Results tagged ‘ Robbie Weinhardt ’
It’s the second home game of the season, the day when the Tigers start to really settle into a routine at Comerica Park. For Casper Wells, however, it’s Opening Day. The last Tigers position player to get a start is in the lineup today, getting the start against lefty Bruce Chen.
Look for some more creativity if the Tigers take a lead into the seventh inning. Leyland is looking for six innings or so out of Phil Coke, and both Brayan Villarreal and Daniel Schlereth are off today since they pitched teh last couple days. Could be a spot for Robbie Weinhardt to get his first appearance, or it could be a day for Leyland to mix and match Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez again. We’ll see.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Will Rhymes, 2B
- Magglio Ordonez, DH
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B
- Victor Martinez, C
- Ryan Raburn, LF
- Jhonny Peralta, SS
- Brandon Inge, 3B
- Casper Wells, RF
P: Phil Coke
- Chris Getz, 2B
- Melky Cabrera, CF
- Alex Gordon, LF
- Billy Butler, DH
- Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
- Jeff Francoeur, RF
- Wilson Betemit, 3B
- Brayan Pena, C
- Alcides Escobar, SS
P: Bruce Chen
The Tigers’ first DL move of the regular season wasn’t anything expected. Detroit placed Ryan Perry on the 15-day DL on Thursday, retroactive to Tuesday, with an infected eye. Robbie Weinhardt, one of the last cuts of Spring Training, has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take his place.
Weinhardt was already in Toledo for the Mud Hens season opener. He’ll be in Baltimore for tonight’s series finale against the Orioles.
What that means for the Tigers’ seventh-inning relief options might take a little longer to sort out. Manager Jim Leyland had Phil Coke available for the first four games, but he’s now back in starter mode ahead of his turn in the rotation Saturday against the Royals.
Weinhardt could be an option, as could left-handers Daniel Schlereth and Brad Thomas. As Leyland said a couple days ago, somebody needs to step up. The only difference now is that Perry isn’t an option for a couple weeks.
The latest round of Tigers cuts came this morning, and it included two pretty big surprises. Scott Sizemore and Robbie Weinhardt are headed to Triple-A Toledo, along with Clete Thomas. Fu-Te Ni and Max St. Pierre were assigned to minor league camp. The moves whittle Detroit’s roster to 28 players, with three more moves needing to be made by the time the Tigers break camp next Tuesday.
The original plan for the Tigers’ September callups was that nobody was probably coming up until Triple-A Toledo’s season ended on Labor Day. There just isn’t much depth left in the farm system. However, Jeremy Bonderman’s rib cage muscle issues might have put a little more urgency in the works. The team announced Tuesday that right-handed reliever Robbie Weinhardt will be recalled Wednesday, the first day rosters can be expanded.
The Tigers sent down Weinhardt a couple weeks ago to work on his slider to go with his sinker. In general, manager Jim Leyland said at the time, his stuff was “up, up, up, up, up.” He has six innings with the Mud Hens since then, allowing an unearned runs on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Detroit had to go short in the bullpen when Alfredo Figaro made a spot start for Bonderman over the weekend. The Tigers haven’t announced their rotation for next weekend at Kansas City, so we don’t know yet whether Figaro will have to start for Bonderman again on Friday.
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Tigers’ catcher of the future will be their backup catcher of the present. Alex Avila will open the season in the big leagues, the Tigers decided Tuesday morning.
The move became official Tuesday morning once the team assigned veteran backup catcher Robinzon Diaz to minor league camp. Avila received the call from his father, Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila, Monday night over dinner.
The Tigers also optioned shortstop Brent Dlugach to Triple-A Toledo. Infielder/outfielder Jeff Larish and relievers Josh Rainwater and Robbie Weinhardt were assigned to minor league camp. The moves reduce the Tigers’ roster to 27 players; they have until Sunday to finalize their 25-man roster, but are expected to do that within the next day or two.
The moves with Dlugach and Larish leave the battle for the final positional roster spot down to utilityman Don Kelly and outfielder Clete Thomas. That decision could come in the next 24 hours. The one decision left after that is the pitching staff, where Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson are battling for the final two spots in the rotation.
For the backup catching spot, the choice was essentially a decision on Avila, who has had only one full season as a pro after converting to catcher a few years ago at the University of Alabama. Avila started at DH Monday against the Blue Jays and went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in what should be his final action before he finds out where he’ll open the season. The Tigers know he can hit in the big leagues, and his .394 average this spring hasn’t disappointed.
The Tigers had to make their best judgment whether he was better off catching a couple days per week in Detroit behind starter Gerald Laird or catching every day at Toledo.
Diaz was essentially the backup option if the Tigers chose the latter.
Avila spent the final two months last season with the Tigers and provided an offensive boost with his left-handed power bat. However, he caught only sparingly in September behind Laird, whose defense and game-calling skills made him a regular option despite his offensive struggles last year.
Laird has shown strong signs of being a better hitter this spring, but the Tigers still value Avila for his bat. He’ll also likely work on his catching on the side in Detroit.
Two of the three rotation candidates start Tuesday. While Jeremy Bonderman starts in a Triple-A game at Tigertown, Dontrelle Willis will be with the big club facing the Orioles Tuesday afternoon in Sarasota, Fla. It’ll be his first road start this spring, and it’ll be a good test if the Tigers needed it in their decisions.
Nate Robertson is scheduled to make his final spring tuneup Thursday against the Braves at Joker Marchant Stadium. By then, the decision will most likely have been made. What happens with the guy who doesn’t make the rotation, whoever that is, is another matter.
Yes, you’ve probably heard this before, but this time Jim Leyland has basically told Jeremy Bonderman that he needs the splitter as a third pitch if he’s going to be an effective pitcher.
“I talked to Bondo last night,” Leyland said Saturday morning. “With the equipment he has right now. I think he needs to become a three-pitch pitcher. He can’t pitch like he did before, throwing 95, 94 [mph]. He needs to use the three pitches to be effective. I think he can do that.”
That makes a difference how? Consider Bonderman’s comments after his first outing of the spring against the Blue Jays:
“I’ve got to throw it,” Bonderman said on March 3. “If I want to be any good,
I’ve got to take risks. I’m not going to go out there and just use what
I know works all the time. To be successful and have a full year, I
want that other pitch. If someone beats me out for the fifth spot,
fourth spot, whatever it is, then good for them.”
Now here are his comments four days later, after he was knocked out in the second inning:
“I don’t have a job,” Bonderman said. “Shoot, there’s five guys fighting for two jobs, maybe six guys. I don’t know exactly, but there’s enough guys fighting for them. [There's] nothing in stone that it’s my spot. Until [Leyland] comes up to me and says, ‘It’s your job,’ I don’t think I have a job. Just because you’re under contract doesn’t mean anything. I haven’t played in two years. I just need to get more consistent and get ahead in the count.”
Now, if Bonderman is feeling like he has to get ahead in counts and fight for a job, how much is he going to focus on working on a third pitch?
That’s where Leyland’s remarks make a difference. Ideally, they’re reassurance.
“I think guys are trying what they think is their best shot to make the team,” Leyland said Saturday morning.
Other items of interest from Saturday:
- If Ramon Santiago looked a little faster running out his triple on Saturday, there’s a reason. He spent a good amount of time in the offseason doing workouts designed to help his quickness, including instruction from a former Cuban track and field coach now living in the Dominican. He also has worked with new coach Tom Brookens on how to hit the bases on the inside and get around quicker. He thinks he can steal some bases if the team asks him, but more important, he feels he can go from first to third on more hits to set up easy RBI chances.
- Leyland reiterated what he has said about young lefty Daniel Schlereth so far: Good stuff, but a little inconsistent. Then he added this: A person he respects from another organization said he felt Schlereth had the best left-hander he saw all year in 2009. Wouldn’t say who it was.
- Robbie Weinhardt is still in camp, albeit a long shot by Leyland’s admission to make the roster. Still, Leyland believes he isn’t far off. “He’s a good breaking ball from being a Major League pitcher right now,” Leyland said. “He has a true big-time sinker, but he needs to do more with his breaking ball.”
- Today was a quick day back at work after being off Thursday and Friday. I’ll be off again Sunday. Always fun to get a break hanging out and watching March Madness. It’s one of those few sporting events where you can talk about a banker, an IT guy and a garbageman walking into a sports bar and not have it be the start of a joke.
Jason Beck / MLB.com
Tigers second-round draft pick Andrew Oliver made his pro debut Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League and took the loss for the Peoria Javelinas with a four-run third inning.
Oliver, the left-hander the Tigers drafted out of Oklahoma State, replaced Javelinas starter and fellow Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker, who gave up a run on a hit — a Brandon Laird RBI single — in two innings. A leadoff single and back-to-back walks — one on four pitches, the next on five — loaded the bases on Oliver. He fell behind on a 3-1 count to left-handed hitting Mets prospect Ike Davis, who got a fastball on the inside part of the plate and pulled it out to right for a grand slam.
Oliver retired the side from there, finishing with a 29-pitch inning. Tigers relief prospect Robbie Weinhardt came in later and gave up five runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings.
Casper Wells went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Cale Iorg had an RBI single.