Notes: Rodney sent to disabled list again
Tigers to keep reliever on DL until he is 100 percent
DETROIT -- Fernando Rodney is back on the disabled list, and the Tigers plan to keep him there until they believe he can pitch at 100 percent strength. At this point, however, there's nothing to suggest it's going to be a lengthy stay.
Results of an MRI exam taken on Monday in Detroit showed no structural damage, and he has been diagnosed with tendinitis in both his right forearm and shoulder. The club, not to mention Rodney himself, is hoping that a combination of rest and strengthening exercises will clear it up by the time the Tigers return to action following the All-Star break in two weeks. If it doesn't, however, they're going to wait it out until he's better.
"I've been told that it's nothing major, no serious problems, so we're going to shut him down," manager Jim Leyland said. "I've already talked to Fernando about it, and we have an agreement that he's not going to try to be a hero and come back and pitch too soon. If it's not right, I'm not going to pitch him."
The forearm tightness, Rodney said, dates back about two weeks. He didn't feel discomfort in the shoulder until his last outing Saturday, when his usual mid-90s fastball was down to anywhere between 88 and 91 mph during his eighth inning appearance against the Braves. Both of his outs, an Edgar Renteria groundout and a Chipper Jones fly ball, came on offspeed pitches.
In previous outings, Rodney was throwing harder.
"The thing that's been a little confusing about it is there are moments when he throws 94 [mph]," Leyland said on Saturday in Atlanta. "And then he's back to 90. But if he's throwing consistently 90, I doubt that he'll be effective."
Rodney, for his part, noticed the same thing, and he wasn't sure of the reason either. The Tigers needed to make a roster move before the game anyway to make room for Nate Robertson, who returned from the DL to start Tuesday's game, so this was the time to make a decision.
Considering that his previous stint on the DL a month ago didn't fix matters, and that he had Tommy John surgery on his elbow three years ago, the diagnosis of tendinitis wasn't the worst that could've happened.
"It feels good because it's not something [as] bad," Rodney said.
The Tigers struggled to fill their eighth inning relief needs when Rodney was on the DL last time, eventually leading Leyland to use closer Todd Jones in the eighth inning one fateful night in Cleveland. That isn't likely to happen again, but it's expected that the mixing and matching will resume in the eighth according to the situation.
Record territory: Carlos Guillen didn't wait long to extend his RBI streak. His first-inning sacrifice fly marked his 10th consecutive game with an RBI, the longest streak by a Tiger since Willie Horton drove in runs in 10 straight from April 18-May 1, 1976. No Tigers player has had a longer such streak in at least the last 50 years, according to research on baseballreference.com. No Major Leaguer has had a longer streak since Mike Piazza's 15-game RBI streak for the Mets from June 14 to July 2, 2000.
Four innings later, Curtis Granderson extended the lead with a solo homer off the right-field pole, his 10th home run of the year, to go with 22 doubles and 14 triples. With that, he became just the ninth player in Major League history to reach double digits in all three categories before the All-Star break, the last being Nomar Garciaparra in 2003.
All-Star time: Fan balloting for next month's All-Star Game ends on Thursday night, but Leyland's job as the American League manager is just beginning. From Wednesday into the weekend, he'll get together with league representatives to finalize 29 of the 30 spots on the team and determine five finalists for the one remaining opening for MLB.com's Final Vote.
Realistically, Leyland doesn't have much say. Between fan balloting for the starters, player balloting for bench spots and pitchers, and the Final Vote, Leyland has a say in about seven spots, four of which go to pitchers. Add in the fact that every team has to have a player representing them, and some of those spots are already decided as well.
"I'm looking forward to the game and the festivities," Leyland said. "I'm not looking forward to the next couple days."
Griffey never forgets: A day after Todd Jones was surprised to see the bat Ken Griffey Jr. used for his 577th career home run at his locker, Griffey confirmed to reporters in Cincinnati that he never forgot Jones' request.
When the two were teammates with the Reds in 2004, Jones asked Griffey for one of his home-run bats -- not just any bat, but one he used for one swing for a homer. It took Griffey three years until he did it a few weeks ago.
"Of all the requests that I get, that one kind of stuck out," Griffey told reporters Tuesday. "It was the first time that I went up there with a [new] bat and hit a home run. The toughest part was should I use it again? Usually, I may foul off a couple and then hit one. This one wasn't fouled off. One swing."
Once he did, he put it in a box and sent it off to Detroit a few days later.
"I had an opportunity to do that," Griffey said of the gesture. "He's always been real good to me and my family."
Hitting inside: The Tigers decided to forgo batting practice in favor of hitting in the cages on Wednesday afternoon, and the hot temperatures in Detroit had something to do with it. Leyland said they made the decision to do that before they came back home. Part of it was the forecast temperatures, but Leyland also wanted to give his players a day to come to the ballpark a little later if they wanted. He did not want to do that on Monday, when batting practice provided a way to get their energy going after a late-night flight home Sunday evening.
Coming up: With Detroit's annual fireworks display over the Detroit River scheduled for Wednesday night, the Tigers will have a rare weekday afternoon game in the middle of a series with a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Comerica Park. Kenny Rogers (1-0, 0.00) will make his first home start of the season after tossing six scoreless innings against the Braves last Friday at Turner Field. Kevin Millwood (4-6, 7.31) is scheduled to start for Texas.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.