Notes: Granderson lost in the crowd
Outfielder misses All-Star cut despite worthy performance
DETROIT -- While Curtis Granderson wasn't really considered a snub to the American League All-Star team, his stats are certainly comparable to any other AL outfielder this season.Though Granderson often gets overshadowed in a Tigers lineup that includes Magglio Ordonez and Gary Sheffield, he entered Sunday's game against the Twins with some of the most impressive statistics among AL outfielders. "Maybe [other teams] forget to scout you as much as they would as Magglio or Sheffield," Granderson said. "Maybe the gameplan is geared a little bit more towards them. I do like the fact that [other team's think] 'Hey, this guy's not going to hurt you that much.'" Among AL outfielders, Granderson ranks first in triples (14), third in doubles (22), tied for fourth in runs (58) and tied for 10th in homers (11). His .289 batting average puts him in 11th place, one percentage point behind Sheffield. He is on pace for over 300 total bases this season and would be the first Tiger to surpass that mark since Bobby Higginson did it in 2000. Yet Granderson didn't even appear on AL fan ballots because the Tigers already had three outfielders listed. Sheffield, Craig Monroe and Ordonez represented the Tigers on the AL ballot and each team could only have three players listed. Granderson did receive 376,033 write-in votes, the most of any player in the Majors. That total would have placed him ahead of Alex Rios, who appeared on the actual ballot and was selected to the AL team by manager Jim Leyland. Rios received 316,033 votes. "I completely understand, I'm not upset," Granderson said. "The All-Star Game is the All-Star Game, it's great. But if I can be in consideration for the end of the year awards, that's going to be more of an accomplishment." Teammate Mike Rabelo voted for Granderson in the All-Star player balloting, though he admitted he stuffed the ballot with all Tigers. "The guy's got 11 home runs," Rabelo said. "And 700 triples." Sheff stays: Sheffield was seventh in player voting for outfielders, and was one spot away from an automatic bid to the All-Star Game.
He said even if another outfielder pulls out of the game due to an injury, he won't make the trip to San Francisco because he has already made other plans during the break."It shouldn't break your heart [not making the team] because, the bottom line is, this is for the younger players," Sheffield said. Sheffield leads AL outfielders in homers (19) and runs (69). Leyland called Sheffield after he finalized his roster to tell him how close he came to making the team. "I could have picked Sheffield, but I would have had to leave [Indians catcher Victor] Martinez off and I don't think that was right," Leyland said. Inge's back: Third baseman Brandon Inge was back in the lineup on Sunday after he was scratched the last two games with a lower back spasm. He said he still feels a bit of pain when he swings a bat, but felt fine when he woke up Sunday morning. He will no longer wear a metal plate in his left shoe, which he has worn since he broke his big toe in late May. The plate triggered the back problems, causing his left foot to be slightly more elevated than his right. Happy anniversary: Sunday marked one year to the day since Placido Polanco's last error, a fielding miscue last July 1 at Pittsburgh. He entered Sunday night's game with 113 errorless games since then, covering 550 total chances. Both totals are still well shy of the American League record at the position, held by the other guy manning second base this weekend. Minnesota's Luis Castillo posted 143 consecutive errorless games before ending it June 5. That streak covered 652 consecutive chances. Steady defense, of course, is nothing new for Polanco. He led National League second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage in 2004, then led Major League second baseman with the same mark the next season. He had a .989 percentage last year, which would've been fifth in the league if he had enough games to qualify. Quotable: "Do some fishing, hang out, clean my room. That's about it." -- Rabelo, on his All-Star break plans Special gift: Justin Verlander has a no-hitter and an All-Star selection to his credit over the last few weeks. Now, he has another honor. He has an iPhone. As it turned out, he didn't have to pull any strings to get it. His agent was supposed to send him one, he said, but the nearby Apple store actually had some left over. As long as he was out there, he made a run for someone else. "My agency represents [Twins first baseman Justin] Morneau as well," Verlander said. "He wanted one, too, so my agent called and said, 'Hey, do you mind picking up Morneau one?' The next morning, they still had some." Verlander considers himself a bit of a gadget guy. As for his evaluation after a day of using it, he gave it a thumbs-up. "It's awesome," he said. "It's all it's hyped up to be." Coming up: The Tigers have Monday off before beginning their toughest home stretch of the season -- three games against the Indians, then three against the Red Sox. Nate Robertson (4-6, 4.82) will make his second start since returning from the disabled list opposite Tiger killer Paul Byrd (7-3, 4.67) in Tuesday's series opener against Cleveland. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET at Comerica Park.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Beat reporter Jason Beck contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.