Archive for March, 2009

Jeremy Bonderman Hits the DL

Jeremy Bonderman was put on the 15 day disabled list today and that would allow him to come back as early as April 14th so he’ll miss the whole first week and at least part of the second week.  I’m curious to see how they get him innings while on the disabled list and it wouldn’t surprise if there’s a minor league rehab period that would effectively replace the spring training he missed.

Clete Thomas was optioned to Toledo and Timo Perez and Will Rhymes were both sent to minor league camp.

That leaves a rotation spot open.  Rick Porcello made yet another statement today with five innings of solid pitching.  He gave up just two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.  The Tigers have just one hit through five innings but they’re tied 1-1 with the Nationals.  Zach Miner, after a solid outing his last time out, is my bet to get the nod.

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Just when I was getting comfortable with Nate Robertson, he goes and gets shelled by the Nationals.  His inning was cut short because of the weather, but he was tagged for four hits and three runs in the seventh inning.  That’s twice as many hits as Porcello gave up in five frames.

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The rain break didn’t help Nate Robertson and he was knocked around for two more runs in the ninth.  That’s five runs over his three innings of work.  It’s 7-2 with the Tigers batting in the bottom of the ninth.  Josh Anderson made his debut and he went 0 for 2 with two walks and a stolen base.

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Yeah, I know Gibby has two big postseason home runs but one means more to Tiger fans then the other.  I posted a great piece on Tigers Corner Wag the Dog by Bill Dow this morning on game five of the 1984 World Series. It contains extensive quotes from Kirk Gibson himself, as well as Sparky Anderson and former Free Press beat writer Bill McGraw.  Coming later in the week will be a complimentary piece with quotes from Roger Craig on the 1984 season.

Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

Wow, I didn’t see this one coming.  The Tigers cut bait on Gary Sheffield despite the fact that they’ll still be on the hook for his $14 million salary this year.  This is one of those moves that could make or break the Tigers and their front office.  If Sheffield goes on to have a productive season and the Tigers fall just short, people should probably be fired over this.  Of course it’s not my team and I’m a little biased because I’ve always been a big Sheffield fan.

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I talked about a couple of reasons why he may still struggle in my five question piece.  Throw on a .178 spring batting average and the move shouldn’t come as a total surprise.  One option that comes to mind would be putting Miguel Cabrera at DH then using either Jeff Larish or even better, Mike Hessman at first base.  Another option would be to move Carlos Guillen to DH and then use someone like Marcus Thames, Brent Clevlen or the newly acquired Josh Anderson out in the left field.

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The other side note is, the Tigers will remain as a team that’s never seen a player hit his 500th home run in their uniform.  Gary Sheffield would have been the first one.

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I’m interested to see what this “more versatile” lineup is the Tigers refer to in this story.  I’m also interested in seeing where Gary Sheffield ends up.

Armando Gallaraga Strikes Out Nine, Tigers Acquire Josh Anderson From Braves

The Tigers are seven innings into their spring game against the Nationals and so far so good.  Armando Galarraga threw five solid innings in which he struck out nine and walked just one and his lone blemish was a two run homer by Ryan Zimmerman.  Outside of the home run and the walk, he only gave up one other single to Christian Guzman.  Even better, Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney each have a perfect inning each.

The Pleasure of Your Company (aka Wedding Daze) movie Clete Thomas brought the big stick and has a solo homer, a single and two RBIs.  Ryan Raburn also went yard for the Tigers and the only other hit was a single by Brent Clevlen (he scored on Thomas’ homer.  I’m home for the final two innings, but there’s neither radio or television coverage.  Oh well.  I have a choice of a couple of games tonight.

The Tigers also swung a deal today.  They traded Rudy Darrow to the Braves for centerfielder Josh Anderson.  This is an interesting move because the Tigers have a couple of 25+ AAAA guys (Anderson is 26) who can play centerfield coming off the bench in Brent Clevlen and Clete Thomas so I wonder if this move sets up a bigger trade down the line. 

Anderson has little to prove in the minors.  Last year, he hit .314 at Triple-A and he stole 42 bases.  In each of the last five seasons, he’s stolen at least 40 with his career high coming in 2004 when he split time between both A levels where he stole 79 bases.


The final ended up being 3-2.  Mike Hessman singled and Juan Rincon and Ryan Perry each threw a shutout inning.  One of the knocks on Rincon has been the fact that the Tigers have protected him, only throwing him against minor league players.  Today he got into trouble (one hit and a walk) but he struck out two, I just don’t know who he faced.  If they have been protecting, I hope they stop soon so we see what they have.

Three More Roster Moves

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The Tigers trimmed three more from their major league camp with two players hitting the disabled list and then Rule 5 pick Kyle Bloom getting shipped back to the Pirates.  No surprise that Joel Zumaya is beginning the season on the disabled list but the unusual one is Dontrelle Willis’ anxiety disorder.   The specifics aren’t there but Dontrelle seemed upbeat about it and from what they say, it’s treatable.  They don’t put a time table on the treatment but hopefully Dontrelle is back sooner rather then later.

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It was also announced that Jeremy Bonderman won’t begin the season in the rotation.  He’s throwing as I write this but he’s still trying to get his arm strength back.  I’m not 100% sure on the rules, but Bonderman might have some options left (he only spent one season in the minors) so I wonder if the Tigers will take the DL route or not.  There’s also a chance we could see someone like Rick Porcello get a start or two with the big league team before Bonderman comes back and they ship him to Erie.

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The Tigers took care of the Jays yesterday.  Edwin Jackson went seven innings deep and he gave up just one run on six hits with four strikeouts.  Ryan Perry and Scott Williamson each threw shutout innings to finish things out.  At this point, the game are going to more closely resemble real games so they’ll be a little more interesting then the six pitchers throwing we saw just a week or so ago.

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Placido Polanco hit his second homer of the spring and he drove in two runs.  Carlos Guillen led the way with two hits and a run in the 5-1 win.

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Justin Verlander Throws Seven Shutout Innings In Tigers Loss to Braves

The Tigers had their regulars today yet they still managed just five hits and their only two runs came off a Matt Treanor homer in the seventh.  Carlos Guillen had two of those hits and while Miguel Cabrera singled in three at bats, he struck out the other two times.

The big news was Justin Verlander’s seven shutout innings.  He gave up just two hits and a walk with three strikeouts and that dropped his spring ERA to 2.30.  This came shortly after he was announced as the Tigers opening day starter.  Of course the bad news was Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney were both touched up.  When your supposedly two best starters have ERA’s of 7.88 and 6.00, you know you have some problems. 

I was going to watch this game via the archive but the Spartans are on right now.  I am curious as to how strong Verlander looked in this one.

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Edwin Jackson gets the start tomorrow in an afternoon game against the Jays.  Ryan Perry is also supposed to get some work.  There’s radio coverage but no television.

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John Brattain Memorial Fund

Yesterday I mentioned the passing of John Brattain.  If you’d like to donate money to his memorial fund, stop by the Hardball Times.  They set up a special paypal account to accomodate this.

Other then the injuries and Scott Williamson, the Tigers had a pretty nice gam today.  Zach Miner threw some solid innings and Placido Polanco and Jeff Larish drove in three runs each.  Ryan Perry gave up some baserunners, but he got out of his 1 2/3 innings unscathed.

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Tomorrow, the Tigers take on the Rays in an odd 6:05 start.  Rick Porcello gets the start.

Season Ticket Sales Way Down for Tigers

Buried in this Free Press article is an interesting little tibdit.  The surprise isn’t that the Tigers are trying to shop some of their excess players who no longer have options but how low their season ticket sales are.  They talk about shopping Marcus Thames to save just the $2.275 million (isn’t that chump change these days) because ticket sales are down from 27,000 to 15,000.  That’s an almost 50% slide and you wonder how this is going to effect things throughout the season.  I don’t know where the 15,000 falls historically because I know last year was a big year at the booth but it still looks pretty far down.

One of the team’s that’s interested are the Reds and I think Thames would really thrive there.  I wonder if Homer Bailey is on the block.

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Nate Robertson and Adam Everett Leave In the First Against Mets

Nate Robertson was having a rough inning then he took a throw off his hand.  Adam Everett also tweaked himself (I think it was his hamstring, but wasn’t paying close enough attention).  Miner is throwing now.  2-1 Tigers with two outs in the bottom of the first.


Scratch the hamstring thing.  Now they’re talking about an anke with regard to Everett.


They’re calling Robertson’s injury a sprained thumb on his pitching hand.

Five Question

My Five Questions piece on the Detroit Tigers was posted today at the Hardball Times.  If you have a hard time getting to the site, be patient.  They’ve gotten a deluge of traffic mostly because of John Brattain’s passing.

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The Tigers didn’t play today, but there was plenty of bad news to make up for it.  First, I already touched on George Kell’s passing.  Later in the day, I then found out the fellow THT writer John Brattain   I never got to meet John but he began writing around the same time I did for THT and I enjoyed his banter in the THT listserv.  He also knew a ton about the sport and it’s history and he brought it to print in his own unique style.  Like for Kell, my condolences go out to John’s family.

On less serious stuff, the WBC is now over.  I didn’t really watch much of last night’s game although I did tune in for most of the USA’s Sunday loss.  While it added a little bit of excitement at first, I’m now glad it’s over and I’m also glad the Tigers have their team back.  Now it’s time to get down to business.

Dontrelle Willis pitched against the minor leaguers today and he brought back his old leg kick.  Looks like it worked out for him.  Jeremy Bonderman also got some throws in.  The Tigers return to action tomorrow against the Mets and it’s Nate Robertson, who’s probably the favorite right now for the fifth rotation spot, who will get some innings.  The games on MLB.TV and I’ll be home so I’ll get to catch this one while I do some tax returns.

George Kell Passes at Age 86

George Kell passed away today at the age of 86.  While I never got to see him play, Kell is one of the guys I listened to extensively because he was the television broadcaster for the Tigers in the 1980s.  My condolences go out to his family.

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Zach Miner Throws Three Shutout Innings On Day He's Shut Out of Rotation Spot

Prior to today’s game, it was announced that Zach Miner’s name was being pulled out of the rotation race.  Of course he answers with three shutout innings of relief today in the Tigers 4-3 loss to the Yankees.  He allowed three hits without a walk and he struck out in relief of Clay Rapada, who finished the third inning after a rough start by Rick Porcello.  The youngster gave up two runs on four hits and a walk with one strikeout in 2 1/3 innings.

With that, it looks like Nate Robertson and his back to back solid outings have made him the front runner for the fifth spot in the rotation.  What’s interesting is, after a four game series against the Jays at Rogers Centre, the fifth starter will be the guy who throws in front of an opening day crowd at Comerica Park.

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Gerald Laird was a perfect three for three in the loss. Jeff Larish went two for five with his third homerun.  Everyone is clamoring over the 25th man when it usually doesn’t matter too much because the 25th man is usually different a few weeks into the season.  Larish is one option but because he has options, I bet the Tigers go with Mike Hessman or Brent Clevlen, because both of them are out of options.  Each brings something different to the table.  Clevlen would be a good guy to have to spell Granderson in centerfield while Hessman has the power bat.

The Tigers play the Marlins at home tomorrow afternoon.  Justin Verlander gets the nod.

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Bondo Debuts, Willis is Roughed Up In Loss to Braves

Jeremy Bonderman made his spring debut tonight to some mixed results.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the first couple of innings, but Bondo threw two shutout innings.  He did yield two hits and two walks though but it’s definitely something to build on as his spring season progresses.

Dontrelle Willis was roughed up again.  I did feel bad watching him though because he was trying to stay positive, yet couldn’t get it done.  In his first inning, he got the first two batters out, then gave up three runs.  Then in the fifth, he got  double play to help him out, then gave up a triple to Omar Infante which kept things going for another two runs.

Ryan Perry looked sharp again. He gave up a walk and struck out one in 1 1/3 innings.  Juan Rincon gave up two hits but he struck out the side in the eighth, and then Clay Rapada gave up a shutout ninth to finish things up.

Brandon Inge led off the game with his second homerun of the spring.  Gerald Laird and Adam Everett both had a pair of hits in the 5-2 loss.

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Nate Robertson now looks like he’s the favorite for the fifth starter spot but he’llneed to keep things going tomorrow afternoon.  It’s an afternoon game against the Nationals.

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Tigers hurler Macay McBride was the latest Tiger to get assigned.  After an injury filled 2008 season, McBride will report to Toledo this year.

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Justin Verlander Gives Up Just One Hit In Six Innings

The Astros have just one win to their name all spring and while the Tigers couldn’t beat Houston this afternoon, there were plenty of positives on the mound in the 1-1, eleven inning tie.  First off was Justin Verlander.  He threw six innings and gave up just one hit to go with three walks and two strikeouts.  Those are some quality innings.  Five different relievers then threw a shutout inning each with Kyle Bloom, Eddie Bonine and Fu-Te Ni all striking out two.

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Of course the downer was the offense, who managed just seven hits in eleven frames.  Scott Sizemore drove in the lone Tiger run with a solo homer, his second long ball of the spring.  Timo Perez kept up his hot hitting with a pair of singles while Wilkin Ramirez singled and drew a walk.

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City of Angels Tomorrow’s a day off.  Tonight is do or die for the US team.  They have to play the team that mercied them not too long ago in Puerto Rico.  Game time is 7 pm.

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It’s a spring game, but what a fun one to watch as the Tigers kicked off their televised schedule with a come from behind win that the Tigers won on their final at bat.  Timo Perez came a double short of hitting for the cycle and he finished four for five with two RBIs and three runs from the leadoff spot.  Will Rhymes drove home Ramon Santiago for the game winner and what was interesting was the fact that he couldn’t get down a bunt his first couple of tries.  He then swung with two strikes and the single he belted pushed home Ramon.

Brent Clevlen also went yard for Detroit.  Gary Sheffield also had a nice game with a single and two walks.

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What was just as impressive about the 7-6 win was that the Tigers were down 4-0 before they even got a chance to bat.  Zach Miner had the rough first, then got into a little trouble in the second before finally calming down.  Bobby Seay struck out three in two innings but he gave up a run and Brandon Lyon and Ryan Perry both threw shutout frames. 

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The Tigers take on Houston, who haven’t won many games this spring.  It’ll be Justin Verlander versus former Tiger Brian Moehler in the afternoon game.  The Astros affiliate has the game on the radio but unfortunately I won’t be around to listen in.  The USA team plays tomorrow at seven as they continue their pursuit of the WBC title.  It’s also cool that there’s at least one or more night games.  I’m watching the Pirates and Rays right now.  In the meantime, Venezuela and Puerto Rico are playing to see who gets to move on.  The loser is the opponent for the US tomorrow.  Cuba and Mexico play tonight with the loser being eliminated.

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Ryan Ludwick – A Transaction Story

I’m watching the game and one thing that was mentioned was how Ryan Ludwick (the one who drove in 113 and belted 37 homers last year) spent the season in the Tigers’ farm system back in 2006.  He spent the entire season with Toledo and after hitting 28 home runs, he was released by Detroit the following off season.

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While it’s a bummer we didn’t hold on to the guy (he’s a late bloomer and he’ll be 31 this summer), his transaction history has some interesting ties to the Tigers.  He was drafted in 1999 in the second round by the Athletics but then three years later, he was traded to the Rangers organization.  One of the guys who went with him to the Rangers was Gerald Laird, who’s now the Tigers starting catcher.  And the guy the Athletics received in the trade?  None other then Carlos Pena, who the Tigers eventually traded for, along with Jeremy Bonderman, back in 2002.

Tigers Farm System Ranks Dead Last

Over at Beyond the Boxscore, there’s been a solid analysis of each team’s farm system based on a measure called Surplus Value.  Not only do the Tigers rank last in the division Lifeboat full movie , but they’re dead last in all of baseball.  Not a big surprise considering the gutting that happened prior to the 2008 season.  For a rundown and a link to how the numbers were derived, you’ll want to check this out.


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Six More Cuts

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The Tigers trimmed their major league spring training roster by six this morning.  Chris Lambert, Michael Hollimon and Casper Wells were all optioned to Toledo while Zach Simons was optioned to Erie.  Alex Avila and Cale Iorg were both assigned to the Tigers minor league camp to round out the moves.  Nothing too surprising here, althoughwith Eddie Bonine and Lambert both returning to Toledo, they should have a pretty solid core to their rotation.

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