TigsTown MLN: There's a Man Down

The Tigers already have a big injury with the hernia of slugger Magglio Ordonez. But now, a future Tiger is out, one who made some noise with the big league club in spring training, and could be out for an extended period. Plus, which Tiger reliever is following the path of Fernando Rodney?

Notes: With the placement of OF Magglio Ordonez on the disabled list, the Tigers purchased the contract of Andrew Good and placed him on the 25-man roster. While Good was one of the team's top starters, the Tigers (who are currently without two of the organization's upper level starters in Kyle Sleeth and Humberto Sanchez) elected to promote Lee Rodney, a SeaWolves reliever. No word yet on who will take Good's place in the rotation.
TT Stat: Chris Spurling is well on his way to recovery with the Mud Hens. Through four relief appearances, Spurling is 2-0, has not yet allowed a run and his average against is just .129. The Tigers bullpen struggles could dictate the team make a move in the coming weeks, and Spurling (along with the recovering Fernando Rodney) would certainly be at the top of the list.

Notes: Scary news out of Erie, as Tony Giarratano has re-injured his left shoulder, the same shoulder he hurt last August that forced him to miss the last month of the season. Giarratano injured the shoulder last Thursday while trying to turn a double play. Giarratano has since traveled to Detroit to have it examined, and the team will know more in the coming days.
TT Stat: Besides turning up the offense in the last week (including his first home run of the year on Sunday) David Espinosa has demonstrated incredible patience at the plate, the type that would make the likes of Paul DePodesta and Billy Beane drool. Espinosa has 38 at bats, with 13 walks. Espinosa is currently taking a walk for every four plate appearances (for comparison, one for every ten is considered excellent patience). If it weren't for the jam of outfielders at Toledo, Espinosa would likely be looking at a call-up.

Notes: One of the interesting developments has been the Tigers use of Eulogio DeLa Cruz so far this season. After using him exclusively in relief in '04, the Tigers are looking to expand DeLa Cruz's role and force him to use off-speed pitches. So, much in the way they used Fernando Rodney in the past, starting him simply to get him more innings, the Tigers are taking the same approach with DeLa Cruz, tandem starting him with Cristhian Martinez. While it's unlikely DeLa Cruz will stay in the rotation long term, it's a smart move by the organization, as DeLa Cruz has proven unwilling in the past to use anything but his mid 90's fastball.
TT Stat: Another player off to an extremely hot start this season is Vincent Blue, the extremely talented centerfielder. Besides hitting .415, Blue has an OBP of almost .500 (.478) and an OPS over 1.000 (1.039). Blue, who has also swiped four bases, is an incredible talent, and at just 21 years of age, has plenty of room to grow into a potentially solid player.

West Michigan
Notes: The Whitecaps have one of the youngest clubs they've had in a long time, but at the same time it may also be one of the most talented. While last year's club was highlighted by college veterans like Kelly Hunt, Jordan Tata and Virgil Vasquez, this year's club boasts 19 year olds like Wilkin Ramirez, Jair Jurrjens and Dallas Trahern. Jurrjens has been especially impressive, having not yet allowed a run in his two starts. So, while there may be a fair share of growing pains, the Whitecaps have plenty of talent on the '05 addition.
TT Stat: As mentioned above, Jair Jurrjens has now made two starts for the 'Caps, going 12 innings, and has yet to allow a run. Even more impressive are his eight strikeouts with just one walk. The young man from Holland is still very raw, but continues to impress everyone around him with his pitching.

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