CHICAGO -- Sunday was Jim Leyland's 3,000th game as a Major League manager, making him the 18th manager in baseball history to reach the mark. He hopes to manage many more.
"I feel good. I'm enjoying what I'm doing," Leyland said this weekend. "I guess that means you're old. Other than that, I don't put a lot of stock in [records]. I like [managing], and I'm going to try to continue to do it. We'll see how that works out."
Leyland said he does not want to be a "hanger-on" as a manager, somebody who hangs around in another post for posterity after he's done managing, unless he feels he can provide some benefit. He also doesn't want to feel like he's hanging on as a manager. He doesn't expect to be around if the club feels like it can do better.
"I don't ever want to be the problem," he said. "If I'm the problem, they won't have to tell me. I'll know I'm the problem."
He also doesn't want to keep managing if he doesn't have the fire for it. He stepped down after one season in Colorado for that reason, and he says he'd do it ago if he lost the passion for it. But he doesn't feel that way, and he feels like this has been a fun team for him to manage because of the teaching aspect he has had to rekindle.
"I'm having a good time with this team," he said. "I don't like all the results sometimes. I get ticked off, and I'm glad I get ticked off. If I don't get ticked off, I should go home. But I don't get ticked off every day."
Leyland has a statistical quirk in that his sum of wins and losses does not equal his total games managed. He can thank two games from his 1989 season managing in Pittsburgh for that. A pair of Pirates games that year were called due to inclement weather, but had tie scores at the time. Those counted as official games, but didn't count in his win-loss record.
As it is, with Joe Torre and Bobby Cox stepping down at season's end, Leyland will be second in wins among active managers behind his good friend, Tony La Russa, whose future is also undecided.
Tigers to use setup by committee
CHICAGO -- With Jose Valverde still out with a tender right elbow, Phil Coke remains on promotion from his usual setup role to the temporary closer. Filling in for Coke at setup will be a group effort.
Instead of a closer by committee, the Tigers will be setting up by committee. Manager Jim Leyland said right-hander Ryan Perry, left-hander Daniel Schlereth, rookie right-hander Robbie Weinhardt and lefty Brad Thomas could all see eighth-inning work with leads to hold.
In some ways, it could be an audition for some of them to see how they could fit on the 2011 roster. Perry seemingly would have a spot secure, though not necessarily setting up, but Schlereth, Weinhardt and Thomas are all in their first seasons as Tigers. Schlereth has already seen some big situations against left-handed hitters as a late-season test to see if he could be a situational lefty.
Those auditions could be bigger if Leyland further ponders Coke as a potential starter for next year.
Leyland aggressive in sending Laird
CHICAGO -- Yes, that was Tigers catcher Gerald Laird entering Saturday's game as a pinch-runner. And yes, that was Laird on the move from first base before Austin Jackson hit his two-out single in the eighth that put runners at the corners for Scott Sizemore's go-ahead three-run homer.
No, it was not a hit-and-run play. It was a straight steal, and it came from the manager.
"He was stealing on the second pitch," Jim Leyland said Sunday. "He was told that before Jackson's at-bat."
It was a situation where Leyland wanted to take a chance in a tie game with Laird, 3-for-4 in stolen bases this season and 8-for-9 in two years as a Tiger.
"Take a shot," Leyland said. "If he gets there and Jackson gets a hit, you might get a run. If [he gets caught], Jackson leads off."
He was stealing specifically on the second pitch. Leyland wanted to get Laird going, but he worried that the White Sox might think about that as well and try to pick him off before the first pitch. As it turned out, the White Sox tried a pickoff throw before the second pitch, but Laird got back in time.