Clete’s Out, the Cougars Cry

Following today’s game Clete Thomas was optioned to Toledo and Don Kelly was called up in his place. Beck quotes Leyland on Thomas and the decision:

“Thomas has to work on shortening his swing,” manager Jim Leyland said. “This is not a punishment. This is a player that we love.”

Kelly is versatile. He is a veteran of the Tigers system who has typically posted good batting averages and he’ll take some walks. He’s been raking for Toledo this year (341/409/478) while playing predominantly in centerfielder though he has a history as an infielder.

This move still surprises me greatly. Yes, Thomas has been struggling and swinging through a lot of pitches. But up until this afternoon Leyland thought enough of him to bat him 3rd and he is a very good defender. But his 237/315/412 line is dramatically better than Josh Anderson’s 252/289/330 line. Really, if anybody should be going out it should be Anderson who is absolutely anemic at the plate and despite his speed he managed to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. But he’s your leadoff hitter…sorry…back to the topic at hand.

I agree with Kurt that this move is mostly about versatility with 6 games coming up in NL parks and Leyland is itchin’ for some double switchin’ and Kelly will be his left handed Raburn. Or maybe they are just looking for some rookie spark. Still, I think the wrong guy got sent out.


  1. JimWalewander

    June 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Clete got a little homer-happy. After that grand slam he just seemed to be trying to jack EVERYthing.

    Also, it seemed he fell in love with his arm a bit. I remember him attempting to nail a runner at third about 10 days ago, when hitting the cutoff man would have kept the hitter at first. Both runners ended up scoring. This was an inning or so after he HAD nailed a guy at second or third.

    Aah, youth…vigor…enthusiasm…

    It might not be a punishment, but it is definitely a wake-up call.

  2. Keith (Mr. X)

    June 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Isn’t Josh Anderson out of options and can’t be sent down? I thought that’s why the Braves traded him to us.

    Kelly will probably get sent back down soon after these IL games anyway. I expect to see Clete back at that time.

  3. Joey in Portland OR

    June 12, 2009 at 12:20 am

    I love Cletus but dude does have a LONG swing. He’ll be back, and me and the Cougars will be cheering for him.

  4. Walewander

    June 12, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Dude! You stole my name!

    • JimWalewander

      June 12, 2009 at 1:51 pm

      Sorry Wales. I’ve been using it for a few years over at the detnews Tiger Talk site. Can’t say who had it first.

      As a concession, I’d be willing to consider coming back here as Doug Baker or Scotty Earl.

  5. Mike R

    June 12, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Glad Jim Leyland’s nonsense is still around. I would’ve gotten bored without it. Is there another manager that would bat someone 3rd seemingly every night and then send him down after a game saying his swing’s bad? C’mon. I mean, seriously.

    • Keith (Mr. X)

      June 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

      Clete was batting 3rd every night?

      Clete hasn’t started in 4 of the last 6 games. Also, Clete has batted 3rd just 4 times in the past 18 games. In those 4 games either Magglio or Cabrera weren’t in the line-up.

  6. Ryan P.

    June 12, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I like Clete, but the number of fastballs he swings right through is just astounding. This is something he needs. Hopefully he comes back better than ever.

  7. Sam

    June 12, 2009 at 10:26 am

    For the next week they will be in NL parks so Clete would probably sit (because Ordonez can’t DH). I think he comes back after the all-star break. I am hoping that is enough time to work with Leon Durham to make the adjustments he needs.

    • Jerry the Tiger Fan

      June 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t understand why McClendon can’t work with Thomas up here during batting practice, watching film,etc. Is Durham that much better of a hitting coach? Or do they feel like Clete will benefit from being in the lineup everyday in TOL to implement his new “shorter” swing? Either way, I think Clete should have been allowed to stay up with the big club and work on shortening his swing with McClendon. I like that Leyland added that he “loves” Clete (I too am quite fond of him as a player), but this is a funny way to show a guy some love.

  8. Mike Valenti

    June 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Nice picture. Do you mind if I…?

  9. JimWalewander

    June 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    This could be good for Clete Thomas and for Magglio Ordonez. Maybe Maggs gets better against NL pitching (though the Pirates aren’t too bad…)

  10. ouchudied

    June 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Went to high school with the girl on the far left. Can’t say I’m surprised to see her pop up on the internet somewhere…

  11. Michael

    June 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I was bummed to see Clete sent down, but he does swing through a lot of fastballs. However, I will flip out the next time I see Anderson roll one to the 2nd basemen in a game. If they are keeping him up, then he should be a pinch runner/ defense replacement only. The kid is making no attempts to adjust his hitting style.

    • Coleman

      June 12, 2009 at 3:48 pm

      Speaking of Clete and Anderson I was just noticed they’ve both bolted by Cabrera atop the Most Likely To Swing at the 1st Pitch category (Cabrera 34% Anderson 36% Clete 41%). With Cabrera the 1st pitch swing is a positive, with Clete and Josh…perhaps Clete is being sent down to lengthen his ABs in addition to shortening his swing?

      (Oh and he only has 34 PA, but the Pineapple of Swat is whacking away at 1st pitches at an impressive 38% rate….eh….)

  12. Keith

    June 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm


    I did as well!!!! You went to Dexter?

    • ouchudied

      June 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm


  13. Keith

    June 14, 2009 at 4:31 am

    What year did you graduate? I was ’06!

    • ouchudied

      June 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

      ’06. Your first name gives away your identity, Keith…