Some hopefully uplifting news after last night’s loss, plans are taking concrete shape for Joel Zumaya’s and Dontrelle Willis’s possible return to the Tigers.
- Zumaya’s rehab was transferred to Triple-A Toledo and plans are for him to pitch out of the bullpen tonight. The Tigers want to see him pitch back-to-back nights pain free before a promotion to Detroit. That test comes midweek. I’d like to see him pitch more effectively than he did in Lakeland, on top of that. But it is an injury-rehab assignment, not a “can you still throw strikes?” assignment. I used to assume Juan Rincon was the at-risk candidate for demotion or release when Zumaya returned to Detroit, but the way Ryan Perry is missing the strike zone, I’m starting to think it’s him. Eddie Bonine hasn’t greatly impressed either, but the Tigers haven’t used Nate Robertson in that role, and Miner will return to the rotation April 25.
- Willis will start for High-A Lakeland on Tuesday. If all goes well, the Tigers will promote him up the minor league ladder. President/GM/etc Dave Dombrowski was impressed by Willis, but we’ll see. We’ve been down this road before, and it hasn’t led anywhere.
- If you’re looking for a good place to learn about the Mariners, beat writer Geoff Baker’s Mariners blog at the Seattle Times has the information you’re looking for! (And was kind enough to link to Mack Avenue Tigers, so for that I thank him.)
- Justin Verlander may be on to something here. As quoted by Steve Kornacki at MLive:
“I’m going to have a conversation with the baseball gods and see what they have to say about it,” said Verlander, who joked about having a seance in his hotel room “with lots of candles.”
- If you want to know the real reason Verlander’s game went south, check out the Twitter feed for MLB.com Tigers beat writer @beckjason: “This is what Verlander’s stuff looked like the night he pitched his no-no.” He later accepts the blame for the Adrian Beltre double which led off the fifth inning, but swears off blame for the rest of Verlander’s problems.
- Kornacki also reports Robertson has settled into a newfound life in the bullpen. Robertson no longer sounds like he wants out of Detroit, which was probably just said out of frustration at the time.
- Marc Hulet ranked the top prospects in the AL Central at Fangraphs.
- You may have noticed former (thank goodness) Tiger Gary Sheffield hit his 500th home run yesterday. (Update: Ian has more on the wacky words that come out of Sheffield’s mouth).
- And finally, good luck to the Red Wings and the Pistons today. I don’t think the Red Wings need good luck, they’ll be fine on their own. The Pistons could probably use a lot of luck. Remember when the first round was just a technicality the Pistons had to get through before the good games started? Now it still is. Except Detroit is just the road bump for Cleveland to get past instead. Sigh. Knocking King James off his championship-guaranteeing-throne would really be great though, wouldn’t it? Enjoy the sports triple header, Detroit!