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Posted on: 04-01-2009

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>>caption:  GLAVINE GAVE UP


    Tiger MGR Jim Leyland settled
on his rotation and his 12 man
pitching staff Wednesday before
more roster cuts were announced.
{See EXTRA INNINGS below.}.
    Top starting and relief prospects Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry both made
the team. However, the man who will start on Opening Day was hit hard in
Wednesday's exhibition where Atlanta topped the Tigers 9-3.
    After being lights out in his last three outings (1-R in 18-IP), Justin Verlander
was assaulted by Atlanta for 7-R/7-ER on 9-H & 1-W with just 1-K in his 5-IP.
Six of the nine safeties off Verlander were for extra bases.
    Yunel Escobar stroked a 2r2B and Casey Kotchman (#3) blasted a 2rHR in a
5-R/T-2nd. Verlander also served up a solo homer to Chipper Jones (#4) in the
T-4th, a crushing blow over the huge RField scoreboard.
    Clint Sammons (#3) added a Braves solo shot in the T-6th off first Tiger
reliever Bobby Seay. Gregor Blanco had a pair of RBI basehits including a
double off Verlander. Ex-Tiger Omar Infante went 2-for-4 with 2-R including
a triple off of JV (L, 1-2).
    Miguel Cabrera and Gerald Laird each went 2-for-3 and Curtis Granderson
2-for-4 for the majority of Detroit's 10 basehits. Granderson hit a 2rHR (#3)
off Atlanta starter Tom Glavine in the B-3rd when Detroit was already trailing
6-0. Newly acquired OFielder Josh Anderson added a 2-out/RBI-1B in the B-4th
against his ex-Atlanta mates for Detroit's only other run.  
    Glavine went 5-IP to allow 3-R/3-ER on 7-H for the win (2-0).
    Juan Rincon (a non-roster player who was unscored upon this spring and made
the team) and Fernando Rodney both tossed a scoreless relief frame for Detroit.
Already cut, RHP Casey Fein was brought back from Tigertown because of Verlander's
abbreviated outing and Fein gave up 1-R/1-ER to Atlanta in the T-9th.
    Detroit fell to 13-16-1 in Grapefruit games and 15-17-1 in all their Florida
exhibitions. Atlanta improved to 19-11 in Grapefruit LGE contests.

    ATL       9-14-1, 6-LOB     (W) Glavine
    DET       3-10-1, 8-LOB     (L) Verlander, 1-2


TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "They (Porcello & Perry) were better than everyone
else we had. They deserved the job...If people say we rushed them, I will take
the blame. All you have to do is look at them and know they are ready."

TIGERS SP JUSTIN VERLANDER:   ""I still felt good for the most part. I just wanted
to get the last (spring start) out of the way. It didn't click but I have progressed
a lot this spring."

BRAVES SP TOM GLAVINE:   "I tried to throw (the fastball) too hard, tried to find out
how much I had and threw it right down the middle (on Granderson's homer)."


    In "April Fool's Day" team unity pranks Verlander and his catcher Laird swapped
uniform shirts, Rodney wore Leyland's #10, Magglio Ordonez donned Al Kaline's retired
#6, Cabrera wore the #58 of fellow Venezuelan Armando Galarraga, Brandon Inge
switched uniform tops with the batboy, OFielders Granderson and Anderson switched
too as did a host of other players.
    Jones has clubbed homeruns in back-to-back games since inking a contract
extension through 2012 with Atlanta on Tuesday.
    Unable to land a big league back-up spot as a corner infielder, Mike Hessman was
placed on waivers by Detroit Wednesday. That he didn't make the Tigers was no
surprise. He's had chances before. In spite of his power and slick fielding ability,
Hessman is a righthanded free swinger who strikes out too much (just like veteran
Gary Sheffield who was waived Tuesday). If he clears waivers with no takers Hessman
may play again for the Toledo Mud Hens this season. Hessman is Toledo's career
homerun leader and says he'd accept an assignment back there. The Tigers might
also deal Hessman to a Japanese LGE team in an effort to get him a bigger contract.  
    Four more cuts on Wednesday trimmed the Tiger roster to 26, one over the
Opening Day limit. LHP Clay Rapada and UTIL Ryan Raburn were both optioned to
3A Toledo. RHP Scott Williamson and catcher Dane Sardinha were assigned to minor
league camp, although Sardinha will remain with the Tigers as an extra bullpen and
possible late inning catcher through this weekend's exhibition series in Atlanta.
    UTIL Jeff Larish and OFielder Brett Clevlen are the two remaining candidates
for the final roster spot. Larish still has minor league options and Clevlen does not.
    Leyland's rotation will have Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Armando Galarraga and
Porcello, plus Zach Miner filling-in for DLed Jeremy Bonderman. LHP Nate Robertson
and non-roster RHP Eddie Bonine will be the long relievers with Seay, Rincon, Rodney,
Perry and Brandon Lyon as the short men. Leyland indicated Rodney would get
the first chance to close but that Lyon and Perry are also in the mix.
    Because Leyland doesn't want the Blue Jays to get two consecutive exhibition
looks at Jackson (who will pitch game two of the regular season at Toronto), Jackson
will pitch in a minor league game Thursday and Bonine will get the start when Detroit
hosts the Jays in this year's final Grapefruit game at Lakeland Thursday afternoon.
Bonine is expected to go only two innings and a bunch of minor leaguers may follow.
Scott Richmond, named Toronto's fifth starter in their rotation, pitches for the Jays
    Assigned regular DH duties when Sheffield was dropped Tuesday, Marcus Thames
homered in a minor league game Wednesday.



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