Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2009-05-18

--RF Magglio Ordonez will miss at least the first two games of Detroit's series against Texas this week for "personal reasons," Manager Jim Leyland said Saturday. "Magglio will be here (Sunday), but he won't be here the next couple days after that," Leyland said. "I'm hoping he's back by Thursday, but I doubt he'll make the day game (1:05 p.m. against the Rangers); I'm hoping. That will be a personal issue." Ordonez, who resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he was not returning to his native Venezuela. He is hitting .256 with two homers, four doubles and 17 RBIs. He had a double and an RBI on Saturday after going 3-for-3 with two RBI on Friday. He extended his hitting streak to eight games Sunday.

--RHP Armando Galarraga got jolted Sunday for a fourth straight start. Galarraga has allowed 21 earned runs in his last 17 1/3 innings over those four starts. His fastball has been out of the strike zone too much and his slider has lacked bite. Pitching from behind has forced Galarraga to put too many hittable pitches into the heart of the strike zone. The pressure on Galarraga to right himself will mount as the clock continues ticking on returning starter RHP Jeremy Bonderman's rehab assignment. "I wouldn't say it's not a concern," Manager Jim Leyland said, "but he's a fine Major League pitcher and I think he'll be fine."

--1B/3B Jeff Larish made his first start of the season at third base Sunday as manager Jim Leyland packed his lineup with left-handed hitters against RHP Trevor Cahill of Oakland. Larish singled his first two times up to help Detroit's two four-run innings. Once Detroit got in front by four he was subbed out for 3B Brandon Inge.

--RHP Zach Miner did just what long relievers are supposed to do -- hold the opposition in check to preserve a lead or give it a chance to overcome an early deficit. Miner came on with just two out in the first and Detroit trailing 5-0. He finished that inning, then worked the next four and allowed Oakland two runs while striking out six as the Tigers put up a pair of four-run innings to take the lead. He survived allowing seven hits and a walk to earn a victory. Miner was a culprit in Minnesota when Detroit blew a 5-0 lead in a 6-5 loss, both teams scoring their runs in one inning.

--LHP Luke French didn't bother answering the strange number that appeared on his cell phone last week. Eventually, though, he learned the caller was the Detroit Tigers and they were calling him up to the Major Leagues from Triple-A Toledo. French wasn't late joining the team, warming up Thursday before pitching a scoreless inning of relief Friday night for Detroit against Oakland in his first game in the Majors. He pitched two shutout innings Sunday, drawing a visit from his manager after walking the first two batters he faced holding a four-run lead. French walked three batters but didn't allow a hit in his two innings. His family drove all night from their home in Littleton, CO, to Minnesota when French was called up and then drove to Detroit for the next series. French was 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in six starts for Toledo with 29 strikeouts and nine walks in 34 innings. "I'm getting an opportunity to live out the dream," French, 23, said, "and it's surreal. You get to be on a (baseball) card. And my friend who is really into fantasy baseball said, 'I'm picking you up in my league.' That's cool." His parents, Greg and Colleen; wife, Blythe; and other relatives and in-laws are spending the weekend in Detroit. Greg French was asked if it was worth the trip to see Luke, an eighth-round draft choice out of Heritage High in Littleton in 2004, pitch in the Majors. "Absolutely," said the proud father wearing a Tigers cap.

--3B Brandon Inge was not in the starting lineup Sunday, Manager Jim Leyland trying to give him two days off for the price of one and also loading his lineup with left-handed hitters. He was inserted for defensive purposes in the top of the seventh after Detroit had taken an 11-7 lead. Inge had started all of Detroit's games this season but with the Tigers off Monday it provided Leyland an opportunity to rest Inge up at the cost of just one missed game.

--LF Josh Anderson got a rare start Sunday as part of manager Jim Leyland's plan to pack his lineup with left-handed hitters. Anderson's playing time has been squeezed by OF Clete Thomas, who has become a regular in either left or right, and hot-hitting INF Jeff Larish, who provide the club with needed power. Anderson batted second Sunday and grounded into a force out swinging at the first pitch after CF Curtis Granderson opened the first with a walk. Apparently he learned from that because his second time up he waited until he got deep in the count and tripled home two runs during a four-run second inning.

--RHP Jeremy Bonderman pitched seven innings of two-run ball Saturday in a rehab start for low Class A West Michigan but his fastball still only topped out in the high 80s. He was scheduled to start Thursday for Triple-A Toledo in his journey to return to Detroit's rotation. Bonderman threw 94 pitches for West Michigan, 64 for strikes, and allowed four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. "I'm happy with the way it went," he said. "I basically wanted to come out and find my delivery and be consistent with it and I was able to do that. I was trying to locate my sinker. That's kind of dictates everything I do." Bonderman, 26, has been on the disabled list all season with a sore throwing shoulder after not pitching since last June, when he underwent medical procedures to remove a blood clot. "We have 30 days to play with," Manager Jim Leyland said of when a decision was due on Bonderman's future. "That doesn't mean we will."

BY THE NUMBERS: 1954 -- Last time prior to Friday night, when 3B Brandon Inge and LF Ryan Raburn each hit grand slams, that two different Detroit players had hit home runs with the bases loaded in the same game. Al Kaline and Ray Boone hit the slams in 1954. OF Jim Northrup hit two grand slams for Detroit in the same game in 1968.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm getting an opportunity to live out the dream, and it's surreal. You get to be on a (baseball) card. And my friend who is really into fantasy baseball said, 'I'm picking you up in my league.' That's cool." -- Rookie LHP Luke French after working a 1-2-3 inning Friday night at Detroit in his Major League debut. French was an 8th round draft choice by Detroit out of high school in 2004.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 18, 2009