10/27/12 8:20 PM ET
Unlike some skippers, Leyland puts players first
By Jason Beck and Paul Hagen / MLB.com
Tigers manager Jim Leyland alluded to how times have changed before Game 3 of the World Series at Comerica Park on Saturday night in answering a question about teaching players to respect the uniform.
"We are professionals, and we do represent the Detroit Tigers," Leyland said. "The thing that I've always tried to teach my players is forget the Detroit Tigers. You represent yourself first and how you want to be perceived. I think that's important. It's not exactly rocket science.
"With all due respect, I know Sparky was always talking about Sparky's way or the highway -- and it was fine because it worked and it was a nice little saying. [But] when I came here, I tried to emphasize, 'It's not going to be my way. It's just going to be the right way. We are going to try to do things right.' I think we have, for the most part. We've had our little hitches in the road from time to time, but for the most part, I think we've done things pretty good."
'Tremendously lucky' Fister passes latest tests
DETROIT -- Tigers right-hander Doug Fister was back on the field and working out on Saturday, two days after Gregor Blanco's line drive ricocheted off his head during Detroit's 2-0 loss in Game 2 of the World Series. Fister passed his latest round of tests on Friday, just as he had after Thursday's game, and showed no signs of so much as a headache.
Though head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said on Saturday that he'll keep checking in with Fister each day, Rand said there's no reason at this point for any further testing. The only sign left of the shot he took was a scrape on his head.
Fister was back on the field and working out with the Tigers during batting practice on Saturday before Game 3.
"He doesn't even have a hematoma," Rand said. "He has an abrasion."
At this point, Rand said, Fister's focus is on starting a potential Game 6 on Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:15 first pitch) in San Francisco.
The terrifying sight of the line drive striking Fister's head in the second inning of Game 2 put the Tigers' handling of the situation into focus, from Fister staying in the game for six-plus innings to the right-hander flying back to Detroit with the team after the game.
The Tigers countered with two points. First, trainers checked with Fister on the mound after the incident and in the dugout after each inning, then team physician Michael Workings did more thorough testing after the game. Nothing led the Tigers to suspect a possible concussion or gave any reason to hold Fister back in San Francisco.
"At no point in time did he have a headache," Rand said. "At no point in time did he have any symptoms -- no dizziness, no nothing."
Dr. Workings also sits on the medical staff of the NFL's Detroit Lions, so he's familiar with concussion issues.
Another round of SCAT 2 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool) testing, a verbal test of memory and cognitive skills, showed no symptoms on Friday. Had Fister shown any questionable signs, Rand said, he would've been sent out for a CT scan and other exams.
Secondly, team officials said, the impact of the ball was not as direct as it initially looked on replay. The fact that the ball hit Fister's head and continued into center field indicated more of a glancing blow than leaving his head with the brunt of the momentum. By contrast, the Sept. 5 comebacker that fractured the skull of Oakland's Brandon McCarthy and forced him to the hospital for emergency brain surgery bounced off his head and was redirected toward third base.
"It looked far worse," Rand said.
Given where the ball could've hit him, Rand called Fister "tremendously lucky."
Defensive Leyland empathizes with Lamont
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland respects what Gene Lamont has gone through the last few days, because he has been there. Leyland had to explain a bad call or two when he was a third-base coach for Tony La Russa's White Sox in the early 1980s.
Leyland knows the deal. It's like a middle reliever, only getting attention when things go wrong.
Lamont said after the Tigers' 2-0 loss to the Giants on Thursday in Game 2 of the World Series that he was overaggressive in sending Prince Fielder around third on Delmon Young's double with no outs in the second inning. With one or two outs, Leyland said, it might've been different.
"He took a chance, and it didn't work out," Leyland said. "Like he said, the only time anybody ever talks to the third-base coach is if he gets somebody thrown out. Nobody talked to Gene Lamont when he stole run after run all year long, maybe three or four runs a week that he stole. That's the way it is. That's the life of a third-base coach.
"I think Gene felt when [Fielder] went by him he was going to be safe. So did I. You get pretty tensed up when you watch the rest of the play."
Leyland said third-base coaches sometimes have to take into account the state of the offense and the chances of getting a hit after that. The fewer outs there are, the less that's considered.
"If you have two outs and maybe the guy's a dead out," Leyland said, "but if the pitcher's the next hitter, you send him and hope that there's a wreck on the highway somewhere and they miss the ball, because you know the pitcher's probably not going to drive him in."
Delmon's placement in left Tigers' choice
DETROIT -- Back home and with the designated hitter spot available to them again, the Tigers don't have to worry about Delmon Young in left field for the next few days. They're hoping the World Series lasts long enough that they'll be without the DH again in San Francisco for Wednesday's Game 6.
If that's the case, Young will be back in left -- and he'll still be playing deep. That's where the Tigers positioned him; it wasn't something he did on his own.
First-base coach Tom Brookens is in charge of the placement of the Tigers' outfielders. He said Young is more comfortable charging in on fly balls than having to backtrack on drives, so the club plays him deeper than normal.
It produced some interesting moments, such as when Young charged in on a fly ball in shallow left during Thursday's Game 2. But it didn't result in a misplay.
Young will be back at DH for Games 3-5. Quintin Berry started in left field on Saturday night and will do so again on Sunday with Matt Cain, a right-hander, on the mound for the Giants.
Magglio proud of fast-learning Garcia
DETROIT -- It wouldn't be a Tigers postseason without Magglio Ordonez. He can't provide a big hit anymore; he's retired. But he's going to turn in a ceremonial first pitch on Sunday night, before Game 4 of the World Series (8 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:15 first pitch).
Ordonez will also be throwing his support behind the Tigers to try to awaken their bats and battle back from a World Series deficit that stood at two games entering Saturday's contest.
"It's not going to be easy," Ordonez said. "They're facing a team that's really hot. [The Giants] are playing really good baseball. They're pitching really good. They're playing real good defense. It's not going to be easy, but they're back home. They have the DH."
Ordonez spent part of his time on Saturday afternoon in the Tigers clubhouse, talking with many of his former teammates as well as his old manager, Jim Leyland. In the process, Ordonez also saw one of his own players.
Avisail Garcia plays for Ordonez's Winter League team in Venezuela during the offseason, though his only playing time has been with the Minor League squad. Garcia's performance in Detroit, however, has resembled that of a young Ordonez, especially with his ability to flick the ball to the right field as a right-handed hitter.
"I haven't watched him very much because he was in the Minor Leagues, and he hasn't played very much in Venezuela," Ordonez said. "But what I've seen so far, when he got called up, he's [been] very good. He's got the ability to hit the ball to the opposite field, but he needs to play. He's still young. He's only 21. He's going to be good."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.