Tag:Indians
Posted on: June 27, 2008 6:51 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2008 7:25 pm
 

Watch out for the Lions? Hurdle has hope

The Detroit Lions have one playoff win in the last 51 years. There's no reason to think they're headed for the Super Bowl.

No reason but this one: Clint Hurdle says the Lions of 2007 were a lot like his Rockies of 2006. And the 2007 Rockies, as you may remember, made it to the World Series.

Hurdle was born in Michigan, and he remains a big fan of the state's teams. With the Rockies in Detroit this weekend, Hurdle had a chance to speak with long-time Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell -- and also with Lions coach Rod Marinelli.

"I felt the same way about the Rockies as I feel about the Lions, that they'd have their day, and then they'd be off and running," Hurdle said. "Rod and I talked about the common fabric of their '07 season and our '06 season. Because in '06, we were on top of the division after the All-Star break, and within a three-week period we had fallen to the bottom of the division."

The Lions started last season 6-2, then lost six straight games before finishing 7-9.

"I told him we'd get together and share some of the lessons I think I learned from that ('06) season," Hurdle said. "You never know how close you really are."

*****

The Cardinals lost two of three this week in Detroit, but they left an impression.

"The Cardinals are a much better team than I thought," Tiger manager Jim Leyland said. "I think they're really good. I was really impressed. They run the bases better than anyone we've played. They compete as good as anyone we've played."

Leyland was especially impressed that Albert Pujols was able to go 4-for-4 in his first game off the disabled list.

"That's the worst thing that could have happened to general managers," he said. "Now nobody will want to go on a rehab assignment."

*****

One thing to think about as baseball discusses the future of maple bats: Some players could have trouble making an adjustment.

One hitting coach said that maple distorts hitting almost the way that aluminum bats do, because maple is a harder wood than ash. Some hitters have been using 31-ounce maple bats, and because the wood is so hard they can still make solid contact when they get jammed.

"With ash at 31 ounces, you've got nothing," the coach said.

*****

Trot Nixon is just 5-for-32 in his first nine games for the Mets, so it's hard to say he's made much of an impact. But there are those in Cleveland who think the Indians miss his presence, if not his .251 batting average.

"We've struggled to get an identity this year," third baseman Casey Blake said. "I think last year Trot Nixon really helped us."

 *****

Last August, the Tigers' Carlos Guillen hit a 3:30 a.m. walkoff home run to win a rain-delayed game against the Yankees. Wednesday night against the Cardinals, Guillen went 4-for-5 in a game that included a 2 1/2-hour rain delay.

Is there a connection?

"Someone told me a long time ago that a lot of guys waste time during rain delays," Guillen said. "A lot of guys just play cards. I try to stay loose. I ride the (stationary) bike. I stay focused. In this game, you've got to take advantage of anything you can."

Posted on: June 13, 2008 9:21 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2008 9:23 pm
 

Russell Martin: 'I still miss the infield'

Everyone in baseball talks about the game's catching shortage. Teams are always looking for players who might be converted to catcher. So why would the Dodgers think about moving Russell Martin to another spot?

The answer is they're not -- not yet. But Dodger people will tell you that it's entirely possible that Martin could become their second baseman or third baseman in two or three years, particularly if catching prospect Lucas May (now at Double-A Jacksonville) develops into a big-league player.

Martin is so good behind the plate that he won the National League's gold glove in 2007 (and the silver slugger, too). But he was a third baseman in junior college, and when he was growing up in Montreal, he was a shortstop.

"You've got to realize, I idolized Ozzie Smith," Martin said. "If I saw something he did, I'd go out the next day and try to do it myself. I had to learn to love to catch. I enjoy everything about it now, but I still miss the infield."

Martin has started four games at third base this year, as Joe Torre has tried to get his bat in the lineup on days when he doesn't catch. Torre said he thinks Martin is quick enough (and hits enough) to play in the middle of the infield.

Martin says he'll do whatever the organization asks. But when I asked him what he'd say if they suggested a permanent move to the infield, his eyes lit up.

"I'd change in a heartbeat," he said. "I'd jump at it, for sure."

*****

The Indians have known for a while that Victor Martinez was playing with a bad elbow, which is why they weren't alarmed by his complete loss of power (no home runs in 198 at-bats). But when Martinez joined Travis Hafner, Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona on Cleveland's disabled list this week, it almost ensured that C.C. Sabathia will be traded next month.

Indians officials would love to see a bidding war for Sabathia between the Yankees and Red Sox, but one other team they're keeping their eye on is Philadelphia.

*****

With their sweep of the White Sox this week, the Tigers aren't in sell mode yet. But if they ever get there, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Kenny Rogers.

Rogers has a 1.24 ERA in his last four starts, and he would be one of the most marketable Tigers. He's also on record as saying he wants to end his career as a Tiger, a sentiment he repeated today.

"I don't want to pitch anywhere but here," Rogers said.

Rogers has partial no-trade protection in his contract, but as a 43-year-old who strongly considered retirement last fall, he has the ultimate no-trade clause: he could tell teams he would retire rather than accept a deal.

"I don't envision it being a possibility, because I expect we're going to be in this (race) for the long haul," Rogers said.

 

 
 
 
 
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