pull, and he says that was the case with his at-bat against Indians closer Chris Perez. Yet all four of his hits off Perez in eight career meetings have gone to left field, including the walkoff home run that completed a five-run 10th inning for a 10-8 win Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.
“I was looking for one pitch to drive the other way, try to hit it hard to the gap,” Cabrera said. “But he fell behind in the count, 3-1, so I was saying stay aggressive and try to hit it hard.”
Asked if he thought the ball was headed out, Cabrera said, “Oh, it was a little scary. It was high. I was not sure it was getting out, but I’m glad it went out.”
Other quotes from the win …
Austin Jackson on Chris Perez: “We haven’t really had too much success off of him. But that just shows what type of team we have. We kept battling even though we were down. Miggy’s been coming up with the clutch hits all year. That was incredible.”
Infante on his hit: “I feel bad because when Jackson made the triple [in the ninth], I had the opportunity for a walkoff and I don’t make contact in that situation. It didn’t work out. But the team was never down all game. I had another situation, and in that situation I wanted to make contact. [Perez] threw me a slider and I made contact to center field. That’s why I feel good. I made a base hit in that situation to tie the game.”
Infante on the win: “Oh, wow. I think that’s the best win I’ve ever seen. With two outs, a good pitcher, that’s the best win I’ve seen.”
Perez on the loss: “That’s what makes this so much worse, the fight that our hitters showed. Obviously, everybody knows we’re playing bad ball and this has been a terrible road trip. But to keep coming back, adding one on, and keep coming back, adding one on, put three up in extra innings, and then watch me [give] it away, it just sucks.”
A year ago at this point, the Tigers considered Jacob Turner just about untouchable.
Six months ago, the Tigers wouldn’t have traded Turner straight-up for Matt Garza, let alone in a package for Garza, as one talent evaluator famously said.
Tonight’s lesson: A half-season can change perceptions. A lot. It’s not the high regard for Turner around baseball that changed (OK, it changed a little, but he’s still highly regarded) so much as the Tigers’ situation to deal him.
When the Tigers refused to offer up Turner to the Cubs last winter, they considered him a potential front-runner for the fifth starter’s job. The competition in Spring Training was his to win, though Drew Smyly was a darkhorse candidate.
You know the rest. By the middle of camp, Turner was shelved with shoulder tendinitis, and Smyly was pitching his way into a job in Detroit. By mid-May, Smyly was looking like the most promising young pitcher the Tigers had. And the Tigers could at least envision their rotation without Turner down the road.
Does that justify trading Turner in a package for soon-to-be-free-agent starter Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante? Not necessarily. But it justifies the Tigers changing their stance on listening to offers on Turner.
The thing to consider is the rotation as a whole. Justin Verlander is under contract through 2014, which is also the same amount of time Max Scherzer has before he’s eligible for free agency. Doug Fister and Rick Porcello aren’t eligible for free agency until 2015. Yes, Turner takes a future starter — potentially a front-line one — out of the system, but health permitting, the Tigers might not have a pressing need for one for a while. Even if Sanchez bolts as a free agent this winter, Smyly could simply slot back in.
It won’t be cheap to keep that rotation together. Traditionally, the time to talk contract with top starters is two years out from free agency, not one, so this winter might be the time for the Tigers to talk with Verlander and his agent to feel out the chances for a contract extension. Porcello and Scherzer are both going to become increasingly expensive through arbitration, and Fister’s eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.
Smyly, though, gives them one good young arm. Dombrowski also pointed to Casey Crosby, whose future as a starter or reliever might have just been answered.
“We do feel we have a couple of young starters who are there in Smyly and Casey Crosby, so we do have a little bit of depth in that area,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said on Monday night’s conference call.
Andy Oliver is also still at Toledo, though it’s hard to say if he’ll ever put things together to be considered a big-league starter again.
Depending on how next summer’s draft unfolds, too, the draft pick the Tigers acquired from Florida at the end of the first round could turn into another starting prospect.
Does that justify making this deal? Not necessarily. But if Monday’s reports about the Ryan Dempster trade are true, that the Cubs would get Braves pitching prospect Randall Delgado in return, then the price tag for pitching on the market just went up.
If the Tigers had gone back to the Cubs and packaged Turner with a prospect (say, Brantly) for Matt Garza, they might have pulled it off. But they still would’ve needed a second baseman, and they would’ve had less to offer. They would’ve had Garza for an extra year, but they wouldn’t have had a second baseman.
As for Brantly, Dombrowski said, “We’ve still got a young starting catcher in Alex Avila. You aren’t going to have both of them in the organization at some point, because you usually aren’t going to have two left-handed hitting catchers at the Major League level.”
The Tigers’ depth at catcher in their system helps. The fact that Brantly was regarded as the best of the bunch, far and away better offensively, doesn’t.
Ultimately, what Sanchez does down the stretch — the fact that he has never pitched in the American League makes this part interesting — will go a long way towards determining whether this trade was worth it. How Turner does in the coming years will determine the rest. In the end, though, you can at least see the Tigers rotation without Turner a little easier than you could six months ago.
Does that mean Nick Castellanos could be expendable soon? Hard to see that happening, unless the Tigers suddenly shore up their outfield for years to come. That’s one factor. The fact that owner Mike Ilitch loves star players, and Castellanos has both the game and the personality to become a star, is another.