When the Tigers take the field to battle the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium this afternoon, a couple old friends will be suited up to face them. The Yankees are bringing former Tigers Marcus Thames and Curtis Granderson when they make the trip from Tampa.
Thames, who originally came up with New York, returned to the Yankees on a minor league deal this offseason and is fighting to make the team. With Granderson, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, and Randy Winn already assured of spots in the outfield, it may take an injury for Marcus to go North with the club. Fortunately for him, Nick Johnson is slated to be the designated hitter this year for the Yankees, and that guy breaks down more often than Carlos Guillen.
With all due respect to Thames, Granderson is the guy that all of Tiger Town will be watching, not only today but the whole season. The trade of Granderson to the Yankees turned the stomachs of many many Tiger fans. If Granderson has a big year (i.e. learns to be even somewhat effective versus left handed pitching), the ire Dave Dombrowski drew at the time of the trade will only intensify. More so if Austin Jackson struggles as Grandy’s replacement.
Speaking of, Jackson will be in the lineup today against his former ‘mates as well, batting lead-off and playing centerfield. Jackson will look to continue his hot start to camp. His 2 for 4 day versus Washington yesterday included his first homer of the Spring and his first double.
One former Yankee that will not play however is Johnny Damon. Detroit’s prized free agent is battling a case of turf toe, and he received treatment yesterday, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. The injury isn’t believed to be serious, as Damon is currently scheduled to make the trip to Clearwater to face the Phillies on Thursday.
The Tigers lineup for this afternoon:
CF Austin Jackson
RF Ryan Raburn
1B Ryan Strieby
DH Miguel Cabrera
LF Carlos Guillen
C Gerald Laird
3B Jeff Larish
2B Scott Sizemore
SS Adam Everett
Notable here is the return of Sizemore after he was scratched yesterday due to a sore ankle. Larish getting the call at third base is only mildly interesting, as he has virtually no chance to make this club as of right now (injuries could change that, but there would have to be a lot of injuries).
Armando Galarraga will make his first start of the Spring after two lackluster relief appearances. It will be a tough test for Galarraga as the Yankees will have their usual approach and make Galarraga work deep into counts. Command has been the issue for Armando going back to the May of last year, and if he continues to fall behind hitters, he could be fast tracking himself to Toledo.
Also slated to pitch for Detroit is last year’s first round pick Jacob Turner. The young right hander is in camp with the Tigers thanks to signing a major league contract last August, but he won’t be pitching in Detroit in 2010, no matter how impressive he is.
The Yankees will send Joba Chamberlain to the hill as he attempts to win a battle with fellow right hander Phil Hughes for the final rotation spot in New York.