SEATTLE -- Tigers catcher Gerald Laird shares his manager's frustration at opponents' stolen bases this year. After all, much of that success is going on Laird's record.A year ago, Laird led all American League catchers by throwing out 40.4 percent of would-be basestealers. His 37.6 percent out rate since 2006 leads all AL catchers, too. But two weeks into the season, opponents have stolen 12 bases on him in 15 tries, including three in four attempts on Saturday night. Essentially, though, they've stolen those bases on Tigers pitchers, who have struggled at times to hold runners and allowed speedsters such as Chone Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki to gain huge jumps. "Oh, it's frustrating," Laird said. "I thought I made at least three pretty good throws [Saturday] and I only got one guy." Manager Jim Leyland said Sunday morning that he could end up calling pitchouts a little more often. That isn't really an option, however, when pitchers fall behind in counts. When Joel Zumaya fell behind on a 2-0 count to Franklin Gutierrez in the eighth inning on Saturday, for instance, he not only couldn't pitch out, he couldn't risk doing a slide step. Chone Figgins took off and stole second base without a throw on a 102-mph Zumaya fastball. "I've had success against them in the past," Laird said. "It's one of those things where we have to know when they're on base, they're going to take a chance to run. If they give the catchers a chance, we have two pretty good guys who can throw the ball here, and I think we're going to get a lot of them. The key for this team is getting those guys on base. You have to throw strikes. You have to make Figgins and Ichiro earn their way on. You can't walk them, because that's when things kind of get out of whack. You've got all these guys in motion."
Miner chips in on Miracle League field
SEATTLE -- Tigers reliever Zach Miner teamed up with the Detroit Tigers Foundation and the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to contribute $75,000 toward the construction of a barrier-free field that will eventually house the Tri-Valley Miracle League.The complex in Bridgeport Township will provide an opportunity to play ball for children with special needs in the Saginaw, Mich., area, home to more than 63,000 kids with special needs. It will be part of the Frank N. Andersen Recreational Complex in Bridgeport Township, also under construction. The $1.2 million project for the complex as a whole includes a $500,000 check from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Tigers will present a check on Monday to the Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department.
Coke chops his locks
SEATTLE -- The hair watch is over for at least one former Yankee turned current Tiger. Phil Coke took the mound on Saturday night at Safeco Field sporting much shorter hair than he had when he came to town three days ago.The Yankees' policy on hair is well-known: There's a limit on how long players can grow theirs out during the season, and no facial hair is allowed. Once the Yankees traded Coke to Detroit, he grew out his hair over the offseason and grew a beard. The beard is still there, but a good portion of the hair is gone. "It was poking me in the eyes," Coke said of his hair, "and I didn't like it."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.