Sunday, March 30, 2008

Keys to the Season - Inactive Players

Here's a quick look at all of the inactive players on the Tigers' roster.

Francisco Cruceta (26): The plan was to see what we got in Cruceta this Spring. The Visa problems have put his season in question. Watch to see what happens if or when he is able to enter the question. The opportunity he gets will likely be a function of how desperate the Tigers are for bullpen help at the time. Cruceta is on the restricted list right now, meaning he has not had to clear waivers yet.

Fernando Rodney (31):
Like Nate Robertson, Rodney is frequently called "young" by outsiders who equate "young" with "I haven't really heard of him until recently." The shoulder problems have continued, and I am starting to wonder if this is something more serious than merely tendinitis. If Rodney can return with a clean bill of health around May, it will be a pleasant surprise. In the case of shoulder injuries, no news is probably bad news.

Jordan Tata (26): Tata's hand injury masks the fact that he simply could not find the strike zone this spring and had shoulder problems. The Tigers left him on the Major League DL to save an option season, which probably means that the shoulder could be a long term concern. If the time off from the hand injury saves his shoulder and he can show he can pitch well in Toledo, only then can Tata be counted on to help the team.

Joel Zumaya (23):
I'm very interested in Zumaya's recovery. It's such a rare injury, that there's not much out there to suggest how his recovery will go and if he will be able to be the pitcher he was in 2006. I have my doubts.

Vance Wilson (35): Still recovering from Tommy John Surgery, and apparently doing better. Barring another injury, there will be a roster crunch upon his return. It's sad to say, but if Brandon Inge takes to being a backup catcher, the return of Vance Wilson may hurt more than it helps.

Curtis Granderson (27): He had a great season last year, and this year's will get off to a delayed start. The thing to watch for early on will be the return from a broken finger in the cold weather. Just because he'll be back, it doesn't mean that he'll be 100%.

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