Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

AL Central Watch: Shuffled Tigers hit town

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Yankees Tigers Baseba_De L.jpgHere's a quick glance at what's happening around the American League Central.

On the eve of their series with the White Sox that opens tonight at U.S. Cellular Field, the Tigers shook up their batting order, putting leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson in the fifth spot and dropping Magglio OrdoƱez to sixth, the lowest he had hit since his first full season in the majors -- 1998 with the Sox. This was manager Jim Leyland's answer after putting Carlos Guillen on the disabled list. The result was a 9-0 victory over the Twins.

Second baseman Alexi Casilla is testing the patience of the Twins. The Twins are famous for being foundamentally sound, and Casilla has shown to be anything but that after a slow start with no signs of improvement. This is a blow for the Twins, who were encouraged by a strong 2008 season by Casilla. All signs point to a demotion in the near future -- perhaps by today -- for Casilla.

Kerry Wood to the rescue? Well, not so fast. The Indians hoped their bullpen would be a strength this season, but it continues to be a sore spot with manager Eric Wedge after the relievers once again failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Wedge's patience is wearing thin as his team resides in last place. ''We'll continue to make changes,'' he said. ''We'll continue to try people whether they're in Triple-A or not even in this organization. We've going to do whatever we have to do to get people down there that we can count on.'' At 5.96, the Indians' pitching staff has the highest ERA in the AL. The spotlight has been on the bullpen, but the rotation has been a huge disappointment.

Wonder what opposing pitchers think of Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez this season. Royals pitcher Jamey Wright offers a little insight after striking out the 2008 Rookie of the Year runner-up in the ninth inning Tuesday night. ''Ramirez is a little bit of a free swinger and I try to make my pitches and hopefully he'll offer at 'em and he did,'' Wright said. ''We were real lucky.''

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This page contains a single entry by Chris De Luca published on May 6, 2009 9:49 AM.

Bad News starting pitchers was the previous entry in this blog.

Guillen grounds 'The Missile' is the next entry in this blog.

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