04/18/07 2:44 PM ET
Notes: Pockets in for Guillen
Shortstop received letter regarding uniform code violation
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Guillen has worn his left pocket out in his jersey pants for at least as long as he's been a Tiger, dating back to his 2004 trade from Seattle. It has become an unusual trademark for him at the plate, the pocket hanging out of the pants.
But Guillen received a letter from the Commissioner's office Wednesday asking him to stop doing it. The letter states that it doesn't conform to the uniform code, and that he could be subject to a fine if he continues to do it.
Guillen plans on complying with the letter, but he's trying to understand why he received it now.
"I've been doing this for three years," Guillen said. "Why are they going to come right now?"
Uniform regulations are part of the collective bargaining agreement. According to the CBA, pants pockets may not be intentionally worn sticking out. Rich Levin, MLB's senior vice president of public relations, said the Commissioner's office began monitoring uniform regulations this season, which might explain why the issue came up now. In past years, the regulations were monitored by the umpiring crews at the respective ballparks.
Ironically, Guillen said it started as unintentional. He would keep his batting gloves in that pocket, and the pocket would come out when he took out the gloves.
Asked why he does it now, Guillen said, "Superstition. It's all mental."
Guillen plans on complying with the advisory. He took the field Wednesday with his pockets in.
Magglio Ordonez wears both pockets out. He said he has not received a letter.
Guillen had a different question about Ordonez. "Why don't they worry about Magglio's hair," he joked.
Work in progress: Though Mike Maroth says he's fully healthy, he still isn't where he wants to be in his pitching. He has the best record in the rotation at 2-0, but with 22 hits allowed in 16 2/3 innings, opponents have batted .328 off of him. They've also hit three home runs.
"I'm still making mistakes," Maroth said. "They're hitting some good pitches here and there, but I'm giving up a lot of hits, mainly because I am making too many mistakes. I know I'm better than what I've been able to do. There's a few things I need to work on, getting back in the mix."
He made two mistakes, he said, against the Royals on Tuesday night, both hanging changeups. The first was David DeJesus' solo homer in the fifth on a 2-2 pitch. The other was a Jason LaRue single in the sixth, setting up a four-run rally to pull the Royals ahead.
"The only thing is being inconsistent," Maroth said, "leaving pitches over the plate, making bad pitches. I even got away with a few yesterday. It's just about being able to make your pitch every time and not just most of the time.
"You're not going to be able to do it every single time. You're not going to be perfect. But the more you can minimize your mistakes, the better game you're going to have. And I have made some good pitches, but it's been consistent. One hitter, I'll be right on, next hitter, I'll hang a changeup."
In the case of DeJesus, it was the same hitter. Maroth said he threw a quality changeup earlier in the count to DeJesus before hanging the next one.
"They were just really bad pitches," he said. "And it's not just necessarily that pitch. It's all my pitches. It's just that those two instances were both changeups."
He doesn't believe it's a matter of rust. Even if he'd been healthy all of last season, he said, he could still be having these issues early on. But considering his solid start last year when he wasn't healthy, it's a little ironic.
"I know I'm a better pitcher than what I've shown so far," he said, "definitely better. It's more of a consistency factor."
Grilli warmed up: Manager Jim Leyland prides himself on being able to work his bullpen without wearing relievers out, which is why even the smallest of moves makes him feel guilty. He felt bad Wednesday morning about warming up Jason Grilli in the later innings when he decided to stick with Wilfredo Ledezma.
"I should've just let him stay down," said Leyland, who has been cautious with Grilli ever since his three hitless innings Saturday against the Blue Jays. "I decided after I got him going a little bit that I wasn't going to use him. So we slowed him down, and it didn't hurt him, but I shouldn't have gotten him up because I was staying with Ledezma."
That level of attention to detail about bullpen use, Grilli said, is something he hasn't seen in a manager.
"He cares about us," Grilli said. "I think the only game he got kicked out is when he was arguing balls and strikes for me. It's nice to know that a manager cares about each individual as well as what our careers mean. We're not just out here just burning our good stuff out there in the bullpen. ...
"It's huge. I think he shows some partiality to the pitching staff because he knows that good pitching is what carries you through."
Coming up: The Tigers have Thursday off before starting a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday night at Comerica Park. Chad Durbin (0-1, 12.46) will take another shot at his first win as a Tiger when he makes his third start of the season. Lefty John Danks (0-2, 3.97) will take the mound for Chicago. Game time is 7:05 p.m. ET.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.