Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quick Bits

To tell you the truth, I don’t really have a lot to say, but I signed up for Twitterfeed last night and I apparently screwed up by posting the final installment of 2010 and the AL Central too soon after it “found” my post from last week. Therefore, I want to post something today to make sure it’s working correctly. So here’s some Quick Bits for you:

• We’re down to three in our search for the final two starting pitchers (And I’ll put my neck on the line and say there’s a golden opportunity for Armando Galarraga to hone his command in Toledo and come back once someone in the Detroit rotation gets injured or starts to struggle. He just has to take advantage of it; as I said last time, his stuff looks plenty good enough). Some are including Eddie Bonine in the hunt along with Bonderman, Robertson, and Willis. However, while I think Bonine’s got a good shot at taking the injured Zach Miner’s role as the swing man in the bullpen, I believe the Tigers would likely only name him as a starter if two of the other three really crashed and burned over the final few spring training games. Everyone’s been kinda holding their collective breath, waiting for that to happen (especially with Dontrelle Willis), but so far, it hasn’t.

• Meanwhile, Lynn Henning thinks that the Tigers are going to release Dontrelle Willis. While that is a possibility and I think the Tigers came into spring training prepared to eat the $10-12 million on someone’s contract (after all, they released Gary Sheffield very close to the end of spring training last year), Henning’s primary argument seems to be that D-Train’s not throwing as hard as he used to (Or perhaps he was talking to Carlos Lee, who, when asked by FS Houston’s Jim Deshaies if he was impressed by Dontrelle’s pitching, replied, “Uhhh…not really”). John Parent at Motor City Bengals provides an excellent rebuttal to this argument, and I also think that Henning’s not providing a strong enough reason. It’s as if he wrote the bulk of this article weeks ago (likely focusing on command, not velocity), and then when Willis continued pitching effectively and not fitting his script, he decided to change “not throwing strikes” to “not throwing hard” and run the article anyways. But remember, Henning’s got a 50/50 chance of being right no matter what his argument is (command, velocity, tilted hats, whatever). Either Dontrelle will be released or he won’t be, but even if he is, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Henning knew about it.

• Matt Sussman at MLive writes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article about how to improve extra innings. I (along with most baseball fans, I suspect) don’t mind the current system (because you rarely get games that go beyond 12 innings or so, and once you get beyond that point, it’s late and you get kinda giddy and punchy anyways), but it made for an interesting read. His first suggestion (starting each extra inning with men on base) was actually a rule in the Olympics (as well as the World Baseball Classic, I believe), so it’s not as farfetched as it may seem. His only other suggestion that I might entertain is allowing one player to re-enter the game in extra innings.

• There seems to be an injury epidemic among closers in the AL Central. The major one is that Joe Nathan has a torn ligament in his elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery, which means his 2010 is over before it even started. However, the Twins lead such a charmed existence that some career minor leaguer is likely to come in from Triple-A and rack up, like, 60 saves or some ridiculous number like that. Indians’ closer Kerry Wood has a lat strain and will miss 6-8 weeks, and Bobby Jenks has been dealing with a calf injury, but he’s expected to be ready for Opening Day (he pitched yesterday, as a matter of fact). Nevertheless, Jose Valverde and Joakim Soria have gotta be just a little concerned.

• Finally, the Tigers play the Nationals tonight in a rare spring training night game. I know it’s only on the radio and not on television, but any chance of Pudge making the trip to Lakeland? (There was a time when I couldn’t bear the thought of him in a uniform other than the Olde English D, and I still miss him, but time has gotten me used to the concept. I still can’t watch him bat against the Tigers, though).

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