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Tag:Casper Wells
Posted on: February 29, 2012 8:48 pm
 

Mariners' Gutierrez to start season on DL

Franklin GutierrezBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will once again miss opening day, and he could miss all of April after the team announced he suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle.

The good news is he isn't expected to need surgery. He will need at least four weeks before he is able to participate in any baseball activities.

"At this point, we don't know," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. "Every body responds to things differently. We do't know wwhat he'll be able to do and at this point, we'll probably just ease him into things gradually."

Last season Gutierrez didn't play until May after being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome during spring training.

Chone Figgins played center field in Wednesday's intrasquad game. Michael Suanders and Casper Wells, along with Figgins, are candidates to replace Gutierrez while he's gone.

Gutierrez played in just 92 games last season, hitting .224/.261/.273 with one home run.

He left Tuesday's workout with the pectoral injury and had an MRI the same day. He flew back to Seattle on Wednesday to see the team's doctor.

In other injury news from Wednesday:

• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to have his right eye examined by team doctors after his bunt attempt hit him in the face.

According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Burnett joked, "Where did the bone go?" after the ball hit him in the face.

Burnett wasn't scheduled to throw on Wednesday.
 
• Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson threw his first bullpen session since suffering a concussion on Feb. 20. Hanson threw 30-pitches and told rpeorters he felt good.

"I think I threw a little better than I had expected," Hanson said (via MLB.com). "I've had some time to think about some mechanical stuff. I was surprised by how well I threw."

Hanson may throw live batting practice on Friday, but he still has to pass one more part of the concussion impact test.

•The Angels' Kendrys Morales is making progress from his 2010 ankle injury, hitting from both sides of the plate, something he didn't do last spring. He also added S-turns in his running -- another thing he never did last season.

"He's in a different position now because he's had nothing but a progression to the point where you can see that he'll progress to playing games in a couple of weeks," manager Mike Scioscia told reporters, including Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

• Keeping with the theme of Angels displaced by Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo was cleared by doctors on Wednesday to return to the field.

Trumbo, who had a stress fracture in his right foot, is attempting to make the move to third base. [Orange County Register]

• Cubs catcher Geovany Soto will miss the start of the Cactus League with a sore groin, but told reporters it wasn't a big deal.

"It's spring training, and there's no hurry to get out there," Soto told reporters, including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "I want to be there as much as I can, just to play. I've had four months off and you train hard all offseason, so you want to get every game possible to get ready for the season."

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Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:22 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 2:35 pm
 

Spring primer: Seattle Mariners


By Matt Snyder


The Mariners are coming off a 67-95 season, when they finished 29 games out in the AL West -- seven behind the third-place A's. It was the sixth time in the past eight years Seattle came in last and they haven't seen the postseason since 2001. One big trade headlined the offseason as they attempt to turn the tide.

Scott Miller's Camp Report: With Jesus, Seattle seeks resurrection | Likes, Dislikes

Major additions: C/DH Jesus Montero, RHP Kevin Millwood, C John Jaso, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
Major departures: RHP Michael Pineda, UT Adam Kennedy

Probable lineup
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Dustin Ackley, 2B
3. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
4. Justin Smoak, 1B
5. Jesus Montero, DH
6. Mike Carp, LF
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Olivo, C
9. Brendan Ryan, SS

Probable rotation
1. Felix Hernandez
2. Jason Vargas
3. Hisashi Iwakuma
4. Kevin Millwood
5. Hector Noesi

Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush are also in the mix.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Brandon League
Set-up: RHP Shawn Kelley, LHP George Sherrill

Important bench players
C John Jaso, IF Kyle Seager, OF Casper Wells, OF Trayvon Robinson

Prospect to watch
With the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Mariners pegged left-handed starting pitcher Danny Hultzen from the University of Virginia. It's likely his presence -- in addition to Furbush, Beaven and prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton -- made it easier to deal Pineda for some offensive help. Hultzen appeared in the top 30 overall in most prospect rankings this spring and is said to be close to big-league ready. The M's likely don't have a reason to rush him, but if he's ready come June or July, it wouldn't be surprising to see him make an impact this season.

Fantasy sleeper: Kyle Seager
"Seager isn't much of a home-run threat, and playing home games at Safeco Field won't help matters, but his gap power and keen batting eye could help him to an average in the .290 to .300 range, if not higher. Owners may look at last season's .258 mark, his lack of prospect hype and his place in a less-than-imposing Mariners lineup and discount him. However, Seager's ability to get on base and rack up doubles makes him worth a late-round flier in mixed league formats." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Fantasy "head-to-head hero:" Dustin Ackley
"Ackley's in-the-park extra-base hits will make him one of the seven or eight best second basemen in Head-to-Head, but the potential for mediocre homer and run production makes him a later-round option for mixed league Roto owners." - Al Melchior [Full Mariners team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Ackley and Montero become stars, Figgins returns to form, a finally-healthy Gutierrez returns to form as well and Ichiro thrives in the 3-hole, finally giving the Mariners a viable offense. Iwakuma adjusts to America impressively while Hultzen storms onto the scene in early June to provide an additional pitching boost. The Rangers and Angels suffer major injury and underachievement issues, and the Mariners shock everyone by winning the AL West.

Pessimistic outlook
Heading into this season, expect the Mariners to be picked third by pretty much everyone. Thus, the pessimistic outlook would be that the Mariners find a way to finish below the A's. If the offense sputters, younger players stall in their development and the rotation behind King Felix proves thin -- which is possible -- that last place finish could repeat.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 10:38 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 7:15 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Detroit Tigers



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

For today's installment of the Homegrown series, I can't stop thinking about a certain trade. Earlier this week, I was reminded of the deal anyway. In a pretty minor move, the Rays traded for relief pitcher Burke Badenhop. That's worth discussing here because he was the last standing of six players Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski sent to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis, for that matter). To acquire one of the biggest superstars in baseball -- and a now-washed up pitcher -- Dombrowski dealt Badenhop, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Mike Rabelo. Upon Badenhop being dealt, the Marlins now have nothing left to show for the 28-year-old Cabrera. Trahern is stuck in Double-A and appears unlikely to help the big-league club, either.

So, yeah, this homegrown club is missing a huge bat in the middle of the order. But this is also an opportunity to praise Dombrowski for one hell of a trade.

Lineup

1. Omar Infante, SS
2. Matt Joyce, RF
3. Curtis Granderson, CF
4. Brennan Boesch, 1B
5. Alex Avila, C
6. Cody Ross, DH
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Cameron Maybin, LF
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Justin Verlander
2. Jair Jurrjens
3. Rick Porcello
4. Guillermo Moscoso
5. Charlie Furbush

Bullpen

Closer - Francisco Cordero
Set up - Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya, Jason Frasor, Burke Badenhop, Ryan Perry
Long - Andrew Miller

Notable Bench Players

Will Rhymes, Ryan Raburn, Scott Sizemore, Danny Worth, Brandon Inge, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly, Casper Wells, Andres Torres

What's Good?

That guy sitting atop the starting rotation is pretty decent, no? Getting 34 or so starts out of Justin Verlander gives this ballclub a great chance to win plenty of low-scoring games. Jurrjens is a fine number two as well. I love Avila behind the plate and Maybin in left field would be a defensive force -- most metrics showed Maybin as a far superior defender in center to Granderson this past season, but I went with the logic that Granderson would stay in center as the star of the team. If he wanted to pull a Cal Ripken and move, OK, the defense gets even better. Finally, the bench depth is pretty good, as there are several guys capable of providing good spot starts.

What's Not?

While it's definitely not awful, that batting order leaves a lot to be desired. Joyce is really good and Granderson is great. Otherwise? I'll channel my inner Larry David and just say "eh." There would be an awful lot of pressure on Boesch and Avila in those run producing spots, that's for sure. Also, while it's not horrible, that bullpen bridge to Cordero isn't exactly one that eases the mind. Can you imagine how many cigarettes Jim Leyland would have to choke down to stomach a night with Badenhop, Frasor and Rodney tasked with putting up zeroes? They can do it, but they'll just about give you a heart attack in the process.

Comparison to real 2011

I'll go out on a limb here (please note sarcasm) and say winning 95 games and cruising to the AL Central title is about as realistic with this group as this exercise. A winning record might be possible, as this team feels just mediocre. The likes of Verlander, Granderson, Avila, Joyce and Jurrjens keep them away from "suck" territory. I'd go high-70s in wins with a ceiling of 83 victories.

Next: Houston Astros

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 4:58 pm
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Seattle Mariners

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Seattle Mariners
Record: 66-90, 24 games back in AL West
Manager: Eric Wedge
Best hitter: Dustin Ackley -- .283/.359/.431, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 37 R, 14 2B, 6 SB
Best pitcher: Felix Hernandez -- 14-13, 3.32 ERA, 1.181 WHIP, 220 K, 230 1/3 IP

The Mariners aren't going to lose 100 games, so there's that. The team has done that in two of the last four seasons, so at least that's not going to happen in 2011. But for a team that was in contention through the first three months of the season, 2011 will be a disappointment, regardless of the final tally.

2011 SEASON RECAP

No matter what else happened in 2011, the Mariners' season will be most remembered for a 17-game losing streak in July, sandwiched around the All-Star break. The Mariners were at .500, 43-43 and just 2.5 games out of first place after beating the A's on July 5. After their next win they were 14.5 games out and held just a 44-60 record.

Even when the Mariners were a half-game behind the Rangers in June, nobody expected it to last. It was more of a nice surprise than any kind of real run toward the playoffs.

However, there were two huge positives -- the performances of rookies Ackley and Michael Pineda. Pineda opened the season in the team's rotation and immediately appeared to be the prince to King Felix. Pineda, 22, is 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, but started the season 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA in his first 17 starts. He had some struggles, but the talent is obvious and even had some people even mentioning the possibility of a trade of Hernandez. That's not going to happen, instead the team will have a fearsome front of the rotation for years to come.

Ackley came up later in the season, but has done nothing but hit since singling off of Roy Oswalt in his first big-league at-bat.

While the kids impressed, the veterans were another story. Even the incomparable Ichiro Suzuki struggled in 2011, as it appears he'll fall short of 200 hits for the first time in his MLB career. Suzuki had a career .331 batting average coming into the season in which he's hit just .274/.312/.340. Chone Figgins continues to be a disaster, hitting .188/.241/.243, and is under contract through 2013. While Figgins is still around, Milton Bradley isn't, as the team designated him for assignment in May after he removed himself from a game and left the stadium. Franklin Guitierrez has never recovered from a stomach ailment, hitting just .224/.261/.273.

2012 AUDIT

The Mariners have the start of a good rotation, with Hernandez, Pineda and 22-year-old right-hander Blake Beavan. Charlie Furbush, 25, could surprise.

It appears the 2012 lineup is set -- or at least it is contractually. That's the good news. The bad news is that it's pretty much the same as it was this year when the team had the worst offense in the American League by just about any measurable statistic.

At this point, it seems like the best chance the Mariners have is hoping their pitching is good enough to carry them for most of the year and the likes of Justin Smoak, Trayvon Robinson, Casper Wells and Mike Carp. Yeah, that's not a lot to hang your hat on, but that's about where we are.

FREE AGENTS

RHP Chris Ray
2B Adam Kennedy
RHP Jamey Wright

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The team needs more offense, that's for sure. But where does it come from? The team has Bradley, Yuniesky Betancourt and Carlos Silva coming off the books -- but that's enough to make any GM balk at bringing in another big free-agent contract. And that doesn't even mention the $18 million still owed to Figgins. Ichiro will be in his last year under contract at $18 million and nobody's going to take him off their hands.

But the team still needs offensive help, so here's some suggestions that could help out the Mariners:

  • Sign Prince Fielder. It'd help, and when Fielder hits the ball, not even Safeco Field can hold his bombs. But with the ghosts of Figgins and the warning sign of Adam Dunn still out there, It may be tough for Jack Zduriencik to convince ownership to open their pocketbook to sign the 27-year-old Fielder. Unlike Dunn, though, Fielder is still under 30 and has several big years ahead of him. It will be tough to get Fielder to come to Safeco, but maybe he's heard Seattle has some amazing vegetarian restaurants. There aren't many quick fixes for an offense, but it's a heck of a start.
  • Try to deal Gutierrez. Yeah, it's selling low, and that's never a good thing -- and the Mariners would have to eat some salary, but he's still a defensive presence and can have a decent shot at bring back at least some bullpen help.
  • And why bullpen help? Because closer Brandon League could bring back a bat. To get something in return, you've got to give something up. And the All-Star closer is in his last year of arbitration, so it's better to get rid of him now and get something in return rather than run the risk of losing him in free agency (and wait for draft picks to develop). And at this point, a closer is a luxury, not a necessity. You have to score runs and get a lead before you can close one out.

If the Mariners get close to .500 and the rest of the division struggles (it could happen), things could get much better -- or at least more interesting in Seattle in 2012. But it's not until 2013 when Ichiro and others come off the books that the next generation of Mariners can take over.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 1:16 am
 

Playoff race: Angels can't gain ground



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Ranger starter Tommy Hunter helped out his old mates, throwing seven shutout innings in an 8-3 Orioles victory over the Angels, keeping the status quo in the American League West as the Rangers fell 4-0 to the Mariners in Seattle. The Rangers still lead the division by you games.

While Hunter was silencing the Angels' bats, Texas native Blake Beavan shut down the Rangers, throwing eight shutout innings on just four hits, striking out three with no walks. Beavan was the Rangers' first-round pick in 2007, but was traded to Seattle as part of the deal that sent Cliff Lee to Texas last season. The Mariners scored three unearned runs off of Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the third inning before Casper Wells homered in the seventh inning for Seattle.

In Baltimore, the Angels' Dan Haren struggled, allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits in five innings, with Mark Reynolds taking him deep in the fifth inning. Haren is now 6-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 18 starts on the road this season and 9-3 with a 2.45 ERA in Anaheim.

Texas Rangers
86-65
Remaining schedule: 2 @ SEA, 3 @ OAK, 3 vs. SEA, 3 @ LAA
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 91.3 percent

Los Angeles Angels
82-68, 3.5 GB
Remaining schedule: 2 @ BAL, 4 @ TOR, 3 v. OAK, 3 v. TEX
Coolstandings.com expectancy of division title: 8.7 percent

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:23 am
 

Jays' Morrow apologizes to Wells via Twitter



Casper WellsBy C. Trent Rosecrans

In one of the scariest things you'll see on a baseball field, Seattle's Casper Wells took a 97 mph fastball to the face. The good news is that it got "just" the tip of Wells' nose and X-rays showed no broken bones.

Take a look for yourself, MLB.com has the video here.

Wells, who entered the game having homered in his last four games, was 0 for 2 in the sixth inning when Brandon Marrow's fastball came up and in on Carp, hitting him on the tip of the nose.

"It just felt like my nose fell off pretty much," Wells told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times after the game. "I had a little bit of a headache. I couldn't see, which was scary. My eyes got all watered up and I couldn't see what was going on. It felt like it squared me up right in the face. But watching the replay, I kind of got out of the way.

"It was just really scary more than anything. Coming right at my face and I just couldn't get out of the way of it."

Morrow, 27, was the Mariners' first-round pick in the 2006 draft (fifth overall), but was traded to Toronto after three inconsistent seasons in Seattle following the 2009 season. Since moving to Toronto, he's had his ups and downs, but Wednesday he was at his best, striking out 12 and allowing just three hits in six innings.

However, after the game Morrow was thinking about Wells, and used Twitter to send his apology -- the Jays left to go to Oakland after the game, so he couldn't stick around. Here's Morrow's public apology:

 

While Morrow wasn't able to apologize in person, Wells seemed to be OK with the Twitter apology. Here's his response:

 

See how easy it is when everyone acts like an adult? Morrow wasn't trying to hit Wells, a pitch -- even on a night when he had great control -- got away from him and created a moment that was pretty scary for everyone who saw it, none more than Wells, I'm sure, but second on that list had to be Morrow. Even though Tony La Russa would likely disagree, this matter is closed and everything is OK.

HT to Yahoo's Big League Stew.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 9:36 pm
 

R.I.P. Tigers: Injuries play spoiler


As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions in October. Today: our penultimate entry, the Detroit Tigers.

It was a tale of two seasons in the Motor City in 2010: a first half that was better than expected, and a second half that was worse.

Attrition had a lot to do with it, as injuries thinned the ranks and left Triple Crown candidate Miguel Cabrera exposed in the lineup. But the Tigers had a lot of young talent step up, and ended up feeling about as good as you can feel when you lead the division midway through the season and end up in third place with a .500 record.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Injuries. Bad ones, to important players, at critical times.

Brandon Inge broke his hand, Joel Zumaya his elbow and, most damaging, Magglio Ordonez broke his ankle on a slide into home plate on July 24 and never returned. Plus you had Carlos Guillen straining something twice a month and playing just 68 games. The injuries had a domino effect on the team, as roles changed and opponents started being able to pitch around Cabrera.

The offense and bullpen numbers were middle-of-the-pack, but the starting pitching was subpar, 11th in the AL in ERA.

Miguel Cabrera And this should probably more properly fall under what went right, but Armando Galarraga’s “perfect game that wasn’t” on June 2 ended up as more of a gut punch than a highlight. It was a good symbol of the Tigers’ season: No matter what they did, the breaks seemed to be against them.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Cabrera was tremendous, putting up a .328/.420/.622 line with 38 homers and 126 RBIs. His RBI  total, on-base percentage and  OPS+ of 179 were tops in the AL. If it were possible to do it all yourself, he certainly gave it a try. Ordonez, too, was having a big season, batting .303 before his injury.

Young hitting was in abundance, with two outfielders in the rookie of the year conversation. Austin Jackson batted .293, scored 103 runs, hit 34 doubles and play exciting defense. Brennan Boesch looked a heck of a lot better in the first half (.342 average) than the second (.163), but showed he’s got potential.

On the pitching side, Justin Verlander was an 18-game winner and an All-Star, Max Scherzer went 12-11 with a 3.50 ERA after arriving last winter from Arizona, and 22-year-old Rick Porcello weathered some growing pains and a trip to the minors and won five of his last six decisions.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The Tigers farm system is considered thin at the top, but some very good signs arrived from Triple-A Toledo. Will Rhymes (pictured, below right) put himself in the picture for the starting job at second base by batting .304 in 54 games, and outfielder Casper Wells was tremendous 9.323/.364/.538) in a 36-game audition.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Tigers have some good core pieces and a lot of payroll flexibility, and a big part of what went wrong this year can be attributed to injuries. For those reasons, the Tigers are in a good position for 2011.

Will Rhymes SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Tigers have anywhere from $50 million to $70-plus million coming off the books, depending on how you do the accounting, so they’re in good position to address their needs.

The question is, how do they spend that money? They declined Ordonez’s pricey option, but could re-sign him for less. That would be a good start, but they could really use another middle-of-the-order threat.

As for the top free-agent bats, they’ve got room in the outfield for Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, but no place for Adrian Beltre now that they’ve made a multi-year offer to Inge (and Beltre is not likely to become a DH). Detroit could be an attractive option for Adam Dunn if he softens on his demand not to DH.

The Tigers are happy with the trio of Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello at the top of the rotation, and have said they want to convert Phil Coke to starting because they need a left-hander. But a veteran guy like Aaron Harang would fit nicely.

2011 PREDICTION

Look for the Tigers to be contenders next year, making for what should be an entertaining three-way battle with the Twins and White Sox in the Central.
Check out the other R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:07 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:23 am
 

Tigers could have young offense in 2011

Austin Jackson Theoretically, the Tigers could have seven of eight position players on the diamond (excluding pitcher) be rookies from the 2010 season.

That won't happen, but it does underline how much of a transitional season 2010 was for the Tigers and how much young talent the team has in the fold.

Now it's about figuring out which ones start.

"You don't want to downplay what these kids are doing, but you don't want to get carried away, either," manager Jim Leyland told MLive.com .

"If you remember right, four months ago, people were talking about Boesch as Babe Ruth," Leyland added. "All of a sudden, that's gone away and they're talking about Will Rhymes and Casper Wells. You've got to be careful with all that.

"You've got to make sound judgments as an organization."

The seven rookies are:
  • C Alex Avila, who is hitting .228/.323/.338 as a 23-year-old in 311 plate appearances, seems to have played his way into the Tigers' plans, and should be at the very least the backup. He could enter as a starter, but it's likely Detroit pairs Avila with a veteran catcher. (Could they steal someone off the Marlins' wishlist?)
  • 2B Wil Rhymes is quickly becoming a fan favorite and has a .291/.337/.388 mark and just dinged his first home run. He has 195 PA on the year, but at 27 is likely a future utilityman or may have this be his best major-league success. With Carlos Guillen lost to microfracture surgery but eventually on the way back, second could be a position filled with various platoons of Rhymes, Danny Worth, Scott Sizemore and Ryan Raburn.
  • SS Danny Worth succeeded Adam Everett at short, but has struggled to put together a good season while losing time to injury as well, eventually manning the bench behind Jhonny Perala The 24-year-old had a .255/.295/.358 mark but has a sterling defensive reputation. Given the Tigers' interest in a pick-em man at short, Worth has a shot -- but odds are good Peralta returns.
  • Scott Sizemore was supposed to be the starting second baseman to begin 2009. Well, a left ankle fracture took care of that, but Sizemore has rebounded from that to post a .226/.302/.347 mark in 143 PA with three homers with the 25-year-old flashing a .298/.378/.472 line in 342 PA at Triple-A. Sizemore will probably start somewhere in 2011 -- whether at third or second base. Raburn could push him at third, or the team could import a hitter, minimizing second base to a plethora of candidates.
  • Casper Wells, 25, has taken Detroit by storm with three dingers in 70 trips to the plate, checking in with a .354/.400/.596 line.  Given his Triple-A line of .233/.309/.483 was decidedly more tepid, plus the struggles of Brennan Boesch, Wells won't be entering 2011 as a starter. Odds are he battles with Boesch and Raburn in one outfield position while the Tigers bring in at least one outfielder (and don't be shocked if it's a pricey one) to shore up the offense.
  • Austin Jackson (pictured) is the probable Rookie of the Year award winner and isn't going anywhere after flashing Gold Glove-caliber (as in, actually worth it instead of the numerous head-scratching Gold Glove awards that get handed out) defense and a .300/.355/.412 mark in 622 PA.
  • Brennan Boesch started the season on fire, as Leyland noticed, but a brutal second-half cool streak has brought him down to .265/.331/.432 with 14 dingers in 483 PA. The Tigers shouldn't won't allow Wells and Boesch to take up two starting spots and should have them battle for time, but with a possible outfield job and DH position vacant, Detroit may not be able to bring in two sluggers. That could hand Boesch a starting job.
There are certainly plenty of youngsters on offense, but as seems clear, the Tigers should bring in outside help.

"I think there are some ingredients here that are pretty young that can handle the job at this level, for sure," Jim Leyland noted. "But if you think you can just take all young guys and go walk through a division, that's not going to happen. You're going to get your [butt] beat."

If the Tigers run out all seven rookies in that lineup around Miguel Cabrera, then the club would certainly get their
"[butt]" beat.

 -- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com