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News » Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2008-08-05


Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2008-08-05


Detroit Tigers Inside Pitch 2008-08-05
Collars may not get tighter on the Detroit bench but leashes certainly will.

Manager Jim Leyland, aware time is running out on this year's edition of the Tigers, will be quicker to make changes if his team continues its sashay around the .500 level.

"I know one thing," Leyland said. "If you fish at the same lake for a month and don't get a nibble, I'm going to try a different lake or different bait."

Leyland didn't name names but he rested struggling shortstop Edgar Renteria on Sunday in favor of lighter hitting but better fielding infielder Ramon Santiago, who may get even more starts.

"I hope the headlines don't say I'm going to pull people (from the rotation and lineup)," Leyland said before Tampa Bay completed its three-game sweep of Detroit. "All I'm saying is that if people don't step it up, you have to go in a different direction, whether you bring other players up or work with what you have and change some things around."

Detroit isn't likely to do something fiscally foolish like cutting a player or pitcher with years left on multi-million dollar contracts but might sit them on the bench, search closely for an injury requiring a stay on the disabled list or demote someone to the minors. Players with expiring contracts might be hoping Leyland doesn't call them into his office.

"From the start of the season to this point has been more than disappointing -- I've been shocked by our performance," Leyland said. "We've got too many guys not producing. And I'm not talking about one or two guys. But we've had some performances that have been terrible. I've been disgusted the last few nights. The last few weeks, we had situations where we should have dominated a game and we didn't come close.

"You've got to step it up if you want to be in the hunt. If not, go home and come back next spring training. I'll bring up some kids to play. If you don't want to grind it out, then start your vacation early. We should be embarrassed. And I'm not sure enough people are.

"We've got too many guys not producing. This is not a threat, I'm not upset, but some things are not acceptable. You can't keep putting the ball in people's hands and not get production.

"I won't hesitate to do anything. We're pretty fair here, I'd like to think. But there's a difference between effort and production.

Tuesday night will be a key start for left-hander Nate Robertson, in the first year of a new three-year deal. Robertson could become a high-priced long relief pitcher if he stumbles again.

It wouldn't be surprising to see a player or two summoned from the minors. Right-hander Chris Lambert has been doing well.

"I think the owner has been absolutely impeccable, absolutely unbelievable," Leyland said, "but I feel terrible. I've always said, if you play professional baseball for 162 games a season, and if you lose, it's supposed to hurt a bit. It's supposed to bother you a little bit.

"There has to be some kind of problem there. If there's not, you've got a problem."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 5, 2008

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