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PostSubject: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:03 am

Monday, March 3, 2008
Tigers' Sardinha emerges as possible backup catcher
Tom Gage / The Detroit News

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A day after Brandon Inge caught in a game for the first time this spring, manager Jim Leyland said he has no plans to catch him regularly from this point on.

That doesn't mean, however, that Inge is no longer a backup candidate. It only means that the issue is still complex.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with him," said Leyland, "but the one thing I can tell you for sure is that he'll be the starting centerfielder on Wednesday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium."

That's also not to say Inge won't make another appearance behind the plate. But it's clear that Inge's comments from Sunday, that "catching absolutely 100 percent reinforces that third base is my all-time love," made an impression.

"Brandon Inge does not want to catch, he's made that plain and simple," said Leyland. "I don't know why people keep talking about it. Will he do it for us? Yes, but he does not want to be a catcher.

"I'm not going to push someone to catch who doesn't want to do it. I want him to play third base somewhere every day, but will that happen? I don't know.

"When we leave this camp, I will have a second catcher. But I have no clue who it's going to be.

"Could it be Brandon Inge?" added Leyland. "That's possible. Could it be Dane Sardinha? That's possible. Could it be Vance Wilson? That's possible. Could it be Max St. Pierre? That's probably a longer shot, but it's possible.

"But I can't give you answers right now because I don't honestly know."

It's still uncertain who'll be the Tigers' second catcher because, as Leyland said again on Monday, Wilson "isn't close to throwing. He's not ready, that's for sure."

Will he be ready for the start of the season?

"From what I've seen so far," said Leyland, "I'd have to say no. But that's a guess."


If Wilson isn't ready, and if Inge does indeed get traded, the Tigers will have to come up with a backup catcher for Pudge Rodriguez. But they might not have to look elsewhere.

"I'm looking at Sardinha a lot," said Leyland. "I think he can really catch and throw.

"We don't know what's going to happen with Inge. We don't know how it's going to play out. But I'm looking at Sardinha as a definite major-league, backup-type catcher."


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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:08 am

06/26/08 2:52 AM ET
Sardinha may be behind plate in finale
St. Louis (45-34) at Detroit (37-40), Thursday, 12:05 p.m. CT

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Dane Sardinha will likely get his first start as a member of the Tigers in Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals. The Tigers will go for their fifth straight series win.

With Brandon Inge on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, Sardinha, called up on Wednesday from Triple-A Toledo, will serve as the backup catcher for at least the next two weeks.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he will not continue the every-other-day platoon at catcher he employed with Inge and Ivan Rodriguez. But Leyland also wants to avoid overworking Rodriguez, which means Sardinha may get his share of work.

"I'm going to try to find places to get him in there," Leyland said of Sardinha.

Sardinha has Major League experience, having made stints in 2003 and 2005 with the Reds. He has gone 0-for-5 at the plate.

Sardinha's bat has been a glaring weakness in seven Minor League seasons. He comes to Detroit with a .221 career average in the Minors and has never hit higher than .256. This season, he owns a .206 average and .246 on-base percentage. His power, as Leyland pointed out, is an asset as he belted six home runs in the Minors.

In fact, last year he became just the second player in Toledo's stay at Fifth Third Field to homer three times in a game. But he hasn't sustained consistent contact. He has struck out in almost 30 percent of his at-bats.

"I can't lay off certain pitches," he said during Spring Training. "I don't know if I don't see it as well as other guys do, or what the deal is. I just swing at a lot more bad pitches than other people."

His defensive prowess, on the other hand, cannot be questioned.

"We're fortunate to have a guy like him that can catch and throw well," Leyland said Wednesday. "That's what we got."

His receiving and throwing skills almost earned him an Opening Day roster spot, but the club decided on Inge as the backup catcher.

On Thursday, he will catch for left-handed starter Nate Robertson, whom he worked with in Spring Training. His experience at Detroit's spring camp taught him how to handle unfamiliar pitchers.

"We throw ideas out there, and it's up to them to make their pitch," he said during Spring Training. "Sometimes you have to acknowledge that they're going to shake you. You want them to throw what's comfortable. You don't want to force them to throw something they're not really comfortable with."


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:10 am

06/26/08 1:23 PM ET
Sardinha focusing on his approach
Backup catcher makes Tigers debut in Thursday's finale

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- He knows he's just an injury replacement. But that won't stop Tigers catcher Dane Sardinha from trying to take advantage of his opportunity the next few weeks.

"You try to hold your own, and also at the same time, you're glad for the opportunity," Sardinha said Thursday before his second career start and Tigers debut. "Obviously when [Brandon] Inge is healthy, I'll probably go back down, but you want to leave a good impression."

The Tigers purchased Sardinha's contract from Triple-A Toledo before Wednesday's game against the Cardinals. With Inge on the 15-day disabled list nursing a pulled left oblique, Sardinha is the Tigers' new backup catcher.

He will likely catch once or twice a week, depending on the schedule. Tigers manager Jim Leyland usually sits starting catcher Ivan Rodriguez for day games after night games and before off-days. But no matter how much playing time Sardinha gets, he wants to remind team officials they have a pretty good backstop in Triple-A.

"You want to leave in the back of their minds that we can bring this guy up at any time," Sardinha said.

In the 29-year-old Hawaiian, the Tigers have a quiet leader with exceptional defensive skills. He has struggled with the bat during his seven-year career, posting just a .221 career average in the Minors, but there's no denying his receiving and throwing abilities.

"As a catcher, a lot of people look for a guy who can catch and throw, and he's about as good as I've ever seen," said utility infielder Michael Hollimon, who played with Sardinha this season at Toledo. "With blocking balls, throwing guys out, the exchange is so quick. I was talking to a buddy of mine, and I said, 'Every pitch, you watch him and the way he transfers the ball [from his glove to his hand], it's so quick and smooth, it's like it's not even touching the glove.' It's kind of fun to watch."

Sardinha also has a good reputation with handling pitching staffs.

"He's very approachable," said pitcher Eddie Bonine, a recent Triple-A callup. "If you want to go talk to him about hitters, or go talk to him about how you want to pitch that day, or ask questions about certain pitches, he's always open to talking about it."

He sat at his clubhouse locker Thursday morning chatting with the game's starting pitcher, Nate Robertson. Sardinha confessed catching unfamiliar pitchers represents one of the toughest challenges of a midseason callup to the Majors. He said he can only pay extra attention to the pitcher's stuff in the pregame bullpen session and go from there.

He knows from experience. Wednesday marked Sardinha's third Major League callup, with the other two coming at Cincinnati in 2003 and 2005. He made one start in the latter appearance.

"Seems like a long time ago -- a really long time ago," he said.

This time, Sardinha wants to pick up tips from Major League hitters. He admitted he's "still behind" in his hitting approach, as seen by his .205 batting average and .246 on-base percentage this season at Toledo. Among his pregame activities, he conversed with third baseman Carlos Guillen about hitting and bat choice.

It's all part of seizing the opportunity.

"I watch these guys' at-bats and try to pick up things from them, their approach and everything," Sardinha said. "There's some great hitters in here, and I need to work on my approach."

Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:13 am

06/29/08 6:35 PM ET
Sardinha sends Tigers to sweep
Backup catcher's first Major League hit the game-winner

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Dane Sardinha said he wanted to leave an impression while he had the chance. Knocking home the game-winning run with a triple did the trick.

A handshake from Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski afterward confirmed it.

Sardinha made an impression, all right. The two-run triple -- his first Major League hit -- helped the Tigers complete a three-game sweep of the Rockies with a 4-3 win on Sunday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 41,305 at Comerica Park. The victory gave Detroit a winning record for the first time this season.

"Knocking in two runs was awesome," the soft-spoken Sardinha said. "To get RBIs on my first hit is pretty special for me."

The Tigers trailed, 3-2, most of the game until Sardinha, who was called up on Wednesday to fill in for injured backup catcher Brandon Inge, came through in the sixth. Sardinha blasted a fastball from Rockies reliever Matt Herges into one of the deepest parts of the ballpark in left-center field. Marcus Thames and Edgar Renteria scored to give the Tigers the lead.

Sardinha made his third career Major League start. He started one game for the Reds in 2005 and his first game with the Tigers on Thursday. He came into Sunday's game 0-for-9 in the big leagues.

"That's probably going to be my first and last triple," Sardinha said. "I was thinking, 'Thank God it's not right at somebody.' That was the first thing. Then I'm rounding second and I'm like, 'Do I go? Do I stay?' It all worked out, though."

Todd Jones, one night removed from his first blown save since September, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out Detroit's fifth straight win and third sweep in its last six series.

Moving over the .500 mark didn't provide reason for celebration in the Tigers' clubhouse. But at least it officially makes them a winning baseball team.

"We've dug ourselves a pretty substantial hole, and we got a lot of work to do," Jones said. "But we have all the right parts that we can overcome it. It's like a race. If you're racing in a Pinto and you fall behind, you don't feel too good. But if you're racing in a Ferrari, you're feeling pretty good."

The Tigers have won 17 of their last 21 games. They expelled a great deal of energy battling early season mishaps, so could their high-octane engine run out of fuel now that they've overcome them?

"I don't think we'll run out of gas. I think we all understand that we're playing up to our potential right now," Tigers starter Kenny Rogers said. "I think we all understand that we weren't doing that for the first couple of months. It wasn't a lack of effort; it just wasn't happening for us. But now it is."

Rogers, who got the win after allowing three runs in six innings, was impressed by Sardinha's hit. But he was more awed by his catching ability. Before Sunday, the two had only worked together sparingly in Spring Training. Rogers said they had to make some adjustments, but overall, Sardinha showed outstanding game-calling ability.

"The hit was great and all, but he was fantastic behind the plate, which is even more important," Rogers said. "But the hit, without a doubt, was huge. It was icing on the cake."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland admired Sardinha's arm. Sardinha threw out Rockies speedster Willy Tavares trying to steal second base in the second inning. It marked just the fourth time this season Tavares was caught in 40 attempts.

"He caught an excellent game," Leyland said. "He can really catch and throw. He's got a lot of poise back there, doesn't get excited, doesn't panic. He did a great job."

After Sardinha gave his team the lead for good, Detroit relievers Freddy Dolsi and Jones set down the final nine Colorado hitters to end the game. Jones only needed 12 pitches to cruise through the ninth, compared to the 28 it took as he allowed four runs a day ago.

Leyland never questioned bringing Jones into the game.

"Jones was fantastic. To come right back after last night, I think that says something for him," the skipper said. "That's what you have to do as a manager. He's your closer. If you have an opportunity the next day, you better bring him back in or you've got a chance to lose him. He responded very, very well."

So, have the Tigers rebounded from a turbulent first two months of the season? Time will tell. But they're a winning baseball team. Considering how the season has unfolded, that's a good starting point for the second half.

"I think we understand we're not doing anything we can't do for the rest of the year," Rogers said.

Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:16 am

01/12/09 2:04 PM EST
Tigers invite 13 non-roster players
Darrow, Fien among those who will join club at Spring Training

By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

With about a month to go before the Tigers report to Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla., the list of players coming to camp grew substantially on Monday.

The Tigers announced that they have invited 13 non-roster Minor Leaguers to take part in big league camp. There are four pitchers, four catchers, four infielders and one outfielder on the list.

Right-handers Rudy Darrow, Casey Fien and Ryan Perry, left-hander Jon Kibler and catchers Alex Avila, Jeff Kunkel, Dan(e) Sardinha and Max St. Pierre will all report to camp Feb. 13, along with the rest of the Tigers' pitchers and catchers.

Infielders Cale Iorg, Don Kelly, Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore and outfielder Alexis Gomez will be among the position players reporting Feb. 16.

Of the invitees, Fien and Darrow might have the best chance of making the Tigers' 25-man roster, as both could compete for a bullpen job. Fien was 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 40 games at Double-A Erie and 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 12 games at Triple-A Toledo last year. Darrow was 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA in 33 games at Class A West Michigan and 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 14 games at Erie.

Perry, a reliever who went 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 appearances at Class A Lakeland last year, and Iorg, who batted .251 with 10 homers, 15 doubles, seven triples and 47 RBIs at Lakeland, are two of the organization's top prospects.

Three of the invitees -- Gomez, Kelly and Sardinha -- have Major League experience.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:19 am

Verlander fans 11 in win against Tribe
Right-hander rewrites personal history to dominate

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/03/09 5:59 PM ET

DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland says it's in his history to load the bases with an intentional walk, all the way back to the Minor League managerial days. So when Justin Verlander had runners on second and third in the seventh inning of Sunday's tie game, Leyland didn't hesitate, even though it meant a bases-loaded, no-out situation.

It backfired on Leyland plenty of times in the Minor Leagues, he said. Verlander made it sure it didn't Sunday.

"To me, it's a development [for a player]," Leyland said after Verlander's seven innings of one-run ball eventually earned Detroit a 3-1 win over Cleveland.

"When a guy gets here, he should be able to throw strikes. And if you put him in that spot and load the bases, he's supposed to be able to throw strikes. Sometimes in the Minor Leagues, it would backfire time after time, but you're sending the right message: 'This is what you've got to do.' I think that's real important."

Verlander's development has been a well-publicized process the last couple years. Sunday felt more like a reinforcement to the Tigers, and a proclamation to the rest of the league: Verlander is back.

"That's probably the best we've seen him," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Six days earlier, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira called Verlander's last performance, "by far the best I've seen him."

And as Matt LaPorta saw Verlander's 100 mph fastball with the bases loaded and one out in LaPorta's big league debut, he wasn't going to argue.

As much as early season momentum seemed to go against Verlander last year, he has spent the last couple weeks picking up speed the other way. But Sunday's seventh-inning jam -- and Verlander's way out of it -- felt more like a leap.

It wasn't just the situation, but the opponent. Verlander owned a 4-10 career record and 6.70 ERA against Cleveland, which accounted for five of his 17 losses last year. The Indians hit just .237 against Verlander last season, but turned those hits into runs.

Sunday's seventh inning looked finally the same, with two runners on in a 1-1 battle with reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee. When Shin-Soo Choo drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on Mark DeRosa's double, Leyland had David Dellucci intentionally walked, even though Dellucci struck out both of his previous times up.

Verlander, despite 109 pitches, wasn't thinking quick outs as Kelly Shoppach stepped in. At first, Verlander was simply thinking Leyland might pull him.

"A lot of times, they'll leave a guy in there to intentionally walk and then take [him] out," Verlander said. "So I was thinking, 'Don't take me out, don't take me out, don't take me out.' Once I looked over and didn't see him coming out of the dugout, that's when I just kind of focused in and said, 'All right, here we go. Let's get this guy.'"

In fact, Verlander said, he started thinking about striking out everybody. Shoppach ruined those plans, but all the Tribe catcher did with the 98-mph high fastball was pop out to shallow right.

Verlander wasn't thinking first-pitch outs, but he would take them.

"I think that allowed me to finish the seventh," Verlander said. "If [Shoppach] has a battle at-bat, and I'm up to 115-120 [pitches] before the first out of the inning's made, even if the guy from third doesn't score, that leaves Skip in a pretty hairy situation [to decide] whether to leave me out there."

Said Leyland: "I thought the first out was the biggest, because it put pressure on the kid."

That kid was LaPorta, the top prospect making his debut. He struggled to catch up with Verlander all afternoon, so both Verlander and catcher Dane Sardinha thought the same plan.

"I looked up at the [scoreboard] one time," LaPorta said, "and it said 100 mph. And it's like, 'Gosh!'"

LaPorta took the first two before fouling off three in a row. All were at 99 mph or higher, but LaPorta began catching up. The Tigers' battery was ready for it.

"Once he starts cheating, we'll throw curveballs," Sardinha said. "I don't think he was looking for it. It caught him by surprise."

Verlander missed in the dirt with the first curve, but spotted the second on the inside corner for his 11th strikeout.

"We were pretty much on the same page the whole day," Verlander said.

Verlander and Sardinha had the same plan for just-recalled infielder Luis Valbuena, who fouled off back-to-back fastballs go into an 0-2 hole.


Verlander's 120th pitch of the day hit 99 mph. His 121st was an 85-mph breaking ball that Valbuena grounded to second to end the inning.

"I didn't leave anything on the field, that's for sure," Verlander said.

Once Sardinha and Granderson hit back-to-back doubles leading off the bottom half of the inning against Lee, then Detroit's bullpen took over, they ensured Verlander (2-2) wouldn't leave without a win.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeTue May 05, 2009 12:21 am

Tigers glad to have Sardinha in the fold
With Treanor likely out for year, catcher to see plenty of time

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/04/09 8:24 PM ET

DETROIT -- Call Dane Sardinha a Minor League journeyman. Call him a light-hitting third catcher, too, if you want. But for the foreseeable future, call him a Major Leaguer.

He isn't going to argue he's getting disrespected or underestimated. He knows his track record and he's self-deprecating about it, even after his double Sunday set up the go-ahead run to beat the Indians.

"They don't expect much from me offensively," Sardinha said, "so that was a plus. I still need to get better. No one wants to hit under .200. I need a lot of work."

With Matt Treanor possibly out for the season after hip surgery, Sardinha is going to get quite a bit of work while he backs up Gerald Laird. And he won't be getting any disrespect from the Tigers.

Not only are the Tigers not looking for another catcher, they're grateful to have brought back Sardinha over the offseason, especially manager Jim Leyland.

"He's a tremendous backup catcher, in my opinion," Leyland said, "because he can catch and throw as good as anybody. He's good. He's really good. Defensively, he's as good as there is in the league, in my opinion."

That fits the Tigers' resume for an ideal backup catcher, especially with plenty of offense here. The offensive expectations are pretty low.

Yet even if Sardinha hadn't started Sunday's winning rally, his impact was all over that game. His cohesion with staff ace Justin Verlander was almost seamless.

"We were pretty much on the same page the whole [game]," Verlander said afterward. "He called a great game. There were a lot of situations where I was thinking I would have to shake to a pitch because of something I saw or felt, and he went right to it."

When asked if that might be unusual for a third catcher, Verlander stopped the question in mid-sentence.

"It's not because he can't catch," Verlander answered.

On the contrary, even with prospect Dusty Ryan ticketed for Triple-A Toledo, the Tigers brought back Sardinha as Major League insurance because they knew he could catch well. And Leyland was very glad when they did.

Sardinha knows that reputation, which is why he makes his work behind the plate his priority over anything at the plate.

"My main goal is just to keep the pitchers' ERAs down," he said, "because we've got a really good offensive team. We're going to put up runs. I just try to get pitchers to throw strikes. I'll take giving up two runs a game, because I think we'll score more than that."

He still works on his hitting, and it's paying off. Both Leyland and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon noted Sardinha hit better in Spring Training than he did last year, showing the tools for at least better hitting than he has shown to date.

"He's making strides," McClendon said. "He still has a ways to go, but when he stays inside the ball, he's not bad. He could be a productive player for us, but he's got to continue to work and believe in what he's doing."

Sardinha's willing to work, even if his belief is relative.

"We'll see," he said. "I might need a miracle."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeFri May 15, 2009 11:33 pm

Sardinha day-to-day
BECK'S BLOG

Dane Sardinha was slated to have x-rays on his injured right ring finger tonight to make sure there's no fracture. They don't believe that there is. The expected diagnosis is that he has a sprain.

Sardinha injured his finger on a pitch in the dirt Thursday against the Twins and had to leave the game because he couldn't throw. He was optmistic it wouldn't be a major injury when he could feel it loosening up after the game, but he said Friday that it was worse.

If it keeps him out a few days, the Tigers can get by with Brandon Inge backing up Gerald Laird, and Ryan Raburn as an emergency catcher. Any lengthy absence, however, could put the Tigers in a bind.

* Posted on May 15, 2009 at 7:49 PM


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeSun May 17, 2009 12:38 am

Get well Dane! Hope that finger mends quickly.
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeSun May 31, 2009 5:31 pm

Saturday, May 30, 2009
Tom Gage: Tigers insider

Sardinha: 'I have to hit more'

Baltimore

He sits at his locker, holding a bat he wishes would work for him.

Dane Sardinha's glove works. He's a good defensive catcher, even better than good, according to manager Jim Leyland, another catcher who couldn't hit.

In Leyland's case, it was the reason he never rose above Double A.

In Sardinha's case, it's the reason he frets about returning to Triple A.

Or worse -- a fate which befell his younger brother.

Bronson Sardinha, a former Yankees farmhand hoping to land a job in the Tigers' organization, was released this spring and still hasn't found a job -- even in an independent league.

With the thought he's barely holding on at .095 (2-for-21), Dane treasures each day in the majors.

But if he doesn't hit -- like if he doesn't hit at all -- defense won't be enough to keep him around.

"My head is on the chopping block every day I come to the ballpark," said Sardinha, 30. "I have to check to make sure my number is still on the locker.

"If I don't hit, I know I'm not going to stay here. That's just reality."

He once was a prospect

Sardinha is a laid-back Hawaiian with 19 letters in his middle name. That's not a claim to trivia fame, however. Bronson has 20.

He's pleasant to speak with; knows all about Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa, as any Hawaiian should; was drafted in the second round of the 2000 draft by Cincinnati, so it's not as if he dropped in from nowhere.

But even so ... he wishes that bat would work better for him.

It used to.

Back in 2004, Sardinha was a legit catching prospect for more reasons than one. There was his rock-solid defense, of course.

His defense was one of the reasons he was on the International League's midseason All-Star team in 2004 when he played at Louisville. But so was his offense.

He had a four-hit game in May of that season, another one in June and yet another in July. In that May game, he also hit two home runs.

Bats worked for him then.

He hit .262 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 324 at-bats in 2004. But with 17 doubles, he also had a career best .404 slugging average.

What the heck happened?

It's been a struggle

He's not hit higher than .231 anywhere since -- and much less in the majors.

"When I got called up (by the Reds) in September of 2003, I didn't play all month except for (five) innings and two at-bats," he said. "But it helped me in a way because I worked in the cage every day and changed my swing.

"So when I went to Triple A the next season, I had my best year of hitting. But at the end of that year, the Reds called up Corky Miller (who went 1-for-39) instead of me and I began wondering what do I have to do?

"Then I began to struggle again and never got it back. Most of it is mental. The pitches I swing at, the decisions I make, that's the worst part about my at-bats.

"Then I begin to put pressure on myself, trying to get three hits in the same at-bat."

That doesn't work, either. But that glove works.

"He can play defense with anyone in the majors right now," Leyland said. "That guy can catch."

Sardinha appreciates the kind words. "But I have to hit more than I am. I just do."

Are you listening, bat? The man needs some hits.

tom.gage@detnews.com

Hitting highlights

Dane Sardinha is 9-for-65 (.138) in two years as a Tiger. But he's had two game-winning plate appearances.

June 29, 2008: His two-run triple against the Rockies at Comerica Park was the decisive hit of a 4-3 victory.

April 26, 2009: His sacrifice fly in the fifth inning stretched a 2-1 lead to 3-1 in a game the Tigers eventually won, 3-2, over the Royals.
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PostSubject: Re: Dane Sardinha Career Tracker   Dane Sardinha Career Tracker Icon_minitimeThu Jan 21, 2010 7:09 am

Phillies invite 13 to Spring Training
Prospects Aumont, Brown highlight group heading to Florida

By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com

01/07/10 3:34 PM EST

PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies announced Thursday they have invited 13 more non-roster invitees to Spring Training to bring their total to 20.

Here is a look at those players:

...

Dane Sardinha, C: Split last season between Triple-A Toledo and the Detroit Tigers. He hit .097 with three RBIs in 12 games for the Tigers.

...

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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