07/27/10 7:55 PM ET
Tigers aren't talking with Matthews
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
When the Tigers lost Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen to the disabled list Saturday night, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski dismissed the idea of signing a lingering free agent like slugger Jermaine Dye and waiting for him to get game ready. The club is also apparently not jumping at free-agent outfielder Gary Matthews, who hit the open market after the Reds granted him his release last weekend.
Matthews is looking for a place where he can find a Major League roster spot, something the Reds couldn't find for him after 30 days at Triple-A Louisville. So far, the Tigers have not been in touch.
Matthews began the season with the Mets, going 9-for-58 in 36 games before being released in June. He signed a Minor League contract with the Reds a week later and batted .317 (32-for-101) with seven doubles, three homers and six RBIs.
Tigers to skip Bonderman's start vs. Red Sox
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Tigers will shuffle their rotation to send up both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander against the Red Sox this weekend, essentially skipping Jeremy Bonderman from the series to get him two starts next week.
Bonderman would've been in line to pitch Friday or Saturday at Fenway Park. Instead, he'll be available out of the bullpen the next few days before his start in next Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the White Sox at Comerica Park. Armando Galarraga will start Friday's series opener at Fenway, followed by Scherzer and then Verlander.
The move allows Scherzer and Verlander to pitch on their regular four days of rest, which was a primary motivation for manager Jim Leyland. Verlander said last month he's much more comfortable pitching on four days' rest than having an extra day or two. Scherzer said Tuesday it doesn't make a difference to him, though he's statistically better with extra rest.
"Those are their days," Leyland said.
The move also sets up Bonderman to start on short rest next week. Since the Tigers have a 10-game, nine-day homestand, they'd need a spot starter or a bullpen start next Saturday against the Angels. Instead, Bonderman will start with three days' rest.
"What we wanted to avoid is sending somebody down and bringing somebody up," Leyland said.
The downside is that Verlander will no longer start in either series against the division-leading White Sox next month. After four games in three days against them in Detroit next week, the Tigers visit Chicago in mid-August for a three-game set.
Bonderman said he'll be in the bullpen Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If he doesn't pitch in any of those games, he'll throw a side session over the weekend to freshen up his arm.
Bonderman is 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in five career starts at Fenway, but he has only pitched there twice since 2004 -- a start each in 2006 and '08. Of greater concern for the Tigers would be Bonderman's recent struggles: He's 2-2 with a 7.29 ERA over his past six starts, allowing 46 hits over 33 1/3 innings and giving up seven home runs. His last four starts have been at home.
Leyland's ejection being reviewed
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Commissioner's office is reviewing Tigers manager Jim Leyland's ejection Monday night by second-base umpire Marty Foster, where a misunderstanding set off a rant from Leyland.
Leyland said after Monday's game that Foster accused him of spitting on him, which Leyland vehemently denies.
"I had some sunflower seeds in when I was talking," Leyland said. "Some sprayed on him, and he indicated that I deliberately spit on him, and I'm not going to take that from anybody. I'm not going to do it.
"Did I spray him? Yes. Did I mean to? No. I was talking right close [to him] and what happens a lot of times, happened. I asked him if he was going to write me up. He said, 'You spit on me.' I said, 'You mean to tell me that you're going to write up that I deliberately spit on you?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Well that's a blatant lie.' I'm tired of protecting them, worrying about what you should say and what you can't say. I don't care that he missed the play. I don't care that he threw me out. But when you make accusations like that, I'm not going to accept that. That's a blatant lie. I don't even spit on the ground."
No ruling had come down as of Tuesday evening. It's possible that the misunderstanding will be taken into consideration by MLB vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson, who announces suspensions.
Major League Baseball suspended a manager Tuesday, but it wasn't Leyland. Mets skipper Jerry Manuel received a one-game suspension for his argument during last Friday's game against the Dodgers.
Scherzer wasn't feeling pressure of no-hit bid
ST. PETERSBURG -- If a double no-hit bid should've put the pressure on Max Scherzer to match Matt Garza out for out Monday night, Scherzer wasn't feeling it. To him, amazingly, it's anything but a pressure-packed situation.
"With a no-hitter, there's really no pressure on the pitcher," Scherzer suggested Tuesday. "You're still out there executing pitches. You're really not trying to be too fine. Your goal is not to give up a hit every time you face a batter. Sometimes when you have a perfect game going on and you can't walk a batter, that's when the pressure's on. You fall behind 2-0 and now you have to try to lay it right in there. That's when perfect games are the ones that are pressure-packed, whereas no-hitters, those are fun to compete in."
That mentality, unusual as it may be, takes away any thought that Scherzer fell apart under the pressure of dueling no-hitters when he loaded the bases ahead of Matt Joyce's grand slam. It's a changeup from the approach one might expect, but it was the changeup as a pitch that Scherzer says doomed him in that decisive sixth inning.
"The first five innings, I had a lot of good pitches," Scherzer said. "I executed pretty well. When they had guys in scoring position, I was able to execute the fastball and slider. [But in the] sixth inning, I just couldn't. For me, throwing 3-2 changeups is a good pitch for me. Hitters are sitting fastball in that kind of situation. Usually I have a good feel for throwing the changeup in the zone. But last night, my mechanics were off. I just couldn't overcome that, and that's what killed me."
Scherzer's final three hitters all went to full counts, and all of them got fastballs on 3-2, including Joyce.
By contrast, Scherzer felt like he made more progress on his slider, which has become a better and better pitch for him the past six weeks as he has started to throw it earlier in games.
All in all, Scherzer said, "It was bittersweet."
Miner feels good after surgery
ST. PETERSBURG -- Zach Miner was back in the Tigers' clubhouse Tuesday, if only for a day, and said he hopes to be back pitching in some sort of game action next spring.
Miner, who underwent Tommy John surgery May 28 after being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right elbow, said his elbow "feels way better than it did before I had the surgery."
The typical timetable given for surgery recovery is nine to 12 months, so a spring return to the mound would certainly fall on schedule. Miner doesn't care if he has to pitch on the back fields of Tigertown in a Minor League game starting out, but he wants to be pitching when camp rolls around.
"I'm not trying to get overly optimistic," Miner said, "but so far, it feels good."
Miner expects to be playing catch again sometime this offseason.
Miner made the four-hour drive with his wife and two sons from their home in Jupiter, Fla. The Tigers invited him up to check up on how his arm felt and give him a chance to get out of the rehab routine for a day.
"I'm excited," Miner said. "[Head athletic trainer] Kevin [Rand] asked me if I wanted to come up for a day. I said, 'Heck yeah.'"
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.