VMart to Undergo Knee Surgery

Not what I wanted for our first post of 2015.

VMart Likely Out for the Year

VMart managed to tear his ACL in off-season workouts…he’s likely out for the year.

Just sat in on the DD conf call (thanks billfer), DD didn’t say anything too unexpected.  They just found out over the last few days when VMart called Kevin Rand to tell him about a knee injury. There is a chance that he might be back later in the season.  At this point in time, DD is planning on just a short-term replacement, but no candidates as of yet.

Prince Fielder anyone?

More to come.

Joel Zumaya to the 60-day DL, maybe forever?

(picture from www.freep.com)

I’m not sure that this is news to anyone, but don’t expect Zumaya to pitch anytime soon, or this season, or perhaps never again.

As unsurprising as this news is, it’s still difficult to swallow because I don’t think any of us will forget the magic he brought in 2006 nor what he meant to that WS run.  RIP, Joel Zumaya right arm.

Some thoughts on the Ordonez situation

The news of Magglio Ordonez’s prolonged absence is certainly devastating on a number of fronts and only compounded by the loss of Carlos Guillen. Already without Brandon Inge for at least a month the Tigers lost a third of their starting lineup in the last week. It changes the outlook for the trade deadline, and may very well change the look of the 2011 team. It also likely puts a significant dent in Miguel Cabrera’s chances for a triple crown.

Ordonez and Guillen will be replaced on the roster with Wil Rhymes and Jeff Larish while Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and Ramon Santiago see increased roles. The lineup is more Toledo than Detroit at this point which is tough on a team that already has heavily reliant on rookies. There is only so much depth.

Buyer of Sellers

The Tigers had some holes to fill, be it starting pitching, a lefty reliever, and a little more consistency and offensive pop at both shortstop and catcher. Filling 1-2 of those holes would likely have kept the Tigers in the race deep into September without dramatically impacting the future fortunes of the team.

However the Tigers holes have doubled, and in a hard to replace way. I still think Scott Sizemore can hit at the big league level and he could slide into Guillen’s spot. The loss of Ordonez though is just too much for this team to overcome given the question marks at other positions. With playoff odds that were essentially split with 3 teams already, the Tigers chances of the postseason just got much longer and it may make sense for the Tigers to flip the switch from buyers to sellers.

The Option

One of the biggest stories last year was whether or not the Tigers should cut Ordonez to avoid his option vesting. They didn’t and the reaped the benefits of his performance this year (and the burden of his paycheck). There is a $15 million option for next season that now will not automatically vest. The Tigers may have $15 million additional to spend next year, or they may pick it up (which would be an overpayment), or perhaps decline the option and sign Ordonez to a more reasonable 2 year deal.

The business move is of course to decline the option. We’ll see if Mike Ilitch feels the same way though, especially given the fact that Ordonez broke the ankle hustling on a play in a game in which maybe he shouldn’t have even been playing.

The decision to send him home

I don’t think you can blame Gene Lamont for sending Ordonez home. It was just a bad situation. I’m not even sure that he broke it on the slide. Given the way he was running I don’t know that he would have been able to put on the brakes at third base anyways without damaging the ankle. It was unfortunate, but not a bad decision.

Cabrera and the triple crown

One of several real bright spots this season was Miguel Cabrera’s pursuit of the Triple Crown. The odds were long on this one as well just because of the shear difficulty of the feat. Ordonez and his .378 OBP will no longer be in front of Cabrera meaning fewer opportunities for RBI and more opportunities for teams to pitch around Cabrera.

Ryan Perry hits the disabled list

The Detroit Tigers placed struggling reliever Ryan Perry on the disabled list and purchased the contract of Enrique Gonzalez from the Mud Hens. The diagnosis for Perry is bicep tendonitis.

The injury supposedly isn’t serious, but I get nervous about diagnoses like this. Zach Miner had elbow tendonitis which turned in Tommy John surgery. Bobby Seay’s early diagnosis was tendonitis before it becoming a rotator cuff issue. Fernando Rodney had bicep tendonitis which caused him to miss large swaths of 2007. Now sometimes nothing happens and everything is fine. But tendonitis diagnoses seem to beget more severe injuries.

As for his replacement, Gonzalez was signed as a minor league free agent and hung around fairly late into spring training. He’s been starting for the Mud Hens which means he can eat some innings (which could be helpful in the short term with Eddie Bonine being extended last night and unavailable for a few days).

If this had happened 3 weeks ago it likely would have been Jay Sborz or Robbie Weinhardt getting the call. Sborz though has struggled as of late and Weinhardt is working his way back from the DL.

Carlos Guillen is back

Carlos Guillen has been activated from the disabled list. Danny Worth is the odd man out and will return to Toledo with an impressive week of MLB experience under his belt.

Guillen will slide into the 6th spot in the lineup behind Brennan Boesch. Worth meanwhile played defense that was impressive enough to give many pause about Adam Everett’s longevity with the team.

Everett isn’t expected to hit much, but like Gerald Laird he’s expected to hit more than he is. It’s one thing to trade some offense for defense, it’s another to forfeit a spot in the batting order. Despite Worth’s ability to pick up some singles in his short stint, he isn’t a good bet to hit much more than Everett. Worth has the benefit of being the new guy and the possibility of the new guy is certainly more intriguing than the reality of the current guy.

On the other hand we’ll see how much defense fans are willing to sacrifice for offense with Guillen moving to second base. I have a feeling the experience won’t be nearly as bad as many feel it will. At the same time I’d take slightly below average defense for Guillen’s offense at the position.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 5.25.10

Toledo 6 Syracuse 3
Carlos Guillen picked up 3 doubles, and the dinner tab. Max Scherzer went 7 innings and allowed just 1 run on 3 hits and a walk with 7 K’s. Scott Sizemore was 2 for 4. Ryan Strieby had 2 hits and drove in 5.

Erie 0 Trenton 4
Thad Weber gave up 10 hits and fanned only 1 but allowed just 4 runs in 6.2 innings. Shawn Roof had 2 of the 3 hits for the Seawolves.

Tampa 3 Lakeland 10
It was yet another electric night for Charlie Furbush. He went 8 innings and allowed a solo homer along with 3 other hits. But he walked none and fanned 12! That’s 44 strikeouts and 2 walks in his last 28 innings. Brent Wyatt and Rawley Bishop had 3 hit nights. Kody Kaiser and Daniel Fields each went 2 for 4.

West Michigan 3 Lansing 0
Giovany Soto pitched the 7 inning complete game shut out notching 6 K’s. Michael Rockett doubled in 2 runs.

West Michigan 1 Lansing 7
Avisail Garcia, Luis Palacios and Billy Alvino had the 3 hits. Victor Larez didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning before surrendering 6 runs on 9 hits.

Scoreboard – MiLB.com Scoreboard – The Official Site of Minor League Baseball

Tigers Minor League Wrap 5.24.10

Toledo 3 Syracuse 6
The Tigers faced uber-prospect Stephen Strasburg, and managed to score. Deik Scram tripled and scored on a wild pitch. In the 4th inning Carlos Guillen singled (1 for 3 with a walk and 2 6-4-3 GIDPs on defense), Jeff Frazier doubled (3 for 4), and Casper Wells followed with a ground ball between third and short. LJ Gagnier allowed 6 runs in 5.2 innings but only 1 was earned, but a couple came around after his own error. Robbie Weinhardt faced one batter and was removed after the ominous “injury delay” according to the game recap.

Erie 4 Trenton 6
Duane Below allowed 5 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in 3.2 innings with only 2 strikeouts. Anthony Shawler ate 3.1 scoreless innings. Cesar Nicolas and Michael Bertram each doubled and singled. Josh Burrus hit his 5th homer.

Lakeland 4 Tampa 1
Adam Wilk starred with 8 innings of 1 run ball on only 4 hits. He didn’t walk a batter and he fanned 8. Julio Rodriguez had 2 hits. Alden Carrithers reached base 3 times with a single and 2 walks.

West Michigan 2 Fort Wayne 3 (10 innings)
Jordan Lennerton doubled twice as part of a 3 for 5 day. Alexis Espinoza also picked up 3 hits. Trevor Feeney went 8 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits, 1 walk, and 6 K’s. Melvin Mercedes walked 3 and had a wild pitch in 1.2 innings and took the loss.

Postcard from LA

No, I wasn’t in Los Angeles for this series. This is more of a collection of postcard sized thoughts from the Tigers weekend series against the Dodgers.

Armando Galarraga

The theme for Galarraga was inconsistency with the slider. There were times that it was awesome, like when he got Manny Ramirez and Matt Kemp flailing at pitches well outside of the strike zone. And then there was the at-bat where he hung multiple ones in the middle of the plate to Casey “freaking” Blake. It’s likely that Galarraga has one more start to make a statement before Max Scherzer is busting down the door to come back. Of course there is that other factor known as…

Dontrelle Willis

Willis looked terrific at times. He was getting ground ball after ground ball. He was working efficiently. And then things got funky with 2 outs in the 4th innings. A single, a wild pitch, and a walk seemed to set things in motion. Willis did hang in against Reed Johnson who worked a 9 pitch walk. But then it was  HBP and Willis never looked comfortable again.

That seems to be the story with Willis this year. It is a pretty fine line that Willis walks between effective and excruciating.

Strategery

I’m not so much a fan of National League baseball. I don’t care to see pitchers hitting, or being lifted while they are still effective for a pinch hitter. That said, Saturday and Sunday provided some interesting maneuvering by Jim Leyland. It worked on Sunday, not so much on Saturday.

Saturday we all understand the ramifications of Magglio Ordonez being lifted earlier in the game so he wasn’t available in the 9th inning. It’s kind of the nature of the beast and Leyland went all in earlier in the game. It happens. But I think back to a moment in the top of the 4th inning where the Tigers had 2 on and 2 outs and Armando Galarraga up. I understand wanting more than 3 innings from a starter, but Galarraga hadn’t been particularly effective and the Tigers needed runs. Leyland let Galarraga hit, the inning ended, and Galarraga came back and gave up 3 runs in the bottom half of the inning.

I’m not saying that Leyland messed up. It was the 4th inning after all. But with the benefit of hindsight it is easy to look back and say what if. I guess that’s the draw of NL ball.

Things went better in the 9th inning of Sunday’s game where Dontrelle Willis played a key role without getting in the batters box. It forced Torre’s hand and he did what Leyland wanted by bringing in the lefty. That Sherrill fell behind 2-1 and set up the perfect squeeze situation certainly made everyone look smarter.

R3L2O

The Tigers were remarkably efficient in the famous runner-on-third-with-less-than-2-outs scenarios this weekend. They capitalized in such a scenario in the first inning in each of the 3 games. For the season the Tigers have had 98 R3L2O scenarios and have scored 46 runs. The 47% success rate is below the league average of 49%.

Odds and Ends

  • Danny Worth played some dazzling defense. The fact he has chipped in some singles is gravy at this point. He’s bringing to the table what Adam Everett is supposed to. This is probably premature, but how much more time does Everett have to get his batting average into the .220 range?
  • The Austin Jackson play was scary, but fortunately there doesn’t appear to be physical damage beyond swelling which will hopefully go down quickly. Coincidentally enough there was a segment on Baseball Tonight on Thursday about David Wright’s struggles with the low and outside pitch since his beaning last season. I don’t know about the statistical relevance of those struggles, but it was the first thing that I thought of after seeing Jackson get up and walk off the field.
  • Joel Zumaya was pretty nasty, but his fastball was down in velocity. He was sitting at 98-99mph and only hit 100mph once. I don’t know if this is cause for concern, or if it was done by design. It is something to watch though. Clearly, he was still effective, but he’s had a lot of multi-inning relief appearances and it bears watching.

Junkballing: Red Sox recap, Miner’s elbow

My stream of consciousness on the Tigers most recent two games against the Red Sox, Zach Miner’s injury, and what ever else comes to mind.

Beating the Red Sox

Honestly, I’m thrilled with the series. Friday night was certainly a clunker and Saturday was shaping up to be one. From where they were in the first half of that second game to where they ended the series is reason to be excited.

Many of the Tigers earlier comebacks were against struggling pitchers or weak bullpens. That Detroit came back against the Red Sox and Jon Lester, and later out lasted the Boston bullpen is quite the endorsement for all those things like grit and never-say-die, and of course talent.

  • Dontrelle Willis might have been rusty. He might have reverted to his 2008-9 ways. He was all over the place, and not the least bit comfortable on the mound. It’s one thing to have rust, it’s another to walk 7 and not last through the 4th inning. I’m hoping for the best but have much skepticism, even given his success this year.
  • The Brennan Boesch phenomenon is something to behold. When I watch games now there are 3 Tigers who I don’t leave the room for when they are up. Boesch has joined Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson in that regard. That he is hitting lefties and breaking pitches is probably the most surprising aspect of his success. A Run Boesched In (Coleman term that is awesome) is around the corner.
  • Eddie Bonine gave up a two run homer. His first runs allowed since April 11th. A remarkable streak and one that has been instrumental in at least 2 wins. He’s definitely less heralded than other members of the bullpen but the ability to suck up 3 innings at a crack is huge for an overworked pen.
  • There are days like Sunday when the pitching match-up is heavily tilted one way, and Jim Leyland doesn’t put out the “A” lineup and there is a sense of hopelessness. Yet here come the Tigers, chipping away at Lackey to build a comfortable lead, and Galarraga finding his way through 5.2 innings of 1 run ball.
  • I love watching players make their debuts, so it’s been a good year to be a Tigers fan. Worth “blistered” a shot to shallow second base resulting in his first hit and RBI. The coolest part might have been Miguel Cabrera recognizing both feats right away and tracking down the game ball for him.
  • The bullpen isn’t out of the woods yet, even with Jeremy Bonderman chipping in an inning of help. Valverde has been used in consecutive days, as has Ryan Perry. But Phil Coke, Fu-Te Ni, and Joel Zumaya should all be ready tomorrow.

Zach Miner

Zach Miner has been battling an injury for the last 2 months now. He’s been rehabbing and an MRI just revealed a torn UCL. He’s going for a second opinion in terms of treatment options (surgery versus rehab and a strengthening program).

I don’t know if the UCL just recently tore or not. But if it had been torn all along this is certainly disappointing. Regardless it is unlikely that Miner will be able to contribute this year.

Miner is the type of pitcher a team with a struggling rotation could use. Someone who can make spot starts or eat 3-4 innings. Yet the Tigers are getting by without him, and will need to continue to do so. It also opens up a potential role for an Enrique Gonzalez or another minor league free agent should injuries or ineffectiveness creep in at some point on the staff.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 5.4.2010

Charlotte 3 Toledo 8
Josh Rainwater picked up the suspended game and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 3 innings. Caniel Schlereth continues to rack up the strikeouts (3) and walks (2) in a 2 inning effort. Clete Thomas homered before the rain. Angel Flores, up for the injured Mike Rabelo had 2 hits, as did Jeff Larish. Larish added 2 walks as well.

Charlotte 1 Toledo 3
Phil Dumatrait was 2 outs shy of the 7 inning complete game. He allowed 1 unearned run on 4 hits and a walk. Wil Rhymes doubled and singled. Jeff Frazier singled and homered.

Binghamtom 4 Erie 3
Justin Henry had a triple and a single. Jeff Kunkel homered. Andy Oliver allowed 3 runs on 3 walks, 5 hits, and 4 K’s.

Daytona 3 Lakeland 7
Gustavo Nunez went 3 for 4 with a double. Rawley Bishop doubled and singled. Twenty year old Julio Rodriguez homered and singled in his Lakeland debut. Charlie Furbush fanned 7 and allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings.

West Michigan 5 Great Lakes 4
Mike Gosse had 2 doubles. Wade Gaynor and Alexis Espinoza each had 2 hits. Trevor Feeney had a strong 8 inning start where he allowed 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks and 7 K’s.

Dombrowski Q & A

Dave Dombrowski is in Erie to watch the AA prospects. Nick Underhill caught up with him and they discussed the decision to send Wilkin Ramirez to AA, Cale Iorg, and Cody Satterwhite. And there was good news on the Jacob Turner front and he will make his next start.

Junkballing: Injuries and Verlander’s Workload

A journey through some links that will update us on the Tigers walking wounded, that will put limits on Justin Verlander’s workload, and other odds and ends including bullpen usage and Alex Avila.

Injuries

Word out of Lakeland is that Zach Miner is preparing to enter pseudo game action as part of his rehab assignment. Even with no set backs that would likely but him a couple weeks away from being ready to join the Tigers. And while the bullpen has been overworked and a fresh arm would be helpful, the bullpen has also been pretty effective.

Adam Everett is expected to be back any day now after taking batting practice yesterday. That could prove timely as Jim Leyland is still concerned about Scott Sizemore’s ankle and if he wants to spell him at second, he would have Ramon Santiago as an option with a healthy Everett manning short.

For those that were hoping to get a look at Brent Dlugach, he has cooled off at Toledo as his BABIP hasn’t been able to sustain his strikeout rate (31 K’s in 86 PA’s).

On the minor league injury front the Tigers are hopeful that Jacob Turner’s soreness is an adjustment to a pro pitching schedule and nothing ominous.

Verlander’s workload

With Justin Verlander throwing over 120 pitches in each of his last two starts and not seeing the sixth inning in either, it turned out to be a clubhouse topic yesterday. Leyland says he is going to put a limit on Verlander in his next start regardless of the inning. Verlander acknowledges that he needs to be more efficient but says pitch counts are overrated.

Verlander's Pitch Counts by Game 2009

We’ll see what happens with this limit. I’m sure that Leyland doesn’t want Verlander getting hurt on his watch, but he also had him throw over 120 pitches in 6 of his last 8 outings last season. Verlander has always proven up to the task, I just doubt that Leyland is going to reign him in too much.

The rest