It’s Sunday evening and this concludes my foray into full time blogging. I took this week off to delve into the winter meetings and cover them to the best of my ability. It proved to be an especially eventful week for Tigers fans and this blog. With that we’ll do one last set of hot stove rumors and news nuggets and a couple other thoughts as well.
The Tigers made a handful of roster moves today to prepare for the offseason. They are:
- Mike Hollimon was outrighted to Toledo
- Marcus Thames and Matt Treanor have been removed from the roster and are now free agents
- Jeff Larish and Joel Zumaya have been reinstated from the disabled list
- Jay Sborz had his contract purchased from Toledo
The Hollimon move isn’t surprising. He very may well still have a role in the organization. He has a 260/361/478 line in his minor league career which is solid for a middle infielder. He’s also 27 and has been injured much of the last 2 seasons meaning that he wasn’t going to get claimed.
The Matt Treanor announcement isn’t surprising either. Treanor will unfortunately finish his Tigers career without a hit but he does have the distinction of catching Rick Porcello’s debut.
In his postgame press conference Jim Leyland announced that Marcus Thames will start on Sunday. With his activation from the DL, Jeff Larish will be optioned to Toledo.
I’m a little surprised to see Larish sent out over Raburn. The Tigers are flush with outfielders and with Cabrera’s hamstring hurting they are thin at first base.
You may remember a game in Anaheim last year where Thames took Joe Saunders (tomorrow’s starter) deep twice and to the wall another time. Maybe he can do it again and break the Tigers string of 7 straight games at Comerica without a homer.
It sounds like the plan is to activate Marcus Thames this weekend. Thames has started to hit well in Toledo, meaning he may be ready to do some big league thumping. The Tigers need some extra thump in the lineup. With Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez combining to provide little power, the Tigers need someone else to turn to for a game changing hit and Thames provides that.
Also, signs are pointing towards Bonderman returning to the rotation. Galarraga will start the day game on Monday against the White Sox. Jim Leyland knows who will start the night game but he isn’t ready to announce it…and Bonderman’s rehab has been declared over. For once I might have been right about something. On a related note Always a Tiger looks at how Bonderman may cope with decreased velocity (I think this will be temporary and that his velocity will come back over time).
Toledo 5 Durham 2
Marcus Thames is wrapping up his rehab assignment in fine fashion with a homer and a single. Brent Clevlen doubled and tripled. Dusty Ryan and Wil Rhymes both homered as well. Ruddy Lugo allowed 2 runs on 7 hits and 2 walk with 4 K’s in 6 innings. Clay Rapada got the 3 inning save with only 1 walk allowed to go with 4 K’s. Wilkin Ramirez remains out with a hand injury.
Altoona 10 Erie 8
Brennan Boesch, Jeff Kunkel and Ryan Strieby each homered and singled. Mike Hollimon tripled. Alfredo Figaro had a rough outing allowing 8 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and fanning 4 in 5.2 innings.
Lakeland – PPD
Great Lakes 4 West Michigan 6
Gustavo Nunez went 3 for 4 with a triple. Casey Crosby allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk with 4 K’s in 5 innings. Billy Nowlin went on the DL and Keith Hernandez was promoted from EST.
Charlotte 13 Toledo 3
The Tigers need a 6th starter next Monday. Eddie Bonine may have been a candidate, but he didn’t last through 2 innings before allowing 9 hits and 7 runs. Marcus Thames went 4 for 5 as the DH tonight. Dusty Ryan went 2 for 3 with a walk and a double.
Altoona 5 Erie 4 (10 inn)
Ryan Strieby hit his 13 homer and also singled. Mike Hollimon also homered, singled, and walked. Alex Avila was 2 for 3 with 2 walks. Pat Stanley allowed 3 runs in 6.1 innings on 5 hits, 1 walk and 5 K’s.
Lakeland 4 Palm Beach 1
Santo De Leon went 2 for 4. Charlie Furbush allowed just 2 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings. Lester Oliveros fanned 4 in 2 innings of work. Robbie Weinhardt got the save pitching a scoreless 9th.
Akron 2 Erie 7
Scott Sizemore and And Dirks each had 3 hits. Ryan Strieby tripled and singled. Luis Marte allowed just 2 hits and 1 run, though he did walk 4 in 7 innings.
Lakeland 6 Palm Beach 5
Justin Henry went 3 for 5. Michael Bertram had 2 hits and 2 walks. Trevor Feeney allowed 1 unearned run in 5 innings with 3 hits, a walk, and 4 K’s.
Wisconsin 8 West Michigan 3
Gustavo Nunez had 4 hits, 2 of which were doubles. Mauricio Robles battled his control and walked 5 on the way to 5 runs allowed in 3 innings. Jered Gayhart fanned 2 with one hit allowed in 2 innings.
Norfolk 6 Toledo 8
Don Kelly and Brent Clevlen each had 3 hits. Marcus Thames went 1 for 5 with 2 K’s. Chris Lambert went 4 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits. Clay Rapada struck out 3 in 3 innings with 1 hit allowed. Freddy Dolis gave up 4 runs in 1+ innings. The Toledo pitchers combined to not issue any walks.
Erie 5 Harrisburg 6
Alex Avila, homered, singled and walked. Andy Dirks and Max Leon each had 2 hits. Mike Hollimon returned after not playing for over a month and he homered. Jon Kibler allowed 10 hits and 4 runs in 6 innings.
Jupiter 3 Lakeland 9
Audy Ciriaco hit a grand slam. Chris Carlson homered and singled while Jeramy Laster got the 2 hard parts of the cycle. Jordan Newton added 3 hits. Thad Weber pitched 2 perfect innings to start the game. Lauren Gagnier allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 homer, and 2 k’s in 5 innings. Robbie Weinhardt gave up a homer.
Jupiter 3 Lakeland 0
There were 2 singles for Lakeland so there are no offensive highlights. Charlie Fubrush wen4 innings and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits including 2 homers.
Quad Cities 5 West Michigan 8
Brandon Douglas added 3 more hits. Avasail Garcia went 2 for 4. Brandon Hamilton only made it through 4.2 innings and he gave up 8 hits in 4.2 innings.
Once again it is time to wrap-up some injury news.
Bonderman is set to make another rehab start for the Mud Hens on Tuesday night. It seems clear that while he has some things working, he is still building up arm strength. He was quite good for 5 innings before faltering his last time out, and his velocity is still a couple ticks away. Fortunately the Tigers starters have been dependable and Detroit doesn’t need to rush his return.
Which makes me think that the team may be setting him up to return on June 8th, the day of a doubleheader that falls in the middle of a stretch of 13 days without an offday. The Tigers would be forced to add a starter or force someone to go on short rest.
After Tuesday there would be time for Bonderman to make one more start prior to that June 8th date. Things don’t line up exactly for his return, but this might make sense.
Thames will be picking up the post game meals for Toledo for the next week of so. He made his first rehab start today (1 for 4 with a walk and strikeout) and the plan is that he will alternate between the outfield and DH as he accumulates 30 or so plate appearances.
Things aren’t progressing well for Guillen and his injured shoulder. He had an MRI done and the Tigers are awaiting the results.
There was quite a bit of Tigers injury related news today with fresh info from Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Marcus Thames. And on a related roster note, Magglio Ordonez will be back for Friday’s game (the surgery went well) and Wilkin Ramirez can tell his Mud Hens teammates what it was like to drive one deep into big league bushes.
Bonderman made his second rehab start, this time for Toledo. Things were going swimingly for Bonderman through 5 innings as he was pitching a 2 hit shut out. Things kind of fell apart though in the 6th inning as it went: Walk – Sac Bunt – Double – Ground Out – Homer – Error – Stolen Base – Double – Double – Strike Out. The error certainly didn’t help and 2 of the 5 runs were unearned, but there were still 4 extra base hits that inning.
His final line was 6 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 4 K’s 1 homer, 98 pitches, 62 strikes.
Thames will begin a rehab assignment for the Mud Hens next week. Jim Leyland would like to get him 30 or so at-bats.
So this isn’t particularly fresh, but Robertson was activated from the DL after Wednesday night’s game. Luke French filled in nicely for Robertson, but he is back with the Mud Hens now.
From the “What’s a guy gotta do to keep a starting job” department, Marcus Thames has been sidelined with a fairly “major” injury. That rib problem that landed him on the DL yesterday is a grade three intercostal muscle and cartilage strain with bleeding involve.
For the first time in his career, it looked like Thames would get the majority of at-bats at a position when the Tigers released Gary Sheffield and named Thames the primary DH. Now he’s going to be on strict rest for at least 2 to 4 weeks before he can even begin to think about rehabbing.
Josh Anderson and Jeff Larish stand to be the primary beneficiaries of this news (and Ryan Raburn who took his place on the roster). To make this even more knife twisting coincidental, Thames would have been starting tonight against Joe Saunders who he took deep twice in a game last year in LA. Poor guy.
I was going to just ammend the original post, but enough time has passed, and I ‘ve read plenty, and I have a number of thoughts about this, so we’ll start a new post.
When the Tigers acquired Josh Anderson on Monday I thought it was a very strong possibility that Marcus Thames career as a Tiger was over. I was apprehensive about that given the injury threat that Gary Sheffield and Carlos Guillen provided, another big bat on the bench would be nice insurance. As Jason Beck points out, the Tigers were also worried about injury. And the team decided that Thames was a safer bet to make it through the season than Sheffield.
And if the Tigers were going to keep Sheffield over Thames, they had better be sure they could get a good season’s worth of production out of him. Because it wasn’t just an Opening Day decision, but a longer-term decision. If Sheffield got hurt in late April, there would be no Thames to which to turn, unlike years past.
I still think a healthy Sheffield is a better hitter than Thames (the Tigers are giving up OBP skills), and I’d venture the Tigers may even admit as much. But they also probably didn’t like the odds that Sheffield could stay healthy.
Continue reading Some more Sheffield stuff