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News » Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-09-29

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-09-29

Detroit Tigers Notes, Quotes 2008-09-29
--RHP Zach Miner retired the first 12 batters he faced but wound up with a no-decision when Detroit's bullpen blew another lead in the late innings. Miner's changeup was excellent and helped him to six strikeouts in his six-plus innings. Miner was relieved after the first two batters reached base in the seventh, allowing three runs on four hits. Miner's role with the Tigers next year is still uncertain. His preference would be to start and he might be better suited to that role, but circumstances might dictate he opens the year in the bullpen.

--3B Brandon Inge will enter 2009 as Detroit's regular third baseman, manager Jim Leyland revealed Saturday. Inge has been the de facto regular third baseman for the better part of two weeks. Leyland believes Inge's glove plays better at third than behind the plate, and he certainly will be a better hitter as an infielder. Inge began the season as a utility player off the bench but wound up as the regular catcher after C Ivan Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees. Inge's preference is to play third.

--IF Carlos Guillen will be moved to left field for 2009, manager Jim Leyland said Saturday. It will be Guillen's fourth position in three years. Guillen was Detroit's regular shortstop until he was informed at the end of the 2007 season he would be moved to first base. That transformation didn't last long before Leyland moved Guillen to third, shifting 1B Miguel Cabrera across the diamond. Guillen was the club's regular left fielder for two games -- until UT Brandon Inge suffered a strained left oblique and had to go on the disabled list -- before moving back to third. He did not play in September because of a pinched nerve in his back, but club officials believe he'll be healthy in the spring.

--CF Curtis Granderson hit an opposite-field, three-run home run in the third inning, then drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth for a four-RBI game. Granderson slumped at the end of the season and will finish below .300 after being well above that mark the first two weeks of the month.

--LHP Casey Fossum has a tenuous hold on a roster spot for 2009 and didn't help himself again Sunday. He entered the game with runners on first and second in the seventh and, following a passed ball, got a strikeout and walked a batter before getting out of the inning with a double play. But in the eighth, two left-handed batters sliced singles to left against him, and he walked the last batter he faced to give Tampa Bay a chance to erase a 5-3 deficit. Fossum's inability to dominate left-handed hitters limits his effectiveness as a relief pitcher.

--RHP Chris Lambert is trying to show the Tigers he deserves a long relief spot in the bullpen next year. He mixes his pitches well but lacks a go-to pitch to get a key out, which might work against him. He worked the last two innings Sunday. He gave up a leadoff single in the 10th, but that batter was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double. He gave up a game-deciding home run to UT Ben Zobrist in the 11th on a swing-back fastball that caught just a little too much of the inside part of the plate.

--SS Edgar Renteria had to be taken out of the lineup in the middle of the game when his sore left pectoral muscle began acting up again. If Renteria is unable to play Monday, manager Jim Leyland will have UT Ramon Santiago at shortstop and UT Ryan Raburn playing second. Regular 2B Placido Polanco missed Saturday and Sunday games because of a sore left ankle he jammed while scoring early in Friday night's game.

--LHP Dontrelle Willis didn't get a decision Saturday night, but he did end a disappointing winless season with an encouraging start. Willis walked two and gave up a two-run double in the first with one out but gave up a walk and only one run over his 5 1/3 innings. He threw first-pitch strikes to half the 24 batters he faced and wound up with 95 pitches, 56 of which were strikes. "He kept his composure," manager Jim Leyland said. "I saw progress. That's the way I looked at it. The thing I liked, he didn't let it get away from him." Willis has decided he will not pitch winter ball.

--DH Gary Sheffield hit second in Detroit's lineup, the first time he's batted in that position since July 14, 1990 with Milwaukee. The idea was to maximize his number of at-bats to give him possibly an extra shot at hitting his 500th home run, but Sheffield didn't make it. Sheffield, who went 0-for-2 with two walks Saturday, entered the game needing one home run to become the 25th player to reach 500 in his career. "It's one of my theories to have some pop in the second spot," manager Jim Leyland said. "With Placido (Polanco) out, I'm going to go with that theory."

BY THE NUMBERS: 319 -- Career saves by Todd Jones of the Tigers, 235 of which came with Detroit and are the franchise record. He retired ranked 14th on the all-time saves list.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm just thankful I get to go out my way, because not enough players, not enough people do. I'd rather go out on my terms than grind it to the bitter end and have to rip the uniform off my body. As far as the 2008 Tigers go, (Manager) Jim (Leyland is not the Lone Ranger. I'm just as much a Tonto as anybody else is. So when you guys come up with reasons why this team didn't do what it was supposed to do, you're looking at one of them also. And as a player, I regret the fact that I wasn't able to go out there and take my medicine from the fans and from the media. Because it's important to finish what you started." -- RHP Todd Jones, shouldering his share of the blame for Detroit's season when announcing his retirement Sept. 25.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: September 29, 2008

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