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Notes: Rodney headed for DL
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04/01/2004  8:10 PM ET
Notes: Rodney headed for DL
Fernando Rodney will begin the season on the disabled list for the Tigers. (AP)
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- At least the Tigers know who will be on their Opening Day pitching staff.

On the same day the team optioned Ugueth Urbina to Class A Lakeland, sent Rule 5 left-hander Mike Bumatay back to Colorado, placed fellow Rule 5 pick Lino Urdaneta on the 15-day DL and re-signed Esteban Yan to a one-year contract, the Tigers discovered their only option for what to do with Fernando Rodney. He'll be placed on the 15-day disabled list after a mixed outing at minor-league camp Thursday morning.

Statistically, Rodney was dominant in his lone inning of work, striking out two out of three batters and throwing seven strikes out of eight pitches. The discouraging part was that he still felt discomfort when he threw.

"I'm [feeling] OK with the breaking ball and changeup," Rodney said, "and I threw a couple sliders for strikes. But my fastball wasn't feeling 100 percent."

He tried to let loose on a fastball warming up before the game, but felt the same twinge around his elbow. He went with everything but the heater once he took the field.

The fact that he didn't feel pain throwing his other pitches is being taken as a positive. However, the injury is no longer considered related to triceps tendinitis as it was earlier. He's scheduled to be examined in Lakeland before the Tigers break camp.

"I didn't see anything that looked like he was dramatically hurt," Trammell said. "We just want to be safe."

The Tigers will place Rodney on the disabled list retroactive to his injury, but he must spend a minimum of six days on the DL. That would leave him eligible to be activated for the middle game of the first home series against Minnesota if he's healthy.

Until then, Danny Patterson is the first choice as temporary closer. His migraine problems appear to be behind him, and he was ready to pitch for a second straight day had the Tigers gone into the bottom of the ninth.

"We're just trying to do the best we can," Trammell said of his bullpen. "Maybe it's not the best situation, but it is what it is and we deal with it. I think we have some capable guys and we'll give them an opportunity, and we'll get some help later with Urbina and Rodney."

Sloppy baseball: A four-error game from the Tigers defense made pitching the lesser of Trammell's worries Thursday afternoon. The miscues included a two-run, three-base error from Alex Sanchez when he dropped Omar Vizquel's two-out fly ball to center in the third.

Eric Munson made his seventh error of the spring in the fourth when he overthrow Carlos Peña on a Victor Martinez ground ball. Carlos Guillen had the next when he couldn't handle Peña's throw that would've nabbed Matt Lawton at second base following his RBI single in the sixth.

Another play, a Casey Blake fly ball that right fielder Bobby Higginson lost in the sun, was credited as a triple.

"It was sloppy," Trammell said of the game. "I'm not going to elaborate because I'm not very happy."

Thursday's errors increased the Tigers' Spring Training total to 56, more than doubling what any other AL team has posted. Thirty-seven of the 192 runs Tigers pitching has surrendered this spring are unearned.

"I thought the Spring Training games were over as far as 13-11 or 10-9 [scores] were concerned," Trammell said. "I would've been much happier if we had lost and it had been a cleaner game."

Lost luggage: Another fielding adventure, so to speak, began just before the game. Ivan Rodriguez was scheduled to catch until he opened his bag to find neither his helmet nor his mask. That bag didn't make the trip, and none of the other catchers had his head size.

Mike DiFelice became the last-minute starter behind the plate. Rodriguez shifted over to DH, bumping Rondell White from the lineup. Chris Shelton, who caught part of Thursday morning's minor-league intrasquad game, replaced DiFelice for the final few innings.

Knoedler rocks Cleveland: It'll be forgotten on the stats sheet once the regular season begins, but minor-league Jason Knoedler won't soon forget his first home run in a Tigers uniform. His grand slam off Jason Westbrook fueled a seven-run eighth inning.

Knoedler has been in minor-league camp all spring, but the Tigers have brought him along on recent Spring Training road trips as a late-inning substitute.

"I felt really good getting an opportunity like that," he said.

It was especially sweet considering how much he hears about the Indians. He was surrounded by Cleveland fans going to school at Miami of Ohio. His Spring Training roommate, Dave Mattle, grew up following the Tribe in his hometown of Barberton, Ohio.

Coming up: The Tigers finish out the home portion of their Spring Training schedule with a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Indians at Joker Marchant Stadium. Gary Knotts makes his final Spring Training tuneup as he tries to beat out Nate Robertson for the fifth starter job. Cliff Lee starts for the Indians.

Jason Beck is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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