Notes: Miner impressing on mound
Leyland happy with reliever's performance since Triple-A stint
DETROIT -- There hasn't been much griping from the Tigers clubhouse from players this season. Zach Miner's comments after a demotion to Triple-A Toledo in August could be considered the closest thing to negative comments.Miner felt he didn't deserve the demotion and expressed frustration that he was the player who was sent down to make room for Jair Jurrjens. Leyland agreed with Miner, even though the move was made out of necessity because he was virtually the only pitcher who still had Minor League options left. But Leyland also said Miner still had work to do to become a consistent pitcher. "He gave us a message and he was right," Leyland said. "But we gave him a message and we were right. I think he's responded tremendously and I'm very proud of him." Miner never appeared in a game with the Mud Hens and was promptly called back to Detroit when Jurrjens went on the disabled list with shoulder pain. Miner got the win in Saturday's game with 2 1/3 innings of relief and has the second best ERA on the team at 3.00. Although Miner has been a starter for most of his career, and won seven games as a starter last season for the Tigers, Leyland said his immediate future is likely as a reliever. Wherever he pitches, Leyland is encouraged that Miner took his message to heart. "I like that kind of stuff," Leyland said. "That's good tonic. That's player-manager relationship, communication. "He looks like a guy that wants to show an old man he can pitch," Leyland said.
Jurrjens ready: Jurrjens will start the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Rangers after a pain-free bullpen session on Saturday.Jurrjens was placed on the DL after he left his last start in the second inning with shoulder pain. Will there be any restrictions on Jurrjens in just his fourth Major League start? "Yeah, the other teams' hitters," Leyland said. "That's the only restrictions." Rodney watch: Leyland said reliever Fernando Rodney would likely be held out of Sunday's game after throwing a scoreless inning on Saturday. Rodney was nearly untouchable after returning from the disabled list in August with arm troubles. He had 11 straight scoreless outings before he gave up three runs in a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to the A's last Sunday, as well as the go-ahead runs in eighth inning last Thursday against the White Sox, even though the Tigers came back to win. "I'm watching him close," Leyland said. "He's fine, he's a little weak, not sore, no pain, and I can respect that. I've got my eye on him. He's all right. We're all all right." No comparison: When the Devil Rays came to Detroit earlier this season, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was quick to compare 23-year-old B.J. Upton to the early career of Barry Bonds. Leyland said there is no such comparison between Curtis Granderson and Bonds. "Different guys," Leyland said. Bonds hit 25 homers and had 32 steals in his second full season as a Major Leaguer. Granderson entered Sunday with 20 homers and 19 steals, though his extra-base power has been well documented this season. He recorded his 20th steal of the season in the first inning on Sunday and was the first player since Willie Mays -- Bonds' godfather -- to have 20 homers, 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 steals in a season. Mays did it in 1957. He also homered one inning later. Hotel living: Virgil Vasquez and Yorman Bazardo have bounced between Toledo and Detroit in several different promotions to fill in for injured players. When the rosters expanded to 40 players on Sept. 1, Vasquez and Bazardo both knew they would finally stay with the Tigers for an extended stretch. But there was still the issue of finding a place to live. They decided to pool together their allotment of seven free hotel nights, courtesy of the Tigers, and stay at The Antheneum -- a hotel located about five blocks from Comerica Park. "We've got 14 so that will cover us until about the end of the next homestand," Vasquez said. "There may be two nights where we have to pay for it, but it'll be nice, it's right by the ballpark." Vasquez said the hotel suite is nice, even though there is no kitchen. "There so much food around and there's food around here [in the clubhouse] everyday anyway so we just take little snacks," Vasquez said. Minor League playoff update: Double-A Erie ended their season with an 8-6 loss to Akron in the Eastern League playoffs. Dallas Trahern, one of the Tigers' top pitching prospects, allowed seven runs over five innings in the loss. Trahern finished the regular season with 12 wins, three complete games and led the Eastern League with 162 2/3 innings pitched. Class A West Michigan took a 1-0 series lead over South Bend with a 4-0 win in the finals of the Eastern Division playoffs of the Midwest League. Jeff Gerbe, a former pitcher for Michigan State University, allowed three hits and struck out three over 7 2/3 innings. Up next: The Tigers will face the Blue Jays for the first time in nearly four months on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for April 5. That game was rescheduled due to freezing temperatures and light flurries, while Monday's forecast is a bit more inviting: Early forecasts report a high of 72 degrees, though there is a 40 percent chance of rain. Kenny Rogers (3-2, 4.78) will start against Roy Halladay (14-7, 3.94). Tickets purchased for April's game will be honored on Monday.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.