Blogs > Out of Left Field

A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tigers lineup vs. A's, series opener

The Tigers opened the homestand with a lineup combination they'd not used before, for a couple of reasons.

First, Victor Martinez was a late scratch at designated hitter with soreness in his side. He was replaced in the cleanup spot in the lineup by J.D. Martinez.

"He didn't want to come out, but we can't lose Vic for an extended period," manager Brad Ausmus said.

Next, the Tigers hit Austin Jackson in the ninth spot in the order, just a day after he'd been inserted in his old leadoff spot by Ausmus. The manager said not too read too much into it, that he'd just decided to flip-flop Jackson and Rajai Davis for the game, based on Davis' numbers vs. A's starter Scott Kazmir.

Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS
Austin Jackson, CF

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez (5-2, 2.64 ERA)

OAKLAND A'S (51-30):
Coco Crisp, CF
John Jaso, C
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Brandon Moss, RF
Josh Donaldson, DH
Stephen Vogt, 1B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Eric Sogard, 2B

Pitcher: Scott Kazmir (9-3, 2.66 ERA)

Miguel Cabrera continues to lead in final All-Star Game fan voting update

DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera continues to bury the competition at first base in the All-Star Game fan voting, but his Detroit Tigers teammates aren’t gaining any ground, as they attempt to catch the leaders at their respective positions.

Cabrera garnered nearly 680,000 votes over the last week, extending his lead over the White Sox’s Jose Abreu by nearly 300,000 votes, and now leads by 1.5 million. At 3,323,380 votes, Cabrera is the third-leading vote-getter in the American League, behind Jose Bautista (4,460,245) and Mike Trout (4,085,657).

The teams will be unveiled next weekend, on the July 6 All-Star selection show on ESPN.

With 404,418 votes in the last week, Victor Martinez (1,822,927 total votes) closed in on second-place David Ortiz (1,948,211) in the designated hitter race, while second-place Ian Kinsler (1,603,185) lost ground to Robinson Cano (2,474,924) among AL second basemen.

Torii Hunter (10th, 1,167,642 votes) is the only Tigers outfielder listed among the top 15 vote-getters.

Remembering 1984: Tigers fans share their fondest memories

It's been 30 years since the Detroit Tigers went to the World Series and won.

The franchise is honoring that last championship squad Monday night with a celebration prior to the game against the Oakland A's.

A large group of former players is expected to attend the ceremony, including: Rod Allen (now the TV color commentator on Fox Sports Detroit broadcasts), Doug Bair, Doug Baker, Juan Berenguer, Dave Bergman, Tom Brookens, Darrell Evans, Barbaro Garbey, John Grubb, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker.

Former coaches Dick Tracewski and Alex Grammas are scheduled to attend, as well.

Notable absences include: Kirk Gibson (manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks), Lance Parrish (manager of the Tigers' Double-A affiliate in Erie), Larry Herndon (a coach for the Tigers' Single-A Lakeland affiliate), Jack Morris (Twins broadcaster) and Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez, the 1984 Cy Young and MVP winner.


The National Anthem will be sung by Ray Parker Jr., whose hit song "Ghostbusters" came out in 1984.

Gates open at 5 p.m., and the first 20,000 through the turnstiles will get a commemorative road jersey from the 1980s. The franchise asks that fans be in their seats by 6:30 p.m. for the start of the ceremony. There is a question-and-answer session from 5-6 p.m. in the Big Cat Court.

We at The Oakland Press have been asking for your remembrances for the past few weeks, and here are some of them:

[To view the comments on the Facebook posts, click on the comments symbol below the picture]

Post by The Oakland Press.

Here is Pat Caputo's column from Monday on the 1984 Tigers, as well: [CLICK HERE]

Friday, June 27, 2014

Winning streak live chat, Friday, June 27

Last time we chatted, the Tigers had fallen into second place in the American League Central for the first time in a calendar year. Now, they're on a seven-game win streak, and have zipped back to the top of the standings.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Second-place Tigers live chat: 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 20

If there's an "upside" to the Tigers' awful 10-20 slide over the last month, it's that they're still only half a game behind the first-place Kansas City Royals. Join us Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. for a live chat, talking about some of the issues of the Tigers, and some of the potential fixes.

Ausmus comments discussed on Fox-2's 'Let It Rip' segment

The off-color comment made by Brad Ausmus was discussed on Thursday's "Let It Rip" segment on Fox-2 (WJBK), by a panel of guests.

Here's the clip of that segment, shared from the station's website:

Fox 2 News Headlines

Here are the original stories of the comment [CLICK HERE] and his subsequent apology [CLICK HERE].

Here is the original video:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tigers to honor 30th anniversary of 1984 team with June 30 ceremony

DETROIT — The “Bless You Boys” team of 1984 will be given a 30th birthday party on Monday, June 30, and everyone who buys a ticket will be invited.

The Detroit Tigers will honor their most recent World Series championship team with an on-field ceremony prior to that night’s game against the Oakland Athletics.

The list of players scheduled to attend (subject to change) includes Rod Allen, Doug Bair, Doug Baker, Juan Berenguer, Dave Bergman, Tom Brookens, Darrell Evans, Barbaro Garbey, Alex Grammas, John Grubb, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Dick Tracewski, Alan Trammell (the Diamondbacks have an off day) and Lou Whitaker.

The first 20,000 fans through the door will get a replica road jersey from that era, but all fans can participate in a pre-ceremony question-and-answer session in the Big Cat Court from 5-6 p.m.

We’re going to do much the same, asking you to send in either your favorite memory is of the 1984 Tigers team, or what question you’d ask them (personal or embarrassing/inappropriate ones aside), if given the chance. We’ll try to pose the best questions to the players.

Email them to

Mine, if you’re wondering, is once asking Kirk Gibson how many thousands of copies of that iconic front-page image he’s signed over the years. His response, as he signed another? “Obviously not all of them.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tigers designate Evan Reed for assignment, after a month of on-field struggles

The Tigers designated right-handed reliever Evan Reed for assignment on Wednesday, after he posted an 8.38 ERA over his last 10 appearances, dating back a month.

It had more to do with those on-field issues, than the off-the-field ones. Four weeks ago, the Detroit Police Department requested a warrant from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in the sexual assault investigation involving Reed.

Asked if the move had any relation to the off-field problem, manager Brad Ausmus responded with: "Absolutely not."

Right-handed reliever Chad Smith was added to the roster to replace Reed.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Hunter leaves game vs. Royals with an ironic hamstring cramp

DETROIT — Torii Hunter came out of Monday night’s game in the fourth inning Monday with a right hamstring cramp. He is day-to-day, according to the team.

After singling to shallow right field, Hunter appeared to grab his right hamstring after he rounded the base at first.

The 38-year-old Hunter has played in fewer than 140 games just once in the last eight seasons, and has appeared in 60 of the team’s 65 games this year, starting 56.

Of course, that makes the video of Hunter's appearance on the "Jim Rome on Showtime," when he teased LeBron James' cramp issues from Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Watch the video below.

Tigers and Royals face off in a first-place showdown

With just 1 1/2 games separating the first-place Tigers from the second-place Royals, this four-game series (extended by a makeup from the April 3 rainout) the top spot in the American League Central is definitively on the line this week.

The Tigers have won both series against the Royals this season, taking two to open the season, and sweeping the series in Kansas City May 2-4.

Rajai Davis LF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Torii Hunter RF
Austin Jackson CF
Nick Castellanos 3B
Alex Avila C
Eugenio Suarez SS

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, RHP (6-6, 4.61 ERA)

Nori Aoki, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Billy Butler, DH
Alex Gordon, LF
Salvador Perez, C
Lorenzo Cain, CF
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitcher: Jason Vargas, LHP (6-2, 3.30 ERA)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ausmus' favorite Father's Day memory sounds painful; 'He never played catch with me again'

DETROIT — It's probably pretty easy to assume Brad Ausmus’ favorite Father’s Day memory may not be the same as his father’s.

“I remember the last time my dad played catch with me in the in the back yard, and I broke his thumb, and he never played catch with me again,” joked the Tigers manager Sunday morning, recalling the incident with his father, Harry, who was a professor of European history at Southern Connecticut State University. “I was pretty young, probably in Little League.”

How hard was he throwing, that he broke his father’s thumb?

“Low to mid 100s,” he deadpanned.

“I don’t know how hard I was throwing. I think he just caught it wrong, to be honest.”

The Tigers’ skipper planned a low-key celebration of the holiday with his family after Sunday’s day game vs. the Minnesota Twins, especially since his daughters — Sophie, who just turned 16, and Abigail, who is almost 15 — just joined him in Michigan, after school let out in California.

“They were in Chicago (on the last road trip). They finished school last week, so they were here,” Ausmus said. “My dog arrived (Saturday). He was very excited to see me. Much more excited than my daughters were.”

It was not a day to eat out, though.

“We’ll eat at home. My wife made one of my favorite meals, so we’ll eat at the house,” he said. “It’s the one meal I get at home a year.”

Tigers try to win their second series in a month, in finale vs. Twins

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Austin Jackson, CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Rick Porcello, RHP (8-4, 4.04 ERA)

Danny Santana, SS
Joe Mauer, 1B
Brian Dozier, 2B
Josh Willingham, LF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Sam Fuld, CF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B

Pitcher: Rick Nolasco, RHP (4-5, 5.70 ERA)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

REPORT: Tigers recall contract of LHP Blaine Hardy

The Toledo Blade's John Wagner reported Saturday night that left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy had been called up to the big leagues after the Mud Hens' game.

Detroit's bullpen was taxed Saturday night, as four different relievers combined to throw 83 pitches over a three-inning span, as what was once an 11-1 game turn into a 12-9 win.

A non-roster invitee to spring training, the left-handed Hardy has appeared in 20 games for the Toledo Mud Hens, posting a 2.68 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks in 47 innings pitched. He gives the Tigers something they've lacked since Luke Putkonen went on the disabled list — a long man.

No immediate indication was given who might be leaving the Tigers' roster to make room for Hardy.

There are several options.

If it's as a replacement for an as-of-yet undisclosed injury to any one of the Tigers relievers, then the move is self-explanatory. Ian Krol, who went 1 1/3 innings for his first big-league save, said he was battling through soreness in his biceps tendon, but that it was not serious enough to keep him from pitching tomorrow.

Corey Knebel is the low man on the totem pole. He's made six appearances, posting an ERA of 6.75 and a WHIP of 1.650. He's also one of the three relievers who did not pitch, so it's not likely to be Knebel, if this is just a move to bring a fresh arm in.

Lefty Phil Coke, always the object of scrutiny, had posted a 1.80 ERA in six appearances so far this month before Saturday, when he gave up three runs in the eighth inning on three hits.

Evan Reed has posted a 8.22 ERA in his eight appearances since May 22, including one earned run allowed Saturday, when he couldn't get out of the seventh inning. That span started a day after the Detroit Police Department requested a warrant from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in an ongoing sexual assault investigation involving Reed.

[UPDATE: The Tigers called up Hardy Sunday morning, and optioned Knebel to Triple-A Toledo.]

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Tigers clinging to a 1.5 game lead in AL Central, taking on the Twins

The Tigers' lead in the American League Central is under two games for the first time since April 30, sitting at just 1.5 games, as they head into the second game of the series against the Minnesota Twins.

Here are the lineups:

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
JD Martinez, LF
Austin Jackson CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez, RHP (2-2, 2.24 ERA)

Danny Santana, SS
Sam Fuld, CF
Joe Mauer, 1B
Josh Willingham, LF
Kendrys Morales, DH
Oswaldo Arcia, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Eric Fryer, C
Eduardo Escobar, 2B

Pitcher: Samuel Deduno, RHP (2-4, 4.45 ERA)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Luke Putkonen has bone spur removed from elbow, is out indefinitely

DETROIT — Initially, Luke Putkonen was elated when he heard the words “no surgery” from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, the same guy who performed his first Tommy John surgery before his freshman year at North Carolina.

It meant he would not need another Tommy John surgery.

But he still ended up going on Andrews’ operating table three weeks later, having arthroscopic surgery Thursday in Pensacola, Fla., to remove a bone spur (posterior osteophyte) from his right elbow.

“Hopefully that’ll take care of his issues,” said Detroit Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand, who said that Andrews smoothed the area out. “It’s a bony growth. It’s not a bone chip.”

Putkonent will be re-examined after six-to-eight weeks of rest and rehabilitation, but there is no timetable set for his return to the Tigers.

He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 19 with inflammation in his throwing elbow. The training staff thought they’d gotten the inflammation cleared up, and had him make three rehabilitation appearances in the minors in early May, before it flared back up again. The team sought and received a second opinion from Andrews late last month.

“We knew he had the osteophytes when we did the MRI. Those are common. You can have a lot of guys that’ll have those type of bony type changes in their elbow from pitching,” Rand said. “The question is, are you going to be able to get that quiet where you can go through and have no issues with it, and obviously he wasn’t able to.”

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Joel Hanrahan getting close to facing live hitters

DETROIT — More than 40 days ago, the Detroit Tigers inked a deal with former big-league closer Joel Hanrahan, in the hopes that he could eventually help the bullpen.

Everyone involved knew it would be a ‘later’ proposition, rather than sooner.

The 32-year-old Hanrahan, who was just two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary after Tommy John surgery when he signed with the Tigers, is nearly ready to take the next step in his rehabilitation, and face live hitters.

“Joel’s been throwing bullpens and once we feel comfortable his next step will be to face hitters in live BP (batting practice) sessions,” Tigers head trainer Kevin Rand said.

Hanrahan had a small hitch in his rehabilitation, when the Tigers slowed his progression, but he appears to be past that now.

“He’s been throwing bullpens fairly consistently for the past couple weeks. We had shut him down for a short period of time to kind of build up arm strength . We took him through a long toss progression and now we’ve taken him back through bullpens,” Rand said. “We’re hoping at this point that we can kind of get over the hump in the near future as throwing to some live hitters. He’s close to live hitters at this point.”

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Dirks progresses to live BP swings, should get rehab assignment within 10 days

DETROIT — Detroit Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks took his first live batting practice swings on Friday, according to manager Brad Ausmus, who expected Dirks to receive a rehab assignment within the next week to 10 days.

“Probably, unless there’s some sort of setback,” Ausmus said. “I don’t have a date, not in terms of a rehab. I’m sure it’ll be within the next week to 10 days. But there’s no date, as of now.”

Head trainer Kevin Rand said Dirks took some live swings in an intrasquad game in Lakeland, Fla., and will play in a couple more intrasquad games.

Even if Dirks requires the maximum 10 days before getting his assignment, and stays the full 20 days in the minors allowed on a rehab assignment, that would put him in Detroit right at the All-Star break.

Dirks had microdiscectomy on March 10, during spring training, and was expected to miss 12 weeks. He began light baseball activities on May 10, then graduated to taking full swings two weeks later.

“Yeah, I talked to Dirks actually today. He said he’s feeling better,” Ausmus said. “Overall, he’s making progress like he’s on schedule, he’s making progress like he’s supposed to.”

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The 'What the ($&%*) is wrong with the Tigers' live chat

Since May 18, when the Detroit Tigers were up seven games in the American League Central Division — the biggest lead in baseball at the time — they've gone 6-15, watching their lead slashed to just two games.

They've been outscored 81-128, and seen their run differential go from plus-55 to plus-2.

Problems have cropped up in nearly every facet of the game, leaving us to wonder, 'What the (#&%*) is wrong with the Tigers?'

We'll discuss in a live chat, starting at 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tigers replace Luis Exposito as Toledo's backup catcher, acquiring Manny Pina from Seattle

The Detroit Tigers changed up their catching depth in the minor leagues a bit, acquiring former Kansas City Royals backstop Manny Pina from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later.

Backup catcher Luis Exposito was released to make room on the roster at Detroit’s Triple-A affiliate in Toledo. Originally tweeted out by the Jackson Generals' account, the move was confirmed by changes to the transaction page and the Mud Hens’ roster page on the respective web sites.

Pina, 27, is a native of Venezuela, and started out in the Texas Rangers organization after signing as an amateur free agent in 2004. Traded to the Royals in 2009, Pina played four games with the team’s big-league club in 2011, and one in 2012.

He has three career hits — two of them doubles — in 16 at-bats at the MLB level, and has hit .249 in 615 minor-league games. Pina was hitting .279 with four doubles and two homers in 17 games at Double-A Jackson, after being demoted from Triple-A Tacoma after four games.

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Tigers reportedly ink 14th-round pick RHP Josh Heddinger

When Vanderbilt — one of the main collegiate pipelines for the Detroit Tigers’ farm system — faced Georgia Tech in a winner-take-all game in the 2013 regional championship game, it was eventual Tigers draft pick Buck Farmer that the Commodores bested that day.

But it was Farmer’s teammate, Josh Heddinger, who’d put the Rambling Wreck in the position to play that game, pitching a complete-game, two-hit shutout of the Commodores a day earlier, forcing the if-necessary contest.

They could soon be teammates again, as Heddinger reportedly reached a deal Tuesday with the Tigers after he was drafted in the 14th round of last weekend’s draft.’s Jim Callis reported he signed for $100,000.

Farmer went in the fifth round of last year’s draft, and has been part of the exceptional rotation at the Tigers’ Class A West Michigan affiliate.

While Heddinger has a similar build — 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds — and delivery to his former college teammate, he had far less consistent success on the collegiate level, going just 10-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 27 career starts at Georgia Tech. His junior season was not exceptional, either, as he went 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA, walking 33 and striking out 64 in 82 1/3 innings pitched.

He's not unused to pitching in big games, though. Heddinger started the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title game as a freshman, a year to the day after leading Buford High to the Georgia Class AA state championship.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Miguel Cabrera leaves with apparent injury in sixth inning

DETROIT — "Full speed" for Miguel Cabrera is always a relative term.

Still the Detroit Tigers' slugger did not appear to be running at full speed on a fourth-inning double and, after a two-out single in the sixth, came out of the game.

Head trainer Kevin Rand checked on Cabrera at first base, then the two went back to the dugout. Don Kelly came in as the pinch runner.

The official diagnosis is left hamstring tightness. He is day-to-day.

Cabrera had offseason surgery to repair core muscle damage that slowed him for much of the second half of last season.

Cabrera has not missed a start this season, but has left three games early. All were either for precautionary reasons, or in a blowout loss. The last time Cabrera left a game early was in the 12-4 loss to the Rangers on May 25, again with hamstring cramp.

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Miggy extends lead in All-Star Game voting, now 3rd overall in AL

DETROIT — Several of the positional leaders — including Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera — merely extended their leads in the third All-Star Game balloting update, released Sunday evening.

Cabrera led White Sox rookie Jose Abreu by 359,510 votes a week ago, but extended that lead to 632,361 by picking up nearly 500,000 votes in a week. Cabrera now has 1,477,420 votes, ranking third overall in the American League behind only Jose Bautista (2,135,223), who leapfrogged over Mike Trout (1,945,170) for the AL lead.

Ian Kinsler (887,544) is still second behind Robinson Cano (1,111,880) among second basemen, but lost ground, falling nearly 150,000 votes behind in the span of a week.

Victor Martinez (843,215) is third among designated hitters, behind Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz (1,404,275) and Boston’s David Ortiz (1,036,055)

Torii Hunter (666,116) is 10th among outfielders. No other Tigers are top-five at their positions.

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Tigers go for season series sweep of Boston on Sunday Night Baseball

The Detroit Tigers go for a series sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball. With a win, the Tigers have a chance to sweep the season series from Boston for the first time in franchise history.

Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Eugenio Suarez, SS

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez, RHP (2-2, 2.15 ERA)

Brock Holt, LF
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Daniel Nava, RF
Stephen Drew, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Pitcher: John Lackey, RHP (6-4, 3.28 ERA) goes behind the scenes with Justin Verlander in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse

There were video cameras (and boom mics) following Justin Verlander around the clubhouse on Saturday. It was a little odd, to be honest with you.

This behind-the-scenes video is why:
(and no, I'm not in the background ... I checked)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Local players selected in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft

West Bloomfield's Dazon Cole was drafted by the Braves in Round 29 of the MLB Draft on Saturday, at the same
time as he was finishing off his high school career with a loss in regionals. Cole is a Central Michigan University
(The Oakland Press/PATRICK McINTYRE)

A dozen players with ties to Oakland County schools, or Michigan colleges were drafted in the three days of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft, most of them on the final day Saturday.

Round/Pick.....Player, school.............................................Drafting team 
5/152................Jordan Foley, Central Michigan RHP..........Yankees [STORY]
6/195...............Andrew Sohn, Western Michigan SS*..........Cardinals [STORY]
13/391.............Matt Trowbridge, Central Michigan LHP.....Orioles [STORY]
14/424.............James Borque, Univ. of Michigan RHP........Nationals
15/455.............Jimmy Pickens, Michigan State RF*.............Reds
16/489.............Devan Ahart, University of Akron*..............Dodgers
20/610.............Trent Szkutnik, Univ. of Michigan LHP.......Tigers
23/682..............Joel Fisher, Michigan State C*.....................Phillies
27/815..............Jake Paulson, Oakland University RHP*.....Reds
29/883..............Dazon Cole, West Bloomfield HS RHP*....Braves [STORY]
31/940.............Grant Reuss, Cranbrook Kingswood LHP*.Tigers
34/1030...........Sammy Stevens, Brother Rice HS C*..........Tigers
39/1178...........Jake Morton, Oakland University RHP.........Indians

* — Andrew Sohn is a Bloomfield Hills native, and a graduate of Brother Rice HS
Jimmy Pickens is a graduate of Brother Rice HS
Devan Ahart is a graduate of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s School
Joel Fisher is a Farmington Hills native, and a graduate of Farmington HS
Jake Paulson is a graduate of Walled Lake Central HS
Dazon Cole is a Pontiac native

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Complete list of the Detroit Tigers' 2014 draft class

_________________DAY 1_________________


1. Derek Hill, CF, Elk Grove (Calif.) HS [STORY/SIGNED]

2. Spencer Turnbull, RHP, University of Alabama [SIGNED/STORY]

_________________DAY 2_________________


3. Grayson Greiner, C, University of South Carolina [SIGNED/STORY]

4. Adam Ravenelle, RHP, Vanderbilt [SIGNED/STORY]

5. Shane Zeile, C, UCLA [SIGNED/STORY]

6. Ross Kivett, CF, Kansas State [SIGNED/STORY]

7. Joey Pankake, 3B, University of South Carolina [SIGNED/STORY]

8. Artie Lewicki, RHP, University of Virginia [SIGNED]

9. Josh Laxer, RHP, Ole Miss [SIGNED]

10. Paul Voelker, RHP, Dallas Baptist [SIGNED]

_________________DAY 3_________________


11. A.J. Ladwig, RHP, Wichita State [SIGNED]

12. Garrett Mattlage, SS, Texas State University [SIGNED]

13. Will Allen, C, Ole Miss [SIGNED]

14. Josh Heddinger, RHP, Georgia Tech (pictured above) [SIGNED/STORY]

15. Michael Gerber, CF, Creighton [SIGNED]

16. Chase Rader, 3B, Coffeyville (KS) CC

17. Corey Baptist, 1B, St. Petersburg (FL) College [SIGNED]

18. Will Maddox, 3B, Tennessee [SIGNED]

19. Parker French, RHP, Texas [Returned to school]

20. Trent Szkutnik, LHP, University of Michigan [SIGNED]

21. Whit Mayberry, RHP, University of Virginia [SIGNED]

22. Michael Thomas, C, Kentucky [SIGNED]

23. Brett Pirtle, 2B, Mississippi State [SIGNED]

24. Gabe Hemmer, RHP, San Diego Christian College [SIGNED]

25. Gage Smith, RHP, Florida State University [SIGNED]

26. Jack Fisher, RHP, Wake Forest [SIGNED]

27. Tyler Ford, LHP, University of Houston [SIGNED]

28. Will Kengor, SS, Slippery Rock (PA) [SIGNED]

29. Jacob Butler, RHP, St. Francis (IL) [SIGNED]

30. Spenser Watkins, RHP, Western Oregon Univ. [SIGNED]

31. Grant Reuss, LHP, Bloomfield Hills (MI) Cranbrook Kingswood HS

32. Kenton St. John, LHP, University of South Alabama [SIGNED]

33. Jonathan Perrin, RHP, Oklahoma State

34. Sammy Stevens, C, Birmingham (MI) Brother Rice HS

35. Dave Hollins, 3B, Orchard Park (NY) HS

36. Nate Fury, RHP, Louisiana State [SIGNED]

37. Patrick Mahomes, RHP, Whitehouse (TX) HS

38. Magglio Ordonez, 1B, American Heritage (FL) School [SIGNED]

39. Taylor Sanagorski, C, Bishop Carroll Catholic (KS) HS

40. Alex Faedo, RHP, Alonso Senior HS (FL)

Brother Rice grad Andrew Sohn first local player taken in 2014 MLB Draft

Western Michigan University shortstop Andrew Sohn, a Birmingham Brother Rice graduate, was selected by
the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

(Photo courtesy of

Bloomfield Hills native and Brother Rice graduate Andrew Sohn was the only local player selected on the MLB Draft’s first two days.

Sohn was undrafted out of high school, but picked in the sixth round by the St. Louis Cardinals after leading WMU in hitting (.323) as a junior. He was the highest pick for a Western Michigan player since 2008.

“I am excited and can’t wait to get started with the best organization in the Major Leagues,” Sohn said in a release on the Broncos web site. “I want to thank all of my coaches and teammates along the way, as well as my family. It was an amazing experience playing at Western Michigan University and under Coach Gernon. I really matured and grew during the time I was there, and want to thank the coaches again for all the time they put in to make us better. Also, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys than my teammates to share my college career with.”

Sohn was first-team All-Mid-American Conference as a sophomore and, after being a preseason selection for MAC Player of the Year by Baseball America, was a second-team All-MAC honoree.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

No move needed at shortstop; Suarez's knee better, upgraded to 'hour-to-hour'

DETROIT — Better news at least.

With the Detroit Tigers finding out that both of their nicked-up shortstops are feeling better as of Friday afternoon, they won’t need to make any moves to cover their collective backsides.

“I don’t know if we dodged anything: We have two shortstops, and they’re both slightly injured,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t know that we can call that dodging anything.”

But no moves at least, and nobody’s headed to the disabled list.

“As of right now, yeah,” Ausmus said. “I feel like we don’t need to (make a move) at this point.”

Suarez was not available for Thursday’s game, dealing with the aftermath of injuring his knee sliding into second base after his first big-league at-bat Wednesday. An MRI showed no significant structural damage.

“He looked good. He’s walking good. He was on the elliptical a little bit. They’re going to treat him a little more. We feel like he’s in good shape, really,” Ausmus said of the youngster’s marked improvement from one day to the next.

Good enough to play Friday night? Or still day-to-day?

“That will be determined,” Ausmus said. “He’s hour-to-hour.”

No Suarez Thursday left Andrew Romine as the Tigers’ only option at shortstop — but he’s nicked up, too. In that same Wednesday game, Romine felt his shoulder pop out on a diving defensive play.

“He’s good,” Ausmus said. “He said his shoulder is much better today.”

If they’d have had to make a move, it likely would’ve been Hernan Perez called into action.

Danny Worth, who was designated for assignment Wednesday to make room for Suarez, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Toledo. He can refuse the assignment, because it’s the second time he’s been DFA’ed.

Theoretically, Worth could accept the assignment and then come back to the Tigers if one of the two shortstops on the active roster went on the disabled list.

Tigers add three college position players and a reliever in rounds 4-7 of MLB Draft

After taking both positions earlier, the Tigers grabbed another Southeastern Conference pitcher and another college catcher.

In the fourth round, Detroit selected Vanderbilt pitcher Adam Ravenelle, a hard-throwing reliever whose college career was marred by injury. It’s considered a risky pick, given his limited track record in college, but the pick could have upside, giving the Tigers a quick-to-advance prospect, if he pans out.

They landed catcher Shane Zeile of UCLA (above, left) — the nephew of former big-leaguer Todd Zeile — in the fifth round. Detroit took South Carolina catcher Grayson Greiner in the third round.

Earlier in the day, Detroit drafted South Carolina catcher Grayson Greiner in the third round, after taking Alabama starter Spencer Turnbull in the second round.

In the sixth round, the Tigers took Kansas State center fielder Ross Kivett, who stayed in college after being drafted by the Indians in the 10th round last year, coming off Big 12 Player of the Year honors. The gamble didn’t really pay off (other than being drafted four rounds higher), as Kansas State finished last, and Kivett was moved from the outfield to second base, but he could be a future utility guy.

Greiner’s teammate, third baseman Joey Pankake, was the Tigers pick in the seventh round. A high school pitcher drafted by the Rangers in 2011, Pankake moved to the infield with the Gamecocks, playing shortstop for two seasons before sliding over this year.

The Tigers have taken all college players since picking prep center fielder Derek Hill in the first round.

Tigers grab big catcher, Grayson Greiner, in third round

Forty years ago, the Tigers took a "big" catcher in the first round, but Friday's third-round pick, Grayson Greiner, is two or three inches taller, 10 pounds heavier than the guy nicknamed "The Big Wheel," Lance Parrish.

The backstop for the University of South Carolina, as well as the USA Baseball collegiate teams, Greiner is listed at 6-foot-5 or 6-6, and 220 pounds.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tigers select Alabama RHP Spencer Turnbull with 2nd round pick of MLB Draft

After going away from their normal modus operandi of selecting power arms by taking a high school position player in the first round, the Tigers went right back to the norm in the second round, tabbing Alabama right-hander Spencer Turnbull with the 63rd overall pick.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder features a fastball that sits in the mid-90s (hitting as high as 98 mph) making him profile as a guy who might end up in the bullpen in the future. He also has a slider that could develop into a better-than-average pitch, and a change-up, so he could remain as a starter, as well.

Despite pitching for one of the state of Mississippi's powerhouse prep programs, Madison Central, Turnbull was not drafted out of high school. He limited opponents to a .192 batting average against this season with the Crimson Tide, posting a 2.22 ERA, striking out 61 in 93 1/3 innings pitched as a junior. But he also walked 47, plunked 13, and tossed nine wild pitches, so control is not necessarily a strong suit.

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Tigers select prep CF Derek Hill with first-round pick in MLB Draft

Photo courtesy of MLB
Derek Hill (front) and his mother share a moment of happiness
after the Tigers picked Hill 23rd overall in Thursday's
first round of the draft.
A guest at the New Jersey MLB Draft headquarters for Thursday’s proceedings, high school center fielder Derek Hill was asked his favorite player. 

He did not hesitate in his answer, naming Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter, the nine-time Gold Glove winner.

When — and if — Hill signs, he’ll be in the same organization.


The Tigers selected the speedster from Elk Grove High School in California with the 23rd pick in the first round of the MLB Draft.

A University of Oregon recruit, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Hill is one of the fastest players in the draft, running a sub-6.4-second 60-yard dash, and is the best defensive outfielder. His father, Orsino, a former minor-league player, is an area scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“My dad tells me to be humble and to appreciate this,” Hill told the Sacramento Bee. “I’ve been around the game my entire life, so I know how to act, what to say. It was a little more nerve-wracking at first for games but I just did the best I could, but it’s been an absolute blast. We’re almost there. Can’t wait.”

Several of the Tigers’ other favorite prospects — UNLV starter Erick Fedde, Virginia closer Nick Howard, TCU lefty Brandon Finnegan, Wichita St. first baseman Casey Gillaspie — went in the picks right before Detroit’s.

The Tigers have only drafted 23rd overall once before, in 1979, selecting Livonia High’s Chris Baker, as a compensatory pick for losing free agent Jim Slaton to the Brewers.

Detroit picks next at No. 63 in the second round. [UPDATED STORY]

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Don't be surprised if you hear Hernan Perez is coming up Friday

DETROIT — Of the top two young middle infielders in the Detroit Tigers system, Hernan Perez was not the first one to get the call-up to the majors this season, and take a turn in the shortstop carousel.

But he might get a start before Euenio Suarez does.

Here’s why:

Suarez was called up Wednesday afternoon, and made his big-league debut later that night, winding up hurting his knee in his first at-bat.

Earlier in the game, starter Andrew Romine partially dislocated his shoulder on a diving defensive play.

With Suarez unable to take his scheduled start Thursday, that left the Tigers with Don Kelly, who has a total of 20 big-league innings (two starts) at shortstop on his resume, as the backup shortstop for the game.

He was on deck when the game ended, meaning he’d have gone out to short for the first time since 2007, if the Tigers had tied it up.

“We were down to our last out, so I don’t know that I’d want to throw Donnie out there for multiple innings, if I can possibly avoid it, so pinch-hitting earlier was a bigger risk,” manager Brad Ausmus, who wouldn’t tip which way he was leaning for Friday’s game. “Well, you certainly don’t generally want to run a team out there with a couple of people who can play shortstop. We’ll have to re-evaluate tomorrow, see how he (Suarez) feels. If it’s significantly better, great. If he doesn’t, then a decision might have to be made. No decision will be made until we talk to him tomorrow.”

While Suarez felt OK after Wednesday’s game, he was limping around the clubhouse Thursday morning. The team sent him for an MRI.

“The news was generally good. We’re hoping it’ll just be a few days,” Ausmus said. “Because of the position, obviously, we’ll have to see how he feels in the morning. But they don’t feel it’s major structural damage.”

That’s a lot the same diagnosis made on Romine’s shoulder. He said he felt it pop out when he landed awkwardly on a diving play. He stayed on the ground for several minutes, clearly in pain.

“I thought I broke something, for sure,” Romine said. “I wasn’t sure what I did, but I wanted to make sure nothing was broken before I tried to push off on it.”

Romine went for X-rays, which found no structural damage. He tested the shoulder, swinging right-handed (the biggest concern with a left shoulder injury) before acknowledging he could start Thursday’s game.

“I’ll play as much as I can,” said Romine, still clearly in pain, after the game.

If either Romine or Suarez can't go, don't be surprised if someone goes to the disabled list, and the Tigers call up Perez to cover themselves.

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Tigers look to avoid 5-game losing skid in finale with Jays

The Detroit Tigers hadn't lost more than two straight at any point until their last 16 games — when they've had losing streaks of four, three and now four again.

The Tigers can avoid extending that to five by salvaging the final game of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday at 1 p.m. The Tigers have not lost five straight games since April 22-27, 2012.

Eugenio Suarez (above, left) was supposed to start the game, but was scratched after injuring his knee in his MLB debut Wednesday night.

Here are the lineups:

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, RHP (6-4, 3.99 ERA)


Pitcher: J.A. Happ, LHP (4-2, 4.10 ERA)

Five keys to Wednesday's loss to the Blue Jays

DETROIT — The slide continues.

The Tigers (31-24) lost their fourth game in a row, falling 8-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

In the past 17 days the Tigers have had:

• 12 losses in 16 games.

• Three losing streaks of three or more games, after no skid of more than two games in the first 39 played.

• Had their divisional lead cut in half, despite equally lackluster play by the rest of the division.

• No series wins in the five they’ve played, splitting only the series in Oakland.

Here are five key points in the loss:

FIRST INNING >> Melky Cabrera launched a solo home run into the right-field seats — the sixth home run allowed by Rick Porcello in his previous 19 1/3 innings pitched — but Miguel Cabrera matched it in the bottom of the first, leaving it a 1-1 tie after an inning. In the third inning, Ian Kinsler launched his first home run since May 12, making it 2-1. At that point, the Tigers had scored 12 of their previous 13 runs by way of the long ball. [CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO]

SIXTH INNING >> Porcello gave up the lead, allowing two-out doubles by Cabrera and Adam Lind, sandwiched around a walk to Jose Bautista. The shot by Lind to dead center got over the head of Austin Jackson, scoring two runs to make it 3-2 Blue Jays.

“It’s a good hitting team. To pitch deep into the game is definitely a positive, but at the same time, the inning that I gave up the two runs I got two quick outs, gave up a hit and a walk and found myself in a tough position and gave up a double to Lind. I think that situation definitely could’ve been prevented. It’s frustrating when you give up runs with two outs, especially after those first two hitters. I was throwing the ball good. I was getting into a rhythm. I just didn’t make a good enough to Lind to get out of it. As it turns out, that was a turning point in the game,” Porcello said.

“When you have two outs, you’re in the drivers seat in that inning. The walk bothered me, and the hit bothered me too obviously. Then I got put into a situation where you’ve got a very good RBI hitter up. I felt like I made a pretty good pitch to him, but he put a good swing on it. He drive it in the alley and scored two and that was the difference.”

FOURTH AND SIXTH INNINGS >> Kinsler would end both innings with a pop fly to the right side, stranding the bases loaded. The second time was particularly egregious, as the Tigers loaded the bases on two walks and a single to chase Jays starter R.A. Dickey. Lefty reliever Aaron Loup struck out pinch hitter J.D. Martinez, and got Rajai Davis to pop out in foul territory on the first pitch, before inducing Kinsler’s foul fly, as well.

“Our big inning was when we had the bases loaded …. But that (coming up empty) is going to happen. Teams will go through that,” Nick Castellanos said. “But when we get out of this storm, we’re going to be much better.”

Three straight right-handed batters went down weakly, when they all had the platoon advantage, continuing a recent run when the Tigers have struggled against left-handed pitching. [CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO]

“Well, I mean, that was the turning point, for us. Loup did his job, even against right-handed bats. That was really kind of a turning point for us, offensively. We just kind of scuffled to get that big hit,” manager Brad Ausmus said, noting that — minus the long ball — the Tigers were completely unable to get a big hit.

“Well, I mean, that was the issue. I don’t know that you can get any more specific. We had some opportunities. We were unable to come up with the big hit tonight. The converse is, Lind came up with the big hit for them. That was kind of the turning point for the game.”

EIGHTH INNING >> If one hit defined the way the Tigers have been going, it’s Bautista’s cue shot that completely fooled Castellanos. It appeared to take a left turn on a bounce, sending Castellanos sprawling, as he tried to redirect. It put two on for Lind, who made it 5-2 with a double to right.  [CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO] Phil Coke relieved Evan Reed for the Tigers with the bases loaded and one out, and got out of the jam with just one more run tacked on. [CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO]

EIGHTH INNING >> The Tigers put two in scoring position after the Jays threw away a potential double-play ball off the bat of just-called-up rookie Eugenio Suarez, but the former Blue Jay Davis stranded them there with his third strikeout of the night.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

REPORT: Shortstop Eugenio Suarez to be called up from Toledo

DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers clearly needed help at shortstop all season long, but hesitated to rush one o their two minor-league prospects to fill the gap.

Until now.

According to the Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) Twitter account, the Tigers have promoted Eugenio Suarez from Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers have not yet announced the promotion, nor the corresponding move. [UPDATED: The Tigers recalled the contract of Suarez from Toledo, and designated Danny Worth for assignment.]

Suarez started the season at Double-A Erie, but was promoted to the team’s top farm club on May 21.

Suarez hit .284 in 42 games at Double-A Erie (.347 on-base percentage, .503 slugging percentage, .850 OPS) with 14 doubles and six home runs. He hit .302 (.404 OBP, .535 SLG, .939 OPS) with two home runs and four doubles in 12 games at Toledo.

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Yesterday's breakfast for June 3

Plenty to report from Comerica Park on Wednesday, the feature we like to call "Yesterday's Breakfast," in honor of former manager Jim Leyland, who called all rehashing of day-old subjects "chewing yesterday's breakfast."

Max Scherzer gets a kick out of being in USA Today crossword, suggests alternate answer
Tigers will get injury update on Iglesias
RoboCop throws out first pitch [WITH VIDEOS]
Joe Nathan can't catch a break in another rough ninth inning [WITH VIDEOS]
Going forward, Joe Nathan still expects to close games, hasn't asked out of the role [WITH VIDEOS]
Photo gallery from the game
MLB Draft is coming up; current Tigers remember what that wait is like

Monday, June 2, 2014

Tigers still favorites to win it all, according to oddsmaker

Despite winning just four of their last 14 games, and dropping three of four series, leaving them 17-12 in May, the Detroit Tigers are still favorites to win the American League Central, the American League, and the World Series, according to oddsmaker Bovada.

In fact, Bovada gives the Tigers better odds (6-to-1) to win it all than it did on May 1, when the Tigers were listed at 13-to-2.

The San Francisco Giants (7-to-1), Oakland A’s (9-to-1), St. Louis Cardinals (9-to-1) and Toronto Blue Jays (10-to-1) all improved their odds over the last month, while the preseason favorite Los Angeles Dodgers (8-to-1) slid another spot.

Bovada gives the Tigers 1-to-10 odds (4-to-11 last month) to win the AL Central, and 3-to-1 odds (13-to-4 last month) to win the pennant.

Miguel Cabrera (7-to-2) remains behind Mike Trout (8-to-5) in the odds for the AL Most Valuable Player award, while teammate Victor Martinez is sixth at 12-to-1 odds.

After ranking only behind Felix Hernandez in the odds for the AL Cy Young, Max Scherzer (15-to-2) and Justin Verlander (12-to-1) slipped to fifth and eighth, respectively.

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