TigsTown MLN: Toledo's Playoff Prep

It's been a busy week for the Mud Hens as they continue to see their lineup reshuffled. But despite the changes, Toledo continues to improve its standing and inch closer and closer to the division crown they've been fighting for. Erie on the other hand continues its struggles, as their chances of reaching the postseason for the second straight year seem to be collapsing.

The Mud Hens continue to cruise along in the West division of the International League, as they hold a comfortable seven game lead over second place Indianapolis. Of course, there are still 22 games remaining, so nothing is official yet. But barring a complete collapse, the Mud Hens will be looking forward to playoff baseball.

However, with the injury to Rondell White this past weekend in Kansas City, one player not likely to be sticking around for the playoff run is Curtis Granderson. Granderson was re-called on Monday after White was placed on the disabled list, and with only three other healthy outfielders capable of playing everyday (Dmitri Young, while proving to be able to play in left field, certainly isn't an everyday option), he'll likely finish out the year in Detroit.

What does that mean for Toledo? Well of course they'll be without their leadoff man and centerfielder, but all is not lost. The team brought Don Kelly back up to Toledo after a brief stint in Erie, as he'll be the replacement for Granderson. It's typically a bit odd to lose an outfielder and add an infielder, but the organization seems most concerned with providing Toledo with the best offensive talent they can. Plus, with the team already having Dewayne Wise as a fourth outfielder, they weren't in dire need of a starting centerfielder.

Of course, it isn't reasonable to expect them to carry seven infielders into the playoffs, but it's likely that there will be plenty of re-shuffling before that happens, likely including David Espinosa returning to Toledo, where he'll hopefully receive more playing time than he did in his previous stint with the ‘Hens.

As far as the pitchers are concerned, the rotation is likely set as is, though Wilfredo Ledezma continues to be a mystery. It was at first thought that Ledezma was likely headed for Tommy John surgery after seeing a decrease in velocity as well as pain in his pitching elbow and forearm. However, that may not be the case, at least not yet.

Ledezma isn't doing anything beyond light tossing, but has remained with Toledo and even accompanied the team on the last road trip. There's still no ETA on when he might come back, but there's still hope that he may yet pitch this year, as unlikely as it may seem.

Finally we move on to one of the organization's top prized pitchers; Joel Zumaya. After a rough first appearance, Zumaya appears to have settled down and returned to dominating the way he was in Erie. Care to hear what his ERA is since struggling through his first appearance as a Mud Hen? 1.17. The one issue with Zumaya remains his high walk totals (21 in 34 innings), which is a likely reason that he still may remain in Toledo to start '06. But if he does, he still likely will be just weeks away from his big league promotion, especially if the Tigers come up short this offseason in their attempts to bolster the rotation via free agents.

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