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News » Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-10-29

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-10-29

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-10-29
--RHP Virgil Vasquez was lost on waivers to Boston on Oct. 28.

--CF Curtis Granderson spent the week of Oct. 19-26 in China as a roving ambassador for baseball, the third consecutive offseason Major League Baseball has asked him to tour overseas on behalf of the sport. Granderson previously was in England, Italy and the Netherlands in 2006 and South Africa in 2007. Granderson has been an effective spokesman for baseball, and with the Tigers out of the playoffs the last two autumns he has done some studio work for TBS during its first-round playoff coverage. Granderson's itinerary for China featured appearances in the Shanghai and Beijing areas, helping with youth programs and taking part in clinics.

--DH Gary Sheffield missed part of the last two spring trainings to participate in arbitration hearings involving his former agent, Scott Boras. Now he will be missing $550,000 after the arbitrator determined he owes Boras that much money as his 5 percent fee for eliminating an $11 million option in his contract for the 2004 season. After Boras got the option erased, Sheffield fired him and on his own negotiated a three-year, $39 million deal with the New York Yankees for 2004-2006. The arbitrator determined Boras was not owed a fee for that contract.

--RHP Casey Fien is trying to follow RHP Freddy Dolsi in going from lightly regarded in the winter to the Detroit bullpen the following summer. Dolsi had a solid spring with the Tigers, and it helped him jump from Class A ball to the Tigers bullpen in 2008. Fien was not one of the organization's top prospects at the start of this past season but went from low Class A to Class AAA during the course of 2008 and is now doing well in the Arizona Fall League.

Dolsi caught manager Jim Leyland's eye with his showing in spring training, and now Fien is putting himself in position to do the same next year. He started his AFL experience with a win in the Mesa Solar Sox's season opener, tossing two scoreless innings on two hits with four strikeouts. He was selected to participate in the league's Rising Stars Game.

--RHP Freddy Garcia plans to pitch winter ball in his native Venezuela to underscore the fact that he's healthy and ready to help somebody in 2009. Garcia, who pitched for the Tigers in September, can become a free agent after the World Series. His agent, Peter Greenberg, said the neck stiffness that forced Garcia from the mound in Detroit's last game of the season was not serious and that he was joining his winter team, Magallanes.

"I think they like what they saw," Greenberg said of what Garcia showed the Tigers. "It's going to be up to them once they make their plans."

Garcia was 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts for the Tigers. Greenberg said Garcia plans to pitch two months in Venezuela, stretching out his arm as he goes.

--1B Miguel Cabrera, who hit 37 home runs, was the first Detroit hitter to lead the league in home runs since 1B Cecil Fielder hit 51 in 1990 and tied for the league lead in 1991 with 44. "It feels good," Cabrera said. "It is something great to win and remember." He hit 29 of his home runs after June 1 as he adapted to a new league and a new position. He also finished third in the league with 127 RBIs.

"We have one of the biggest forces in baseball at a very young age," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That is comforting. We have one of the most dominant players in all of baseball."

Cabrera, 25, is the youngest AL home run champion since 24-year-old Troy Glaus of the Anaheim Angels took the title with 47 in 2000.

"Cabrera will be a cornerstone franchise player for years to come," said Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski, who signed Cabrera to an eight-year, $153.3 million contract extension in spring training.

--OF Casper Wells replaced OF Clete Thomas on the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and was selected to participate in the league's Rising Stars Game by league officials and scouting directors despite a batting average in the low .200s.

Wells, a right-handed hitter, emerged this season when he hit .289 after a promotion to Class AA Erie. He hit 17 home runs and drove in 53 runs in 75 games. Wells, who turns 24 next month, was a 14th-round selection out of Towson State in the 2005 draft and had not been especially impressive until getting bumped up to Class AA this season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1989 -- Last time a home run total lower than 1B Miguel Cabrera's 37 was the highest in the American League. 1B Fred McGriff hit 36 that year to top the league's home run hitters.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not afraid. I believe I hired someone who is going to be very, very good." -- Manager Jim Leyland, on why he passed over candidates with major league experience to select Rick Knapp from Minnesota's minor league system to be the Tigers' next pitching coach.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: October 29, 2008

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