TigsTown MLN: Welcome Back!

Welcome back to Minor League Baseball season, and the first installment of the 2006 Minor League Notebook. Starting this season (and next week), the Minor League Notebook will have a bit of a different daily feel, but for now, let's catch up on some of the happenings in the organization.

First, we'll start off in Toledo, where two of the only marquee names fans would be interested in seeing have made their way to the disabled list already. Roman Colon began to experience discomfort in his elbow, and he has since started the year on the DL. However, indications are that this shouldn't be an extended trip, and Colon should be back shortly.

The news isn't as good for Nook Logan, who was placed on the disabled list just two days into the season with a broken finger. Logan, who broke the finger sliding into first base, will likely be out until May because of the injury. Not only does the injury slow Logan's opportunity to regain a spot on the Tigers' 25 man roster, but it also means if the Tigers experience an injury among their outfielders, they'll lose their best defensive option (and only true centerfielder).

To make things worse for the ‘Hens, Lee Gardner was also just placed on the disabled list, meaning the Tigers will have to fill two roster slots – one they just recently completed by signing Tike Redman to a minor league contract, the other is still up in the air.

One encouraging sign from Toledo is that after nearly two full years of inactivity, Colby Lewis was able to take the mound in a game for the ‘Hens. The results were encouraging; four innings pitched, two hits, one earned run, one walk, five strikeouts. Lewis was a promising starting prospect up until injuries sidelined him, and while he could still make it back to that level, in reality, the Tigers for now will just wait to see how he does for Toledo.

And on the topic of recovering pitchers, Cristhian Martinez made his return to the mound this past weekend, just eleven months after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The evolvement of the procedure has made it so that pitchers are able to make their returns from it faster and faster, even though it's estimated that a pitcher still needs 18 months to return to 100%. While quite a few are excited about Martinez's return, it's important not to get too carried away, despite his initial success with the organization. One member of the organization remarked at the time of his injury, "he was a decent fifth starter for the (minor league) team, not much else," and he still doesn't have the type of stuff that will make him anything more than an innings eater.

Moving onto others of note, certainly a few Tiger fans were wondering where exactly a number of pitchers were when the rosters came out last week. It was assumed they were all in extended spring training (or released), but nothing was released.

TigsTown Associate Editor Mark Anderson has learned the status of four such prospects; Collin Mahoney, Jay Sborz, Anthony Tomey, and Matt O'Brien.

Mahoney was having control issues from May on last season, and even saw a drop in his velocity. In January, Mahoney underwent elbow surgery and is currently undergoing rehab. Unfortunately for Mahoney, as of now, there is no timetable set for his return.

Sborz, Tomey and O'Brien meanwhile are down in extended spring training, still waiting on an assignment. Both Tomey and Sborz are having control issues and will remain down in extended spring, while things are still up in the air as to why O'Brien remains working on the back fields in Lakeland, especially considering his age and the success he had last season with Oneonta.

Finally, as mentioned previously, the Minor League Notebook will take a bit of a different format this year, starting next week. Each Monday, TigsTown will release its weekly Power Rankings, evaluating every player in the system and who is playing the hottest. Every Tuesday will take much the same format as what you've seen above, with all the latest rumors and rumblings about the happenings down on the farm. Each Wednesday we'll dedicate to one club and focus on a certain aspect – evaluating the progress of some of the prospects, discussing the coaching staff, etc. Every Thursday will bring a draft update, detailing who the Tigers might be focusing on, as well as which positions. And Friday will wrap up the week with any and all juicy rumors that come TigsTown's way, both at the minor league and big league level.

And for those that haven't yet stopped by, TigsTown.com has opened up the TigsTown Premium Forum, for only subscribers to TigsTown.com. At the forum, you can ask any particular question about anyone or anything in particular, and one of the TigsTown staff members (myself or Associate Editors Mark Anderson or Jason Avery) will be happy to tackle.


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