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

AL Central Watch: Granderson was back in top spot before rain

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Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the American League Central.

Tigers leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson says he's cool hitting anywhere in manager Jim Leyland's lineup. Leyland created a stir this week when he dropped Granderson to the fifth spot. He was back in the leadoff spot Wednesday before rain washed out the Tigers-White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. What's wrong with Magglio Ordoñez? Two years after winning the AL batting title, Ordoñez is hitting .232 with two extra-base hits in 26 games. Ordoñez says he has gotten in the habit of hitting singles to the opposite field instead of driving balls to the gaps. ''I lost my approach,'' he said Wednesday. In this same notebook, we learn that Dontrelle Willis -- on the disabled list because of an anxiety disorder -- walked four, struck out four and threw 74 of his 118 pitches for strikes during another rehab outing.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was fuming over the playing conditions Wednesday night in Baltimore. After four rain delays that amounted to nearly four hours, the Orioles beat the Twins 4-1 in a rain-shortened game called in the top of the sixth inning. Gardenhire believes the game never should have been played. ''Somebody made a mistake here and screwed up,'' he said. This isn't the first time Gardenhire's patience has been tested this week. He lost patience with the lax play of Alexi Casilla and replaced him on the 25-man roster with Matt Tolbert. Tolbert hit .283 in 41 games last season, but was slowed by a thumb injury. "It's a chance for him to come up and play in the major leagues, which everybody wants," Gardenhire said. "You can call it what you want -- Wally Pipp, whatever you want to call it. I don't care."

The Indians expect Travis Hafner (shoulder) will return when his 15 days are up on the disabled list after a positive check-up with Dr. James Andrews. In this same notebook, check out this stat that tells you all you need to know about the Indians' struggling bullpen: Through 27 games, the Indians have allowed 163 runs, 72 (or 44 percent) of them coming from the seventh inning on.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris De Luca published on May 7, 2009 10:42 AM.

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