Results tagged ‘ Scott Sizemore ’

Shooting down the Sizemore rumor

If the Tigers are looking to upgrade at second base, as one unnamed official from another club was quoted as saying in a published piece on Spring Training trade rumors, it’s news to them, including the guy in charge of trades. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Sunday morning that the rumor was “absolutely not true,” and that the Tigers have been happy with Sizemore this spring.

The only question on Sizemore going into the final week of Spring Training is whether he hits seventh or eighth. For that matter, the rest of the Tigers starting lineup is set.

“A lot of clubs have been calling on our pitching,” Dombrowski said. “But as far as Scott Sizemore, we’re happy.”

Saturday: Tigers split squads vs. Yankees, at Mets

Marchant Stadium.jpgThe Tigers split up today for the first time this spring. Two games, two different parts of the state, two different broadcasts. I’m at the home game against the split-squad Yankees, which is on WXYT in Detroit and MLB Gameday Audio online starting at 1:05. The other game is the 1:10 matchup against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, which is being broadcast in New York. That game is on MLB.TV as well as Gameday Audio.

The home game, as expected, has Brandon Inge in the starting lineup at third base for the first time all spring. Dontrelle Willis will make the start as originally planned before Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson get in their innings that they lost with Friday’s rainout.

The top of the batting order looks funny for two reasons. First, Jim Leyland talked a couple days ago about moving Scott Sizemore higher up in the order to get him the chance at an extra at-bat without wearing him down and overtaxing his ankle. Second, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen are with the other split squad today.

TIGERS

  1. Sizemore, 2B
  2. Damon, DH (clean-shaven, looks like the beard isn’t happening)
  3. Jackson, CF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Thomas, RF
  6. Raburn, LF
  7. Laird, C
  8. Inge, 3B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson

YANKEES

  1. Derek Jeter, SS
  2. Nick Swisher, RF
  3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Marcus Thames, LF
  6. Francisco Cervelli, C
  7. Jamie Hoffman, CF
  8. David Winfree, DH
  9. Eduardo Nunez, 2B

P: Chad Gaudin

No return to Lakeland today for Curtis Granderson. He’s with the Yankees’ other split squad back in Tampa to face the Orioles.

Thursday postgame: Busy day for Sizemore

sizemore031110.jpgSome days, the timing just works out well for a story. Before Thursday’s game against the Phillies, manager Jim Leyland said that Scott Sizemore’s situation “is really an issue right now,” Sizemore got a peppering of ground balls behind Justin Verlander in the game. He got to some of them, including a Placido Polanco-esque sliding stop and throw behind first base to rob Brian Schneider (thanks to Getty Images for the photo at right), and he couldn’t get to others. The bigger point is that he didn’t really look hobbled, and he came out of it fine.

“Everything went real well today,” Sizemore said afterwards. “Tons of balls hit in my direction, had to try to get to all of them. Yeah, it felt pretty good. I had to go both ways. There were a couple hit in the middle, a couple hit in the hole. It felt good. My angles [of approach] weren’t quite right for my range, but I’m not far off, maybe just a step off.”

It was a good day for Sizemore’s ankle, but they won’t all be like that. He’ll have days when it probably isn’t feeling good. He accepts that. It seems to be something that worries Leyland a bit, though.

“I have to watch that thing,” Leyland said of Sizemore’s ankle.

In that process, he’s watching how much Sizemore plays each day. The problem with that is that he’s trying to make sure Sizemore gets at-bats.

“If I’m only going to play him five or six innings, I probably should move him up in the lineup so he gets an extra at-bat, which I will do at some point,” Leyland said. “But I’m also trying to get an idea what our lineup’s going to look like. I’m very careful saying it, because I don’t want to put any pressure on him. It’s a little bit of a tough situation. I have to keep him healthy, but I’ve got to get him ready, too.”

He’s living up to his prediction that he’d be watching Sizemore like a hawk.

Sizemore is trying to make the best of the ups and downs.

“I’m hoping the longer it goes, the better it feels the whole time,” Sizemore said. “But I think with any injury like that, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Some days, it’ll be sore, and some days it’ll feel phenomenal. I’m prepared for both, and I know those days when it hurts, it’s just going to have to be gut-check time, really bear down and focus and get the job done.”

Sizemore also had a bit of a baserunning blunder when he doubled off first base on a foul pop-up behind the bag, but Leyland said, “It was just a freak thing.” The wind knocked the ball around, and Sizemore said he thought it was going to fall in fair territory behind the first baseman. Still, both of them said it was probably better to stay on the bag there and give up the force out at second rather than risk the double-play.

Other tidbits:

  • Joel Zumaya gave up a leadoff home run to Raul Ibanez in his lone inning of work, but the wind helped the ball clear the left-field fence. It was one of the few balls that really had help from the wind, because both Verlander and Joe Blanton seemed to be getting a lot of ground balls. Zumaya said he threw about three breaking balls in his outing, and that he’ll probably focus on that pitch rather than his changeup this spring. “The changeup’s going to be banned,” Zumaya said.
  • Thursday was the second straight game Verlander noticed hitters trying to jump his first pitch of an at-bat, because he was so good at first-pitch strikes last year. Don’t be surprised if there’s an adjustment coming.
  • How cool is Johnny Damon? When he noticed the postgame spread came from Burger King, he told the story of how he dressed up as The King (from the commercials) for Halloween a few years ago.
  • Ryan Raburn followed Sizemore at second base today.
  • Lost in the hitting stats is the fact that Jeff Larish, the forgotten man, is 5-for-12 with no strikeouts so far this spring. Leyland said Wednesday he talked with Larish to let him know that they hadn’t forgotten him and to play his game.

Damon not in lineup for Tigers vs. Yankees

It’s a day for reunions here in Lakeland with Curtis Granderson and Johnny Damon against their old clubs. For that matter, it’s also Austin Jackson against his old club. But Damon is not in the starting lineup. He has turf toe in his left big toe, which he said he got from working out at home, but supposedly it’s nothing serious. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Damon received treatment and was much improved, but they wanted to sit him as a precaution. They didn’t want him trying to compensate for the injury and then tweaking something else.

“If it was regular season, I’d be in there,” Damon said. “But it’s not, so …”

Damon is listed on the travel roster going to Clearwater for Thursday’s game against the Phillies, so we’ll see if it’s a lingering concern.

Magglio Ordonez is also out of the lineup. He had a muscle tweak behind his left knee that he suffered in the outfield yesterday against the Nationals. Like Damon, Magglio said he’d be playing if it was regular season.

You’ll also note that Scott Sizemore is back in the lineup after being scratched yesterday in Viera with a sore ankle. Also notable is Jeff Larish’s start at third base.

TIGERS

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Raburn, RF
  3. Strieby, 1B
  4. Cabrera, DH
  5. Guillen, LF
  6. Laird, C
  7. Larish, 3B
  8. Sizemore, 2B
  9. Everett, SS

Sizemore scratched from Tigers lineup

Rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore got an unplanned day off Tuesday when he was a late scratch from the Tigers starting lineup. Manager Jim Leyland said Sizemore had soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle, so Leyland scratched him from the lineup as a precaution. Brent Dlugach started in his place.

Sizemore said a few days ago that his ankle was a little bit sore when he was making the turn on the bases, but that it’s very minor.

UPDATE: Sizemore said the ankle just felt a little weak today, but gave no indication Tuesday that it’s a serious issue.

“No one wants to come out of the game or take themselves out of the lineup when it comes to stuff like that,” he said, “but there are some times when it’s better not to play through it. That’s what happened with my hand. It was bothering me in 2008. I tried to play through it, and I ended up costing myself the rest of the season. That’s one thing I don’t ever want to do again. I’m going to try to be as smart as I can with my body and try to get the most.”

Sizemore expects to play Wednesday against the Yankees. He said the last time he was rested, which was lasted Friday, he “felt like a million bucks” the next day.

Tigers ready for Strasburg

Casper Wells won’t soon forget his first encounter with baseball uberprospect Stephen Strasburg. It came last October in the Arizona Fall League.

“He threw a fastball 98 [mph] on the black, first pitch, actually shattered my bat,” Wells recalled Monday morning. “First pitch I ever saw from him. So I was like, ‘All right, maybe I’ll see a pitch next at-bat, just to gauge the timing a little bit.’ Someone throws an easy 98 in on your hands, you know, it gets there quickly. Maybe I’ll see the ball over the plate.”

Next time up, he somehow saw a hanging curveball and pummeled it for a grand slam, part of a three-homer drubbing the Peoria Javelinas handed Strasburg. He could be in for a rematch on Tuesday, depending on how the matchups turn out.

Strasburg’s first Spring Training start will come against the Tigers, turning an otherwise routine Tigers trip to Space Coast Stadium into a national event. Most likely, he’ll be facing a starting lineup comprised primarily of Tigers regulars, such as Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson. Every pitch will be judged somehow towards his ability to pitch in the big leagues right now.

Wells came to a pretty positive judgment when he saw him last October, despite the damage he gave up.

“He was pretty poised out there on the mound,” Wells said. “That’s one thing I remember. After he gave up home runs, I want to see how he reacted, because our team hit him pretty well. We went out there like, ‘Let’s see what this guy’s all about,’ and our team hit him pretty well. He gave up I think back-to-back home runs, and I wanted to see how he reacted on the mound.

“He was still calm, like he never even gave up a home run, which is good. That shows a lot for his character, especially coming right out, starting your professional career and acting like that. That speaks highly of how you can handle yourself out there, just able to brush it off and his quotes that he made a couple of mistakes, which he did and we were able to capitalize. He’s a good pitcher, from what I saw. I’m sure he’ll be very successful in the big leagues very shortly.”

Wells wasn’t the only Tiger in that game. So was Scott Sizemore, but he wasn’t in there long. He was due up to face Strasburg in the opening inning, but he was injured on a double-play slide that broke his left ankle.

“I’m looking forward to facing him,” Sizemore said. “I can’t wait to see what everybody’s talking about.”

Spring opener: Sizemore sitting

The skies have cleared after an early-morning downpour here in Lakeland, so it looks like it’s game on for the Tigers’ Spring Training opener against Florida Southern. But the field is probably still wet enough — with the chance for more rain later today — that the Tigers are going to play it cautious with second baseman Scott Sizemore and his surgically repaired ankle.

Sizemore said his ankle is getting stronger, but admitted it was a little tender a couple days ago. Still, he said, it’s building in the right direction. It would be a surprise if he wasn’t in the lineup in the next few days.

Here’s the Tigers lineup:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Damon, LF
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Guillen, DH
  6. Kelly, 3B
  7. Laird, C
  8. Santiago, 2B
  9. Everett, SS

P: Phil Coke

Leyland raving about prospects

What began as a drizzly morning here in Lakeland ended up a sun-soaked and warm afternoon, probably the first real sunscreen type of day since spring training began. Very good day for the Tigers to have their first full-squad workout, and manager Jim Leyland’s mood reflected it.

After one full-squad workout — and probably more important, one day of batting practice — Leyland was raving about the prospects the Tigers have coming up in the system.
“I can tell, we’ve got a lot of talent in this camp, down low [in the system] and up high. I mean, it was an eye-opener out there today.”

  • “There’s a lot of prospects, probably the most prospects I’ve ever had in a camp.”

  • “I can assure you that these guys will be in Detroit someday, a lot of them. I don’t know where I’ll be [at that time], but they will be.”

  • “There’s guys hitting balls over trees, way over trees. … When you have veterans doing double-takes to watch a kid hit, that’s usually a pretty good measuring stick.”

Leyland didn’t want to mention prospects by name when he was talking about this, but one can surmise that he was talking about, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells, among others. Wells reported to camp in noticeably strong shape after spending most of the winter working out with Strieby in Arizona at the API training facility. He almost looks like he’s got a linebacker’s build playing outfield.

What does this mean for Detroit? For now, probably nothing. Unless Wells makes a run and takes the CF job from Austin Jackson in camp, most of the hitting talent will be opening in Toledo, which has the chance for a really nice offense if you add in a healthy Jeff Larish and maybe Alex Avila. But keep it in mind as the summer unwinds and the Tigers get closer to next offseason, when Dombrowski suggested the Tigers will make more “adjustments.”

Anyway, on to some notes …

  • Speaking of youngsters, Scott Sizemore did everything that every other infielder did on the first formal workout for position players. He’s still coming along with the ankle, but it isn’t limiting what he can do. No definitive word yet over whether he’ll be able to start at second when games begin in a week, but it’s looking upbeat. “He needs to get at-bats,” Leyland said. “He needs to play second base this spring a lot.”
  • The Tigers designated Casey Fien for assignment to make room for Johnny Damon on the 40-man roster, but Fien isn’t leaving camp just yet. He’s just going across the street. Though he’s technically in limbo until he’s either claimed on waivers, traded or outrighted, he can work out at the Tigers’ minor league facility across the street. The team has invited and encouraged him to do so.
  • In addition to talking with Carlos Guillen about his role, Leyland said he talked with Johnny Damon about his situation and whether he feels more comfortable batting leadoff or hitting second. Damon said he’s fine either way, but that they involve two different approaches. He doesn’t hit for as high of an average or reach base to the same percentage hitting second compared to leadoff, but he can do some other things in his game.
  • Leyland didn’t really want to talk about Ryan Raburn’s situation this morning after just discussing Guillen, but he said in the afternoon that Raburn will work out in the infield as well as the outfield now that full-squad workouts are underway. That’s a change from the offseason, when Leyland said he wanted Raburn to focus on being an outfielder. Raburn and Don Kelly are probably going to see work at basically every position but shortstop, catcher and pitcher this spring.
  • Strieby, by the way, is going to see time at both 1B and OF this spring. He’ll most likely be an outfielder in Toledo as he tries to make the transition away from Miguel Cabrera’s position and into a spot where he could actually see some playing time in Detroit.

Leading off at leadoff: Austin Jackson

What if the Tigers signed Johnny Damon to help out the top of their batting order, and ended up batting rookie Austin Jackson up there anyway?

It’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

Though manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday he still hasn’t written out a set lineup and still doesn’t know what he’ll do with his top two spots, he sounded a little more committed than before to the idea of batting Jackson up top.

Jackson will get the first crack at leading off in Spring Training, as Leyland hinted at before. But he also sounded a little more confident that Jackson fits there.

“I’d like Jackson to lead off, if I could,” Leyland said. “I’m really kind of looking for a two hitter. But I think Jackson — if he’s here, and you’re going to play him some — he’s probably got to lead off. Probably, as we stand right now. But I don’t know that for a fact. We’ll find out.”
Admittedly, when he said that, he wasn’t including Damon in the thought process. As Leyland put it, “I don’t ever anticipate we’re going to get somebody.”

But he sure sounded like he was coming around on Jackson as a fit up there. And he definitely sounded like finding a No. 2 hitter, as the roster stands now, is a tougher decision for him.

“I have to figure out some kind of a two-hole hitter,” Leyland said. “I don’t know how that’s going to work out, unless you change our style of play. You hate to do it, although I think the game’s getting back to it, where the smaller things are meaning more again.

“Maybe you move some runners early on or something with the second hitter. Maybe you don’t just slug it like you do sometimes. Polanco was so good because he could drag a bunt or hit in the hole or hit-and-run or hit a home run. He was a really professional hitter.”

Maybe that’s something rookie Scott Sizemore can do. Maybe it’s something Adam Everett could do. Or maybe, if Johnny Damon does come to Detroit, it’s something he does.

Don’t read Leyland’s comments on the game changing, though, and figure that he’s angling towards it.

“I’m not saying I’m going to do that,” Leyland said. “I don’t want to do that.”

One thing for certain is that both Jackson and Sizemore, as long as they’re healthy, are going to get a lot of playing time this spring. It isn’t just about getting them acclimated to the big leagues as much as you can in Spring Training. It’s about Leyland and the coaching staff seeing them enough to judge them.

“I’ve never been a big Spring Training judge,” Leyland said, “but you have to do what you have to do.”

Sizemore expects to be ready for camp

Scott Sizemore still has some small pins in his left fibula from the surgery he underwent in the fall to repair the fracture from the Arizona Fall League. But he doesn’t have the big pins that were in place to hold everything together.

More importantly, he doesn’t have any hesitation in his belief that he’ll be ready for Spring Training in about a month.

“It feels good,” Sizemore said of his ankle. “Good range of motion. It doesn’t feel achy or anything. I’m excited to start working out.”

He’ll have to wait another week for that. The holes in his bone from where the big pins were inserted through the bone, those holes still have to fill in. From there, he’ll be cleared for more running and lateral movement.

Before those pins were removed, Sizemore said, he was hitting and taking ground balls. So this coming week will be more of a short break.

He believes he should be ready. Leyland is definitely hoping for it. He could be Leyland’s best choice for a No. 2 hitter. And they need him getting time at second base alongside Adam Everett and Ramon Santiago in Spring Training.

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