Inside Pitch: Rogers Can Field

One facet of Kenny Rogers that often gets overlooked when evaluating him as a pitcher - people forget he can play defense. That was evident Monday against the Angels. Plus, do the Tigers have a plan for rookie Jordan Tata?

There's a facet of baseball that's often overlooked until a pitcher like Kenny Rogers joins your team, and that's the pitcher who fields his position.

Rogers is a four-time Gold Glove winner whose glove just seems like a magnet for baseballs.

On Monday night, in his start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Rogers had two putouts and five assists. It was hardly a typical start, but it was typical of the way no ball gets by the 41-year-old lefty.

"I think if you've got any common sense at all, you watched the way he worked in spring training and the way he got off the mound to field balls," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "If I were them, I'd watch. Kenny shouldn't have to go around and talk to them about it. All they should have to do is observe."

"He makes us think about it so much more," said his teammate, the stylistically similar Mike Maroth. "Just watching him field his position in spring training, it's unbelievable. Any ball up the middle, you think, 'Uh oh. I've got to get it.' There's a lot of balls I should be able to get to, especially watching him."

It's one of the reasons Rogers is closing in on 200 career victories, a total he'll reach with seven more wins.

REPLAY: Designated hitter Tim Salmon drove in two runs with a home run and a single Monday night and four Los Angeles pitchers combined to shut out Detroit, 3-0, to end the Tigers' five-game winning streak.

Salmon hit his home run in the second inning off left-hander Kenny Rogers (3-2), who allowed just four hits in seven innings. Two hits, the second a single by Salmon, in the sixth made it 2-0 in the sixth. The Angels added an unearned run off rookie right-hander Jordan Tata in the eighth.

Ervin Santana (2-0) worked the first six innings, allowing five hits and striking out the first 10 of the 15 Detroit hitters who fanned in the game.

Brendan Donnelly, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez closed out the game, each with a shutout inning. The Tigers were held to six hits and were shut out for the first time this season.

--LHP Kenny Rogers drew a loss for the Tigers on Monday night but still turned in a solid pitching performance.

Rogers gave up a solo home run and an RBI single, both to DH Tim Salmon of the Angels, but only two other hits in his seven innings of work.

Rogers (3-2) has only had one poor start for Detroit this season.

--RHP Jordan Tata gave up an unearned run Monday night in an inning of work as Manager Jim Leyland continues to break in his rookie pitcher.

Angels 3B Chone Figgins doubled and went to third on an error by RF Magglio Ordonez, then scored on a sacrifice fly.

Tata then retired the side without incident. He has not looked overwhelmed by the jump from high Class A last year to the majors this season.

--1B Chris Shelton was hitless in Seattle but started the final stop in Detroit's road trip Monday night with a single.

Shelton will be glad to see the three-city trip end, because he's just 3-for-23 since leaving Detroit.

Manager Jim Leyland said he feels Shelton "got a little drained" from the attention he drew during his early home run surge. "He's a young kid. He's not used to being the center of attention. That's not his style. To be honest, I don't think that was really good for him, but it goes with the territory and it's a learning process.

"I really shouldn't say that it wasn't good for him -- that's a bad choice of words. It was good for him in a sense that he deserved to be recognized for what he was doing. He should have been complimented by everybody. But it was bad for him in a sense that it happened so fast. He wasn't use to handling stuff like that."

--CF Curtis Granderson drew a pair of walks Monday night as he continues to perform well in his leadoff role.

Granderson has been hitting around .300 this season and his walk-to-strikeout ratio has improved over his rookie season.

--LF Craig Monroe struck out four times Monday night in a continuation of his erratic season's start.

Monroe hit home runs in each of his previous games, but has been striking out too much and his batting average has sunk to near .200.

He'll hit the ball well for a game or two, and then revert back to his free-swinging ways again.

--DH Dmitri Young rejoined the Tigers on Monday and took batting practice in anticipation of being activated off the disabled list soon.

Young was placed on the disabled list April 15 with a strained right quadriceps muscle.

"He's doing great," Manager Jim Leyland said. "He feels great. He can hit."

Young can't be activated until the end of the month.

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