Saturday, March 04, 2006

Spring Training Notes

The biggest news out of spring training today might have been an injury to Dmitri Young. According to MLB.COM, Young strained his left quadriceps running to first base in the first inning:

Young was batting in the bottom of the first against Italian starter Lenny DiNardo when the injury occurred. He was running toward first base on a foul ball to right field, then felt a twinge when he tried to speed up about two-thirds of the way to the bag. He made a right turn and limped to the dugout.

Young walked gingerly back to the clubhouse on his own power after the inning, accompanied by a team athletic trainer. He referred all questions to the training staff, but no further evaluation or timetable will be issued until head athletic trainer Kevin Rand examines Young on Sunday morning. Rand was in Winter Haven at the time for the Tigers' other split-squad game against the Indians, as was manager Jim Leyland.

It doesn't sound too serious but I don't think this is the only time this year we will see something like this. Despite the weight loss, he's still a big guy with an injury history and he's 32. I question is ability to stay healthy more than I question his ability to become versatile again. A lot of people are questioning why Carlos Pena is still on the team when they already have Chris Shelton and Young. I think this answers the question.

In the two games today, the Tigers continued to get good hitting and shaky pitching. They beat Italy 6-5 on an RBI double by Kody Kirkland in the 9th. Cameron Maybin saw his first action as a Tiger going 1-3 with a single and two strikeouts. In the other game, they lost to the Cleveland Indians 11-8 despite three hits and a home run from Ryan Ludwick.

I don't pay a lot of attention to spring training statistics but one thing I'm going to keep an eye on this spring is BB/K ratio for Tiger batters because even in spring training I think it's an indicator of plate discipline. Last year, the Tigers had an embarrassing 408/1038 ratio. In three games against major league teams this spring., they have a ratio of 20/20.

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