Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

February 13, 2011
Detroit Tigers
by josephleenovak

Detroit needs Dmitri Young, but its alternatives are not all that bad. Young provides a needed left-handed bat in the Tigers’ largely right-handed lineup. He plus fellow switch-hitter Carlos Guillen and Curtis Granderson are the only lefty swings Detroit can take.

But Young isn’t hitting, so Manager Jim Leyland needs alternatives. One is outfielder Marcus Thames, who has been productive in occasional starts. Thames started Monday night.

Another is to have catcher Ivan Rodriguez DH and put Vance Wilson behind the plate. Wilson has made key plays offensively and defensively for Detroit in his second year as Rodriguez’s backup

Gary Sheffield had four plate appearances in a minor league game in Connecticut on Monday night and said he was ready to join the Yankees. One hundred or so miles to the northeast, his team looked like one that could use the lift.

Curt Schilling dominated for eight innings before the Yankees showed a few signs of life in a 9-5 loss against the Boston Red Sox. If nothing else, Sheffield’s presence in the lineup will have the Yankees looking more like the team that left Florida after spring training.

Journeyman Terrence Long was in left field Monday night, having arrived from the minors earlier in the day. Rookie Melky Cabrera was in right and Jorge Posada hit fifth despite having missed the better part of three games with back spasms.

“It will be great to have ‘Sheff’ coming back,” said Alex Rodriguez, who has lacked protection in the lineup. “We’ll definitely welcome him with open arms. He brings a huge presence. Having him in the middle of the order brings a lot of balance.”

Sheffield was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and said afterward through a spokesman that his bruised left wrist “felt great” and he was on his way to Boston. “‘Sheff’ is one of those guys that, if he’s healthy, will not going to take long to get his swing back,” Jason Giambi said. “He’s got a short, compact swing, and it won’t take him long.”

Manager Joe Torre started him against Tim Wakefield on Tuesday making almost even the Sportsbook odds for this game. “He’s certainly one of the major parts,” the manager said. “He’s going to make us tougher to pitch to.” Contributing Writer

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