Notes: Demotions leave club one short
With Colyer, Knotts in minors, Tigers seek 11th pitcher
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers manager Alan Trammell dreaded the idea of setting his Opening Day roster by pulling someone off the team flight to Detroit. Instead, he'll go into Saturday looking for someone to put on the plane.
The team officially erased Gary Knotts and Steve Colyer from the list of possibilities Friday by outrighting them to Triple-A Toledo. The moves reduce the team roster to 26 players, but Colby Lewis will eventually be placed on the disabled list, and Dean Palmer has already been told he will not make the club. That leaves 24 players, including 10 pitchers.
The Tigers' 11th pitcher is out there. They just don't know who it's going to be.
"There's a couple scenarios I certainly can't go into with any detail," Trammell said. "[It could be] something from within [the organization], but there's a possibility it could be someone from outside. I can't tell you, because we don't know."
If the first option was to add someone already in the organization, they would've done it by now. In other words, the Tigers are in the market for an addition. John Ennis has remained with the big league bullpen since being assigned to minor league camp Monday, but they would need his contract purchased in order to make the team. Ennis gave up a run on nine hits in 11 innings with the Tigers this spring, striking out eight and allowing a .225 average.
Among the veteran relievers released or designated for assignment in the last couple days are Darren Oliver, Kerry Ligtenberg, Gabe White and former Tiger C.J. Nitkowski. All but Ligtenberg are left-handed.
Knotts and Colyer are not among the options for much the same reasons.
"Both of them fall under the category of being inconsistent," Trammell said.
Knotts, who came into camp as the incumbent long reliever and was expected to hold onto the job, couldn't say he was surprised he didn't.
"I hadn't had a very good spring," said Knotts, who gave up 14 runs on 21 hits in 14 innings. "I'll go down and see what I can do in Triple-A."
The Tigers nearly came up with a way to fill the open spot with some effectiveness: clone Troy Percival. Bench coach Kirk Gibson had Percival's name listed twice among available pitchers on Friday's unofficial lineup card.
"A couple Percivals," Gibson said. "That's not a bad idea."
Nook admits pressure: Nook Logan finally had a chance to play relaxed Friday for the first time in the two weeks since Alex Sanchez had been released and he saw a chance to make the roster. Logan didn't earn a starting job, but he made the team, achieving his goal coming into camp.
It didn't help at the plate, where Logan's 0-for-2 performance left him hitless in his final 21 at-bats this spring. Still, it certainly helped in his mind.
"I hate to say that," Logan said of the pressure, "but when you go out there, it's in the back of your mind. I started pressing a little bit the last week and a half. The last two days, I didn't get any hits, but I just felt more comfortable at the plate, taking a few pitches and just looser, like the regular season had already started. That's the way I approached it."
Logan did not say the pressure involved the chance to compete for a starting job, though he admitted he thought about it.
"I wasn't even thinking about starting," Logan said. "I was going out there hoping to get it, but the better player won it. I can't complain about that. I'm just happy to be on the team."
With his first Opening Day roster spot accomplished, Logan's next challenge will be to learn how to stay effective as a reserve player. Both he and hitting coach Bruce Fields acknowledge that limited at-bats made it tough to try to shake his hitting woes, but the two have been working together every day.
Logan never allowed his offensive struggles to affect his defense, because he never thought of the two as related. If anything, he tries harder when he's not hitting.
"If I can't get hits," Logan said, "nobody's getting hits. That's the way I look at it."
More tests for Ordonez: Magglio Ordonez was in Detroit on Friday to undergo more tests on his stomach ailment, diagnosed as diverticulitis by doctors in Florida. He'll stay there and join the team when they work out at Comerica Park on Sunday afternoon.
Trammell indicated the second opinion was precautionary.
"We want to have our guys look at him," the manager said. "Not that we're not trusting anybody. We just want to make sure."
Trammell said he was still "hopeful" that Ordonez will be able to play in Monday's season opener.
Higgy, Dmitri OK: Bobby Higginson was happy about making the Opening Day roster, saying he got what he wanted. More importantly, however, Dmitri Young was OK with Higginson being on the club. A day after Young called it a mistake to send down Marcus Thames, he said his comments had nothing to do with Higginson. The two greeted each other in the clubhouse Friday morning.
Trammell also brought in Young for a discussion over his comments during batting practice.
Guillen's good to go: In case there was any doubt left about the readiness of Carlos Guillen's knee for Opening Day, he made a pair of acrobatic defensive plays Friday. He went deep into the hole and made spinning, acrobatic throws to first base to rob Bernie Williams of a single in the first inning and John Flaherty in the fifth.
White fine after hit by pitch: Rondell White said Friday his left hand was fine after it was hit by a Kevin Brown delivery in the third inning.
Coming up: Saturday's exhibition against the Phillies was cancelled due to anticipated wet weather in Philadelphia, so the Tigers will hold a Saturday morning workout in Lakeland before flying to Detroit in the afternoon. They'll work out again Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.