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 Placido Polanco NEWS

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PostSubject: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:23 pm



Placido Polanco has gone 181 consecutive games at second base
without an error. (Duane Burleson/AP)

02/19/2008 7:39 PM ET
Polanco had tough road to stardom
Second baseman's '07 season was culmination of hard work
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- This is where Placido Polanco worked so hard to reach for all these years.

He fought to earn a chance to play pro ball, then battled his way to the Major Leagues, then toiled away to finally earn playing time. He didn't find a home at a position until 2001 with the Cardinals, and he didn't have long-term security until he came to the Tigers three years ago to become their starting second baseman.

Now, he has a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger and an All-Star Game start to his credit. In other words, he finally has the respect he couldn't find for so many years -- not that it has affected him.

"My entire career has been like that," Polanco said Tuesday. "I got drafted in the 19th round, and the scout told me it was to fill up some Minor Leagues. He said, 'If you make it to the big leagues, you'll probably be a backup.' Not just him, but a lot of guys. It was like, 'Who's this guy you signed, 5-foot-7 or 5-8? Can't run, can't throw.'"

Fourteen years later, Polanco is recognized among the best second basemen in the Majors. A .341 batting average and an errorless season will do that. But he can't be satisfied. He has had to prove himself wherever he has gone, so why stop now.

"I like it," he said. "I like it better than just [having it handed to you]. I appreciate it."

Just about every player has an area where they can improve, and manager Jim Leyland has made a point to ensure his players stay hungry instead of marveling at what a good team they have.

Asked if there's anything Polanco can do to improve, however, Leyland paused briefly and answered simply: "No.

"If he can be anywhere near where he was last year," Leyland added, "I'd be tickled."


The main statistics are well-known, starting with his zero in the error column. In the field, his 181 consecutive games since his last error marks the longest streak by a second baseman in Major League history. At the plate, he finished third in the batting race behind teammate Magglio Ordonez and Ichiro Suzuki.

As Leyland discussed his second baseman and second hitter, he ran off a few other key statistics, these ones situational. Polanco's .366 average on 0-2 pitches was 196 points above the league average. His .402 average following an 0-2 count topped the league average by 119 points. While big league hitters batted .198 with two strikes, Polanco hit a Major League-best .350.

"I don't know if I've ever seen anything like that," Leyland said.

Those numbers helped make Polanco the toughest batter to strike out in the American League, fanning once every 21.4 plate appearances. They also help explain why, in a lineup stacked with All-Star hitters, Polanco is the unquestioned bat in the second spot. In some ways, he's an example of a good two-strike approach.

"He fouls off tough pitches," Leyland said. "When he gets behind, I think he's got a plan. I don't think he tries to do too much. He gives up a little bit when he gets to 0-2, and he kind of takes what's there."

How good was Polanco's season? When Polanco was honored with the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards after the season, even his good friend Albert Pujols was impressed, Polanco said.

"He said, 'Think about it -- that's special,'" Polanco said with a smile. "He's deep into it. I'm like, 'Now that I think about it, this is great!'"

That's still not enough to leave Polanco comfortable. He still sees room for improvement, including better shape and fewer days off.

"I think that'll push me to work even harder this year," he said. "It's over. In the past. Whether it's a good year or a bad year, it's in the past. You don't have a choice. You can't rely on what you did last year."

He'll have virtually an entire new infield all around him. Beyond new third baseman Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen has moved from Polanco's right at shortstop to his left at first base. In Guillen's place at short is a familiar face in Edgar Renteria, a teammate of Polanco's for the better part of four years with the Cardinals.

The fellow Miami area residents, Polanco and Renteria talked off and on over the offseason before visiting during TigerFest. They don't anticipate any problems getting accustomed to each other on double plays and where they like to receive the ball.

"It's just a matter of a couple of days," Polanco said. "It's better than if we never played together before."

Leyland will make sure to get them games together once Spring Training contests begin, but he's not expecting a big adjustment, either. The way he sees it, they'll get the work in that they need.

In a Spring Training that Leyland calls the most important of his Tigers tenure, Polanco isn't one of his big concerns.

"If you had 25 of him," Leyland said in half-jest, "you probably wouldn't need a manager."

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


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PostSubject: Re: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:30 pm

04/02/08 7:37 PM ET
Hitless Polanco works on stroke
Opening slump forces .305 hitter to tinker with mechanics

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- For almost any other hitter, 0-for-10 is a run-of-the-mill slump. For Placido Polanco, it seems longer.

After Wednesday's 0-for-4 performance kept him hitless on the season, the Tigers' second baseman went to the batting cage and took some cuts with a different bat. Polanco finished third in the American League in hitting last season, then batted .435 with six extra-base hits and numerous hard-hit outs this spring. Right now, however, he does not feel comfortable.

It's not simply the outs. It's the way he's making contact. Polanco flew out to right, lined out to right and popped out to third in his first three at-bats Wednesday before striking out to end the game. He had three groundouts and three outs in the air on Monday.

Some of those have been hard line drives hit right at fielders. Still, those are six outs in the air out of 10 at-bats, and that's abnormal for Polanco, who has had no less than a 1.67 ratio of ground balls to fly balls in each of his 10 Major League seasons.

"I need to get more on top [of the ball]," Polanco said. "I never recall myself hitting that many fly balls. When I make outs, they're usually ground balls or maybe more on a line. It's weird. Such little things can make a big difference.

"I'm hitting the ball on the barrel, but I'm getting under it and hitting it in the air."

The 0-for-10 skid is the longest hitless streak Polanco has had to start a season. He had longer hitless streaks last season, most recently the first week of last September. However, he went hitless in back-to-back games just three times over the final three months of last season.

It's a statistical oddity, but not really a worry yet.

"We all get spoiled," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's the least of my worries, really."

It's not that Polanco is panicking, either. But he's working.

"I have to make some adjustments and some changes," Polanco said. "I mean, that's what this game's all about. Pitching, maybe baserunning, hitting, defending, you know? When things aren't going good, you want to change."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:32 pm

04/06/08 6:41 PM ET
Sheffield in, Polanco out for Tigers
DH's finger tendon on mend; back sidelines second baseman

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Just when one prominent Tigers hitter returns to the lineup, another has his name scratched.

Designated hitter Gary Sheffield, who has missed the last two games with a torn tendon in his left ring finger, will assume his usual No. 3 spot on Sunday night against the White Sox. But second baseman Placido Polanco didn't start because of soreness in his lower back. He is day-to-day.

Ramon Santiago will make his first start this season at second base and bat ninth.

Polanco told manager Jim Leyland after Saturday game that his lower back felt "tight."

"I'll see how he feels [later] and see if he can pinch-hit," Leyland said before Sunday night's game. "I have to be careful, because I only have three bench players."

Leyland also said he does not believe Polanco's back is to blame for his slow start at the plate. The All-Star second baseman has a .087 average through five games.

Sheffield will not wear a splint when he bats, as originally thought, and instead he'll have the finger taped. His injury occurred while he slid into second base in a bang-bang play Thursday against Kansas City, and he has missed the first two games against the White Sox.

Sheffield said he took rounds of batting practice before Saturday's game and felt well enough to play in Sunday night's nationally televised game. He said the finger does not limit his ability to swing with his normal force but feels "a little bit different."

"As long as I don't think about it," Sheffield said, "and just go up there, and just focus on what I need to focus on, there should have no problems."

Miguel Cabrera's leg soreness has passed and he will start at third base. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez bats leadoff for the first time this season, needing one hit for 2,500 in his career. Brandon Inge starts in center field, and Marcus Thames gets his second start this season in left field and will bat second.

Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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PostSubject: Re: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:39 pm

04/08/08 9:29 PM ET
Polanco's errorless streak ends
Second baseman hadn't committed a miscue in 186 games

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

BOSTON -- Placido Polanco's Major League record errorless streak for a second baseman ended on Tuesday, when his relay throw to third base ended up in the Tigers' dugout, allowing Red Sox star Manny Ramirez to score.

Polanco hadn't committed an error since July 1, 2006. He went 186 games and 911 total chances without one, easily eclipsing the previous records for Major League second basemen held in both cases by Luis Castillo. It was a streak that had become a symbol of Polanco's emergence as one of baseball's best all-around second baseman. He didn't commit any error in 141 games played last season, all at second base.

"I'm very fortunate to have held that streak for so long," Polanco said. "It's baseball. I'm very lucky."

Compared to last summer, when an error previously charged to him on a bang-bang play at first base was reversed to a hit, the end to his streak on Tuesday came with no debate.

Ramirez hit a ball deep to center field and over the head of Brandon Inge to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Ramirez rounded second as Inge gathered the ball and fired to Polanco in short center.

Polanco had a play on Ramirez at third, but his throw hit the infield dirt in front of Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera and skipped off his glove toward the left-field side of the dugout. The deflection seemingly prevented pitcher Kenny Rogers from blocking it as it rolled into Detroit's dugout for an automatic advance of Ramirez, allowing him to trot home for a 2-0 Boston lead.

"You hate to see it end on a play like that," manager Jim Leyland said, "but that's all part of the game."

Rogers, a Gold Glove winner like Polanco, blamed himself in part for not anticipating the glance.

"I should've gotten back there further [in foul territory] and anticipated that ball going left a little bit more," Rogers said. "I really should have, since that's the only hole [in the dugout fence] there."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:44 pm



Manager Jim Leyland thinks that cold weather may have affected Placido Polanco. (Duane Burleson/AP)

04/18/08 7:25 PM ET
Polanco returns to Tigers lineup
Second baseman had been resting sore left hip flexor

By Gregor Chisholm / Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- After receiving one day off to rest a sore left hip flexor, second baseman Placido Polanco made his return to the Tigers starting lineup on Friday night against the Blue Jays.

His presence there may be short-lived, though, as Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he would most likely give Polanco another day off on Saturday to ensure the injury doesn't linger for an extended period of time.

Last season, the 32-year-old All-Star established career highs in batting average (.341), RBIs (67) and runs scored (105).

This year has been a different story. Polanco, who is in his fourth season with the Tigers, has gotten off to a slow start, hitting just .154 (8-for-52) with four RBIs and just four runs scored.

Leyland admitted prior to the Tigers four-game series opener against Toronto that he thought the hip injury was a factor in Polanco's subpar performance.

"I think he's affected," Leyland said. "Exactly how much I don't know, but I definitely think he has been affected."

What makes Polanco's early slump even more frustrating for Detroit is that during Spring Training, he was arguably the Tigers' best hitter. In 23 exhibition games, Polanco hit .408 (29-for-71) with four home runs and 12 RBIs.

Leyland thinks one reason behind the large discrepancy in numbers between Spring Training and the regular season could be the weather. Instead of playing every day under the warm sun in Florida, Polanco has been playing in frigid conditions in Boston, Cleveland and at home in Detroit, just to name a few.

"He was probably real loose down [in Florida]," Leyland said. "I'm sure some of this weather's caught up with [the hip], stiffens up a little bit."

For now the plan remains to rest Polanco when necessary and a trip to the disabled list is not expected.

Injuries have been keeping the Tigers training staff busy so far this season. In addition to monitoring Polanco's left hip, the crew is also working on first baseman Carlos Guillen's sore right hamstring and left-hander Dontrelle Willis' hyperextended right knee.

Guillen, who tweaked his hamstring on April 11 while running down the first-base line against the White Sox, said on Friday that he was improving but the muscle remains a little tight. Regardless, it's not something that is expected to keep him out of any games in Toronto.

Willis has been on the disabled list since April 12. He threw off flat ground on Wednesday and felt fine afterwards, but still does not have a time frame for when he will be able to make a rehab appearance.

Gregor Chisholm is a contributor to 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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:46 pm

04/20/08 3:01 PM ET
Polanco sees back woes worsen
Second baseman returns to Detroit for further examination

By Gregor Chisholm / Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The news on Placido Polanco's injured back continues to worsen and the Tigers second baseman has returned to Detroit to have the area examined by team doctors.

Polanco has been bothered by soreness in his lower back area since Spring Training, but it was expected to be only a minor issue. The problem is the discomfort has not gone away and there is fear that the injury could be more severe than originally thought.

His departure from the team could not have come at a worse time for the Tigers, who already have six players on the disabled list and are currently playing without the services of designated hitter Gary Sheffield because of a sore right shoulder.

Prior to Sunday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays, Detroit manager Jim Leyland was clearly frustrated at the current state of affairs and was in no mood to discuss the severity of Polanco's injury.

"It's acting up," is all Leyland would say about his second baseman's back.

Polanco has played in 14 of his team's 19 games this season, but has managed to hit just .148 with four RBIs in 54 at-bats.

Polanco's absence on Sunday marked the third time he has sat out over the Tigers' past four games. Detroit has not announced any roster moves, but Leyland did not rule out the possibility that the team may have to send Polanco to the disabled list.

Ryan Raburn got his second consecutive start at second base in place of Polanco. The 27-year-old is batting .375 (3-for-8) with two doubles and an RBI in eight games this season.

The injury news wasn't all bad for Detroit on Sunday afternoon. Center fielder Curtis Granderson has continued to make progress in his attempt to return from a non-displaced fracture of his right middle finger.

Granderson started in center for Triple-A Toledo on Saturday night and went 2-for-4. He is now batting .500 (4-for-8) during two rehab appearances this season.

"His legs are a little sore, but he did fine last night in Toledo," Leyland said.

Granderson originally hoped to make his Major League return on Monday in Toronto, but on Saturday, Leyland said the possibility of that was unlikely. It's unclear at this point if the Tigers' current injury woes will make them rethink that stance.

Gregor Chisholm is a contributor to 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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:47 pm

04/21/08 6:46 PM ET
Polanco may be ready for Rangers
Texas (7-13) at Detroit (7-13), Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET

By Gregor Chisholm / Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- The Tigers can breathe a collective sigh of relief, with news on Monday afternoon that Placido Polanco's back injury isn't as bad as initially feared.

Detroit's second baseman underwent an MRI on Sunday, and the results came back revealing no structural damage. He has been placed on medication and is currently listed as day-to-day.

"He might be able to play tomorrow if he's all right," manager Jim Leyland said on Monday, following the Tigers' 5-1 win over the Blue Jays. "He might be ready to play, I don't know. They said [the medication] could work right away and make him feel good.

"There was some inflammation there. That's what they found out. But no dysfunctional stuff, no muscular problems, no nerve problems. So that's really good news."

If Polanco is unable to go, the starting second-base duties will once again fall to Ryan Raburn, who has done an admirable job filling in for Detroit's All-Star so far this season.

"We obviously miss Polanco, because he's a big part of this team," said Raburn, who is hitting .267 through 10 games this season. "I'm just trying to fill in and do as good of a job as I can for however long I'm needed there."

Raburn made his Major League debut in 2004, but it wasn't until the second half of last season that he really got an opportunity to showcase his skills. The 27-year-old played in 49 games and batted .304 with four home runs and 27 RBIs.

"I feel pretty good," Raburn said about his start to 2008. "I'm just trying to get a consistent approach that will give me the best chance of having success and see what happens after that. If I can do that and go out there and make all the plays defensively, hopefully that will help get us back on a winning streak."

The Tigers will be going for their second win in a row on Tuesday, when they open a three-game series at Comerica Park against the Rangers. Right-hander Justin Verlander will get the call for the series opener.

Prior to this season, Detroit had never lost more than two of Verlander's starts in a row. Now his outings account for four of the Tigers' losses, with the latest one coming against the Indians. Verlander struggled with his control in that start against Cleveland, giving up five earned runs on seven hits and four walks over five innings.

The Rangers will counter with veteran right-hander Vicente Padilla. The 30-year-old surrendered just two earned runs over seven innings in his last start against the Blue Jays.

Gregor Chisholm is a contributor to 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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 10:50 pm

04/22/08 7:30 PM ET
Sheffield, Polanco get good news
Tigers projected lineup should come together within a week

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Tigers should conceivably have the top-third of their projected lineup back within the next three days after receiving good news on Placido Polanco and Gary Sheffield. With Curtis Granderson expected back from his Minor League rehab stint on Wednesday, the sum of the returns could give a jolt to what has been an inconsistent Detroit offense.

Sheffield, who missed his third straight game on Tuesday, had his ailing right shoulder examined by Dr. Stephen Lemos as scheduled. No structural damage was found, and the pain he has been dealing with is believed to be slow progress in the healing process following labrum surgery last October.

Sheffield received two cortisone shots -- one for the right shoulder, the other for the left. The latter, he said, had flared up on him from trying to compensate for the injury to the right one. That will alleviate the pain for now, but he's going to make a bigger effort from here to strengthen the right shoulder.

"What I'm doing now is something that I think I should've been doing in Spring Training, rehabbing it and not trying to get at-bats," Sheffield said. "I should've been getting it a lot stronger, but what I'm going through now, I'm paying for what I didn't get to accomplish in Spring Training -- get rid of the scar tissue, let the pain come in and get it treated and rehabbed more. And then get it to the strength that I need it to be."

Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that was just Sheffield beating himself up in hindsight. The shoulder felt fine in Spring Training, and the early work he put in swinging the bat before Spring Training began seemed to be paying off. Now, Sheffield said, he'll play catchup by coming in early to do his shoulder work before doing his baseball work.

How soon he'll be back playing depends on the cortisone shot. He returned from a shot last year missing only one day, but he said on Tuesday that he could take a couple extra days and follow the recommended time.

Polanco, meanwhile, was diagnosed over the weekend with an inflamed nerve in his back. He's on a combination of rest and medication, but he hopes to do some early hitting work on Wednesday afternoon with an eye towards returning to the lineup Wednesday night.

Back problems are nothing new for Polanco, who has been dealing with them since Spring Training. It was numbness in his left leg on Friday night that convinced him something was more seriously wrong. There's still no idea how the nerve flared up; the only play Polanco could think of from Friday was a slide into second on the artificial surface at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

However, Polanco said, doctors are confident that once the inflammation goes down, it should not be a problem for him again.

"I'm feeling a lot better," Polanco said. "I felt better from [Monday] to [Tuesday]."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:04 pm

04/24/08 1:35 AM ET
Polanco could return
Detroit (9-13) vs. Texas (7-15), Thursday, 1:05 p.m. ET

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Now that the Tigers have their leadoff man healthy, the next step is getting their No. 2 hitter back in action. It could happen in Thursday's series finale versus Texas at Comerica Park.

All-Star second baseman Placido Polanco said on Wednesday the inflamed nerve in his lower back feels better after rest and medication. He felt good after several rounds of batting and fielding practice and plans to return to the lineup soon.

"I'm shooting for [Thursday,]" Polanco said, "but we'll see."

Designated hitter Gary Sheffield could also return on Thursday from a right shoulder injury, but it's unlikely. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Friday would be a better bet.

Polanco has battled lower back stiffness since Spring Training, but the nerve just recently flared up, causing numbness in his left leg. While an MRI exam revealed no major damage, Polanco said he doesn't want to hurry his return, even if it means missing more games.

"I don't want to make it worse and keep aggravating the nerve," he said. "If [the pain] goes away, it goes away, and I'll go from there."

Polanco added that if he feels well enough to play in Thursday afternoon's game, he'll return to the lineup behind leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson and play in just his second game since last Thursday at Cleveland.

"I think he'll be ready to go," Leyland said after Wednesday's 19-6 win over Texas. "I'm going to play it by ear. ... He said he felt good after some baseball activity today, but he hasn't played any in four, five days now, so we're not going to rush it."

The Tigers have won three straight, tied for longest streak this season.

They send Jeremy Bonderman to the hill with a chance to sweep their first three-game series. Bonderman looks to tie rookie Armando Galarraga for the staff lead with two wins. Also, he can avoid earning three losses in April for the first time since his rookie year in 2003.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:09 pm

04/30/08 11:47 PM ET

Box >
Tigers drop Yanks behind Bonderman
Right-hander shows stellar effort; Polanco pops two jacks

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Jim Leyland didn't waste words with Jeremy Bonderman during his first-inning visit to the mound. From then on, Bonderman didn't waste pitches.

Time will tell if Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Yankees changes Bonderman's approach to the season or if it, too, goes to waste. It's not as if Bonderman didn't already know what he had to. It was Leyland's message, but it was Bonderman's execution.

"It's something that I know I need to get better at," Bonderman said. "I need to be more aggressive. Sometimes I try to throw to the corners instead of making them swing the bat. When I'm aggressive, I'm pretty good. I just need to be more aggressive. That's all I really need to worry about."

Leyland's message seemed to have some aggressiveness.

It was three batters into the bottom of the first inning, and all three batters Bonderman had faced were on base. Johnny Damon doubled after getting into a 3-0 count, Derek Jeter singled, then Bobby Abreu drew a four-pitch walk. It would seemingly be a situation for pitching Chuck Hernandez to come to the mound and talk mechanics with Bonderman, trying to figure out why he can't locate the plate.

Instead, Leyland marched out -- which he'll do when the message is more mental than mechanical. It was short and sweet.

"You don't want to know what I told him," Leyland said. "I can tell you that much."

Maybe not the exact words, but Bonderman conveyed the message.

"Be aggressive," Bonderman said. "Quit trying to nitpick and go right at them."

It wasn't an instant difference. Bonderman induced the next batter, Hideki Matsui, to fly out to shallow center on an 0-1 pitch, but promptly fell behind on a 3-0 count to Jason Giambi before his fly ball to deep left brought in Damon. Melky Cabrera lined a 2-1 pitch to left for a 2-0 Yankee lead and a multi-run opening inning reminiscent of Bonderman's struggles last year.

After that, Bonderman's execution turned. An inning-ending flyout from Robinson Cano started Bonderman on a string of 19 outs in a 21-batter stretch. Just two other Yankees reached three-ball counts against Bonderman until he walked Damon with one out in the eighth.

"He got more aggressive, mixed in some changeups and started pitching inside better, especially to lefties," Leyland said. "You do what you need to do. Getting the ball inside to their lefties was big."

Not only have left-handers hit about 25 points higher than right-handers against Bonderman over the last three years, but their walk rate has also been better. Of his 21 walks over 27 1/3 innings this season entering Wednesday, 15 had come against left-handed hitters.

"If I can get the ball over the plate, I'm good right now," Bonderman said. "I'm not getting beat up. I'm just walking too many guys."

After the first-inning woes, Bonderman used both sides of the plate, but he also decided to make hitters put the ball in the play. If he was going to lose, he'd lose on hits -- not walks.

"I don't know if I was trying to be too careful," Bonderman said. "After that, I told myself, 'I'm not walking anybody else. I don't care what happens.' I tried to just make guys put the ball in play. Fortunately, my stuff was good enough to get some outs."

Once he was working with a lead, his aggressiveness grew. Six years after Marcus Thames homered off Randy Johnson at Yankee Stadium in his first Major League at-bat, his two-run shot off Andy Pettitte in the fifth inning put the Tigers ahead for good in the Bronx.

Bonderman came out for the bottom half of the inning and was back in the dugout five pitches later. Alberto Gonzalez, playing in place of A-Rod, grounded out before Damon popped out and Jeter grounded out.

"The thing with him," Jeter said of Bonderman after the game, "is you hope he struggles with his control. If he's throwing strikes, you can't be too patient."

Fifty-seven of Bonderman's 100 pitches on the night went for strikes, but his ratio vastly improved from the fifth inning on. Two solo homers from Placido Polanco leading off the sixth and eighth innings, plus a Carlos Guillen RBI infield single in the sixth, gave Bonderman more cushion.

As a result, Bonderman was well shy of 100 pitches as he took the mound for the eighth inning. And a Tigers bullpen that could've gotten some heavy usage needed to contribute just four outs from left-hander Clay Rapada.

"He pitched great," catcher Ivan Rodriguez said of Bonderman. "That's him."

Bonderman is in no hurry to call this a defining start or a confidence builder. He readily admits there will be games when he'll struggle, but he believes that if he can carry this approach, he can roll through some starts.

"I feel like it's a good building block," Bonderman said, "but it's one start out of whatever we have left."

If Bonderman can carry it, those starts he has left have a better chance to be quality ones.

"Hopefully, this is a real positive step forward for him," Leyland said, "that he can build off this one and feel confident, get in a groove. That would be great for us."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:12 pm

05/03/08 8:30 PM ET
Pain-free Polanco providing impact
Recovered from inflamed nerve, second baseman on tear

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the first time since Spring Training, Placido Polanco is playing without pain. For the first time this season, his numbers are reflecting it.

Detroit's second baseman and second hitter missed five games with an inflamed nerve in his back that affected him whenever he moved, whether at the plate or in the field. Since returning to action a week and a half ago, he's batting 14-for-38 through Saturday with four doubles, two home runs, nine runs scored and five RBIs. That includes a 10-for-23 tear over a five-game hitting streak.

When the Tigers began the current week-long road trip to New York and Minnesota, manager Jim Leyland said he would play Polanco's situation by ear and check with him if he needed a day off this weekend. Saturday marked his ninth consecutive start since returning, and Leyland wasn't sure whether he'd need to rest Polanco on Sunday.

It's not a matter of fighting through the last of the inflammation. Polanco said Friday he felt fine.

"It's good," Polanco said. "It's the best that I've felt in a while, including Spring Training."

The understanding that Polanco reached with Leyland when he returned to action was that he would tell Leyland whenever he needed a day off. That put the responsibility on Polanco to be honest with how he was feeling. He tried to play through the back problems when the season began until the nerve was so inflamed that it left his left leg numb one night during the Tigers' series at Toronto.

Polanco explained the discomfort was much more manageable when it bothered him in the spring.

"We played for a month, and I had this since Spring Training," Polanco said. "It's just that the weather was helping me out [in Florida], and I didn't play the whole game, just the first five innings. I'd run every day."

At this point, there isn't much to manage. The inflammation is gone, and doctors told Polanco that once it was, there's no reason it should resurface.

The lack of inflammation affects everything Polanco does.

"Without a doubt," Polanco said. "The way I'm moving, right, left, running, mood-wise, everything [is better]."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:17 pm

05/26/08 12:41 AM ET
Polanco looks to keep up hitting tear
Detroit (21-29) at Los Angeles (30-22), Monday, 9:05 p.m. ET

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- This is how Placido Polanco hits when healthy.

After struggling through early-season struggles due, in part, to back problems, Detroit's All-Star second baseman finished hitting .407 (11-for-27) in last week's six-game homestand as the Tigers swept the Mariners and took one of three from the Twins. That includes a four-hit performance in Saturday's win over Minnesota.

"I'm feeling good and healthy," Polanco said last week.

Fans expected big things for Polanco after he started for the American League in last year's All-Star Game, finished with the third-highest average in the league and won the league's Silver Slugger Award at second base. Expectations grew further after he hit .408 in Spring Training.

But he hit .174 in this season's first 18 games, due, in part, to an injured nerve in his back.

That, however, seems like a distant memory these days. Coming into Sunday's game, Polanco hit .444 since May 17, the second-highest average in the AL during that span behind Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton.

May hasn't been one of his stronger months during his career, but this year is an exception. He has the highest average this month among AL second basemen and ranks third at the position in the Majors, behind Atlanta's Kelly Johnson and Florida's Dan Uggla.

"When he's healthy, he's one of the best No. 2 hitters in baseball," manager Jim Leyland said.

He's right. Polanco's average in the second spot ranks third in Majors, trailing only Boston's Dustin Pedroia and the Cubs' Ryan Theriot.

Polanco has helped set the table for an offense that scored 54 runs during the homestand, one that plated 19 on Saturday night. That came after the Tigers scored 12 runs during their last road trip.

The Tigers hope to stay hot at the plate during their next road trip, a nine-game West Coast swing that begins with a three-game series against the Angels beginning Monday night. The Angels took two of three from the Tigers at Comerica Park earlier this season.

"I like to take my team on the road," Leyland said. "I like showing people our offense, when it's doing what it's capable of doing. Yeah, they're cheering against you, but it's still fun."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:23 pm



Placido Polanco, wearing the Stars & Stripes cap here, has lived in the U.S. for 16 years. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

07/08/08 7:53 PM ET
Polanco proud to become an American
Tigers second baseman to take citizenship oath Wednesday

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Placido Polanco has been an All-Star, a Gold Glove award-winner and a postseason Most Valuable Player. On Wednesday, he'll be able to add a new title -- U.S. citizen.

The Tigers will honor the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Wednesday by holding a pregame ceremony in which U.S. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen will swear in 100 new American citizens. Polanco will be one of them. Before he takes his customary spot at second base, he'll take the oath.

It'll be the culmination of an adult life in the U.S. for the Dominican-born Polanco. He went to school at Miami-Dade Community College, where the Cardinals took notice and drafted him, and he splits his offseasons between Miami and the Dominican Republic.

"I've lived half of my life here," the 32-year-old Polanco said. "It's been 16 years. Went to school here. Work here. My kids were born here. They're all citizens."

His two children, daughter Aide Rose and son Ishmael, are citizens by birth. His wife, Lily, went through the naturalization process a few years ago to become a citizen.

Placido said he applied a few years ago, passed the exam and had been waiting for a security check.

"Everybody in my family is an American but me," Polanco said. "Tomorrow, I'll be one."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:32 pm

07/09/08 8:15 PM ET
Citizenship wait ends for Polanco
Tigers second baseman sworn in with group before game

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Placido Polanco's prolonged wait has ended. The Tigers' second baseman officially became a United States citizen Wednesday night during a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park.

The Tigers honored the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with a half-hour, on-field event, which featured an immigration and naturalization service for the U.S. Department of Justice. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen swore in 100 individuals, including Detroit's second-sacker.

"I'm part of the country now," Polanco said. "It's real. I'm here now."

It closed a three-year wait for the Dominican-born Polanco. He passed the citizenship test in 2005, but needed a security check to clear.

So he waited.

And waited.

"This is a long wait, but it was destiny," he said. "I wanted to be here."

Finally, Polanco received a positive response. His file was transferred from Florida, where he spends most of the offseason, to Detroit. The next few mundane steps went quickly, and his long journey from the Dominican ended on Comerica's green grass with a raised right hand and a verbal oath.

Having the ceremony at his home ballpark added extra emotions.

His manager, Jim Leyland, watched from the dugout steps. Tigers coaches and a handful of players, including naturalized U.S. citizen Ivan Rodriguez, viewed, too.

"It means a lot, because I've been here for what, four years, and now the Tigers feel like part of my family," Polanco said. "I feel like I've been here forever, and this is the organization that has given me the chance to play every day finally. To become a citizen here, it's a very important thing for me to do this in front of all these fans that I really appreciate."

The moment almost didn't happen. In 1992, Polanco nearly signed with a Japanese team, the Hiroshima Carp, before accepting an athletic scholarship from Miami-Dade Community College. He's lived in the U.S. since.

"I've lived half of my life here," Polanco said. "I went to college here. My kids were born here. My wife is a citizen, so now, I [was] the only one missing. I'll be part of the family now."

He said teammates such as Miguel Cabrera, who recently became a U.S. resident, have considered becoming a citizen.

"If they ask me," Polanco said, "I'll let them know what I'm going through, what I've been through."

Yes, he'll warn them about the long wait.

But he'll also explain the joys, the benefits of calling themselves an American.

"This country is a country of opportunity, and I work here playing baseball," Polanco said. "It's been very good to me and my family. God bless America."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:38 pm

08/10/08 1:00 PM ET
Ordonez, Polanco in batting race
Outfielder, second baseman contending in AL for second year

By Scott McNeish / MLB.com

DETROIT -- The Tigers have two players in the hunt for the American League batting title, just as they did last season.

As it turns out, it's the same two players.

Outfielder Magglio Ordonez and second baseman Placido Polanco again have some of the highest batting averages in the AL this season.

"Man, those two guys can hit," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's unbelievable."

Ordonez, who won the title last season, entered Sunday's game against Oakland sporting a .317 clip, which ranks third in the league behind Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon (.321) and Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley (.320). Ordonez has hit .352 since the All-Star break.

The outfielder looks to become the first player to win consecutive batting crowns since Nomar Garciaparra did it in 1998-99. Also, he could become the first Tigers player to win back-to-back titles since the legendary Ty Cobb in 1918-19.

Polanco, last year's AL Silver Slugger Award winner at second base, is hitting .314 -- seventh in the AL -- after a 3-for-4 effort against the A's on Saturday.

Unfortunately for Polanco, the Tigers do not face the A's again this season.

Additional games against Oakland would help Polanco's case. He has hit .426 against the A's in his career -- the best in the Majors -- and .529 in the Tigers' series sweep over them in the 2006 AL Championship Series, when Polanco earned series MVP honors.

"They're both such professional hitters," Leyland said.

Ordonez became the first Tiger to win a batting title since Norm Cash in 1961. He hit .363 to lead the Majors last season. His production helped him earned a second-place finish in AL MVP Award voting.

Polanco finished third in the league last year after hitting .341.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:45 pm

08/16/08 8:37 PM ET
Polanco perplexed by play, decision
Second baseman ejected after arguing controversial call

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Though Placido Polanco hadn't seen a play like it in his Major League career, he was more surprised at the call that followed.

Polanco's potential double-play throw wasn't merely deflected in the ninth inning on Friday night, it made solid contact with the raised hands of baserunner Lou Montanez, turning what might've been an inning-ending double play into a wayward throw that allowed an extra run to score and extended the inning for three more runs after that. The act itself wasn't the subject of debate; it was a matter of whether it was intentional.

If a baserunner intentionally interferes with a thrown ball, he can be called out according to Rule 7.09(j). Second-base umpire Kevin Causey ruled that Montanez did not intentionally go for the ball with his hands as he slid, and a conference of the umpiring crew reached the same conclusion. Polanco was ejected soon after.

"I've played a lot of games, and I've never seen anybody do something like that," Polanco said Saturday of the play.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to argue the play alongside Polanco. He didn't want to discuss the play later, but he understood the dilemma.

"Those can be real tricky, whether it's interference or whether it's not interference," Leyland said after the game.

Understandably, Orioles manager Dave Trembley did not see interference, though he said he did not look at replays afterwards.

"I saw it right here," Trembley said on Saturday. "I thought it was fine. I think the key words in the rulebook are 'impair, impede, intent.' I didn't see any of those three. He just went straight in. I think he did OK."

It was a solid play, but it came at a price, as Montanez injured his left hand and was out of Saturday's starting lineup as a result. He later entered the game when Jay Payton was ejected for arguing a play at first base.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:48 pm

08/20/08 8:08 PM ET
Polanco sits with sore right knee
Durable second baseman misses second straight game

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco doesn't expect his sore right knee to be a problem during this weekend's series at Kansas City. However, he also didn't expect his knee to be a problem in the first place.

He has been trying to think back over the last several games to a play that may have tweaked his knee, but hasn't been able to pinpoint the cause. He knows that it has been a problem here, and that it flared up Tuesday afternoon, to the point where he was having problems simply swinging in the cage.

"I was trying to go yesterday," Polanco said Wednesday afternoon, "But I was hitting, and [it hurt] every time I went to swing."

Polanco was diagnosed with patella tendinitis, and was out of the lineup, replaced by at second base by Ramon Santiago. Manager Jim Leyland had already slated Polanco to rest on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday's off-day, and that plan remained intact. Polanco's knee was already feeling somewhat better on Wednesday, though it was still sore.

Leyland said after Wednesday's game that he wasn't sure whether Polanco would ready to go on Friday.

It's a rare knee issue for a player whose knees have been solid over the years. He missed time with a pinched nerve in his back in April, had stints on the disabled list with a separated left shoulder two years ago and suffered a strained left hamstring in 2005. Other than that, he has been quite durable as he ages into his 30s.

Santiago filled in for Polanco again on Wednesday, batting second in the order after his two-hit game Tuesday night.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:57 pm

09/26/08 11:47 PM ET
Polanco leaves game after collision
Tigers second baseman sprains left ankle on play at plate

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

DETROIT -- Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco left Friday's game against the Rays with a sprained left ankle suffered on a collision at the plate. He will be reevaluated Saturday after X-rays were negative.

Polanco, back in the lineup after being held out of Thursday's game to rest his sore back, drew a four-pitch walk in the first inning and came around to score on a Magglio Ordonez double. The run, however, came at a price. As he slid home ahead of the throw, his left foot collided with the right leg of Rays catcher Dioner Navarro.
"At first, he wasn't really blocking the plate," Polanco said, "so I'm going for the plate. And then, very late, he got down. It hit the shin guard and twisted."

The impact left Polanco writhing in pain at the plate as Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand rushed out from the dugout to attend to him.

Ryan Raburn, who started in Polanco's place on Thursday, replaced him at second on Friday to start the second inning. It's uncertain at this point whether Polanco will be able to start Saturday or Sunday. Polanco said he would see how it feels Saturday.

"It doesn't look too bad, to be honest with you," manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know what's going to happen the next couple times. Certainly, I'm not going to have somebody playing in pain with two days to go when we're out of the race. If he's all right, I might play him Sunday for the fans. If not, it won't."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:10 am

02/17/09 6:07 PM EST
Tigers' Polanco won't play in Classic
Second baseman looking forward to building on '08 campaign

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco will not play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, joining his good friend Albert Pujols among players who ultimately decided not to take part.

"I wanted to be here with the team and get ready," Polanco told the Detroit Free Press. "I want to do what it takes to have a good year, to help the Tigers get to the playoffs. If I went to the World Classic, I would lose three weeks."

Polanco had seemingly wavered about the Classic since last year. He said at the end of last season that he would rather stay in camp with the Tigers and concentrate on the Tigers for the 2009 season. Then last month, he was named to the Dominican provisional roster.

Polanco played for his native Dominican team in the inaugural Classic in 2006, going 9-for-18 (.500) in four games. However, he split time at second base, leaving him in somewhat of a utility role.

The 33-year-old Polanco, meanwhile, is trying to build off of a 2008 season in which he batted .307, ninth best in the American League with 34 doubles, eight home runs and 58 RBIs in 141 games. His ratio of one strikeout per 13.5 at-bats marked the best in the AL for the third year in a row.

Polanco is entering the final season of a four-year, $18.4 million contract he signed soon after arriving via trade from the Phillies in June 2005. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated at TigerFest last month that Detroit would likely wait until the end of the season to look at Polanco's situation. Polanco will be eligible for free agency next winter.

The Dominican team has strength up the middle with or without Polanco. The provisional roster includes Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano along with shortstops Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins and Jose Reyes of the Mets. Houston's Miguel Tejada and Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta round out the middle infield.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:17 am

Polanco doubly strong at the plate
New York (10-10) at Detroit (11-9), 7:05 p.m. ET

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

04/29/09 1:29 AM ET

Let the Tigers' offense be defined by Miguel Cabrera's early tear, Brandon Inge's power surge and Josh Anderson's speedy April. Placido Polanco is quietly off to what might be quite a contract year.

But then, that's how Polanco does a lot of his hitting. And while he doesn't like to talk about his hitting, his manager does.

"Polanco's the perfect example of a guy that even when he looks bad, he looks good," Jim Leyland said, "because he grinds it out every at-bat. He does not give away at-bats. So even the days that he struggles, you feel good about Polanco, because he's going to grind it out."

Polanco hasn't had many struggling days. He has gone hitless just twice since Opening Day, going 22-for-78 in that span. More impressive, 10 of those hits have been doubles, vaulting him into the American League lead. He would need three doubles in Wednesday's series finale against the Yankees to tie the team record in April, but he'll settle for more hits and runs.

Only Magglio Ordonez has doubled more times in the opening month of a season since 1954, hitting 13 of them in 2007. Curtis Granderson had 10 in that same year. But Polanco isn't the same kind of hitter, at least not for power.

His doubles have been of nearly every variety, from line drives into the gaps and inside the foul lines to ground balls just inside the bag. His two-bagger in Tuesday's 11-0 loss against the Yanks hit third base and bounced up, landing in short left field as Polanco motored around.

Polanco said he isn't doing anything different at the plate. The only difference he can cite is his work in Spring Training to become a quicker runner, earning him an extra step or two and a more aggressive baserunning approach as he rounds first base.

"Maybe my legs feel better," Polanco said. "Maybe I'm thinking double out of the box. Maybe it's subconscious. I'm not thinking it."

In other words, he's going on instinct and reaction, which is how he has always played. And his instincts and reactions have served him well over the years.

"He's got the right approach to the game," Leyland continued. "He takes a personal challenge with the pitcher each at-bat. I really believe that. It's overused, the ultimate professional, but if you watch Polanco, he's like an old shoe. He does the same thing every single day. He's real comfortable.

"He prepares every day, takes his ground balls. He works the same. He goes through his routine. He gets ready to hit. He presents himself with a challenge to the pitcher each day. So even when he's struggling, you feel good about him, because you know that if anybody can flare one into right or get a runner over to third, it's him. He never gives in."

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:21 am

Polanco leaves game as precaution
BECK'S BLOG

Ramon Santiago pinch-hit in the eighth inning Saturday for Placido Polanco, who left the game when his left leg stiffened up. He took a Seth McClung pitch off that leg in the sixth. Considering he stayed in the game to come around to score, then played two more innings in the field, it isn't expected to be serious.

Posted on June 20, 2009 at 7:07 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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:09 am

Polanco leaves game as precaution
BECK'S BLOG

Ramon Santiago pinch-hit in the eighth inning Saturday for Placido Polanco, who left the game as a precaution when his left leg stiffened up. But both Polanco and manager Jim Leyland said after the game that it's nothing to worry about.

Polanco took a Seth McClung pitch off his left quadriceps in the sixth. He stayed in the game and came around to score on Marcus Thames' single two batters later, then played two more innings in the field.

The quad didn't immediately stiffen up, Polanco said, but just got progressively sore.

"It got a little tight -- nothing major, nothing bad at all," Polanco said. "It's just sore, and I don't want it to get worse. I just didn't want to be half-stepping out there."

Manager Jim Leyland said he was already planning to rest Polanco on Sunday in favor of Santiago, which he has done several times on day games before off-days. Combined with Monday's off-day, that'll give Polanco two days off before Tuesday's series opener against the Cubs.

Posted on June 20, 2009 at 7:07 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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:14 am

DETROIT 5, OAKLAND 3
Polanco powers Tigers

BY JOHN LOWE • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • July 1, 2009

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Albert Pujols out-homered his close friend Placido Polanco Tuesday night.

No shock there.

Pujols leads the majors in homers.

Polanco, for all the luminous descriptions he has earned, probably will never be known as a power hitter.

But both homers that Pujols hit Tuesday night off the Giants’ Randy Johnson – soon-to-be Hall of Famer against another destined for Cooperstown -- didn’t erase Johnson’s lead.

Polanco hit one homer Tuesday night, and it came off lefty Gio Gonzalez.

But Polanco’s homer meant the Tigers had something for the whole night that Pujols’ Cardinals never had Tuesday night: the lead.

Polanco followed Curtis Granderson’s leadoff walk in the first by lining a two-run homer to left. The Tigers were in front for good in their 5-3 win.

Of late, Polanco is hitting homers, not at a Pujols pace, but something more than a normal Polanco pace.

In his first 61 games this season: one homer.

In his 10 games since then: four homers.

“He’s getting good pitches and being a little more patient,” said Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. “He’s swinging at good pitches and putting good swings on them.

“Earlier in the year, he probably expanded a little bit too much, going outside the strike zone.”

In his three previous full seasons with the Tigers, Polanco’s home-run totals (in chronological order) have been four, nine and eight. Perhaps this will be his first double-digit home-run season with the Tigers.

He’s known for exactly what power hitters aren’t known for -- not striking out. Despite his recent power burst, he remains high on the list of the league leaders in toughest to strike out, based on the ratio of at-bats to strikeouts.

Polanco hit his first career homer in 1998, when his Cardinals teammate Mark McGwire hit 70. He stayed with the Cardinals long enough to become friends with the young Pujols, then was traded to Philadelphia and Detroit. In 11 years in the majors, he has 85 homers.

Polanco doesn’t attempt a grand explanation for this current power burst.

“It’s baseball -- it’s one of those things,” Polanco said. “In baseball, all of a sudden you can go crazy and hit everybody. In the same way, you can go crazy and not hit anybody.

“All you can do is just show up every day and try to control your approach, work hard and then let everything take care of itself.”


"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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:01 am

Polanco has Mota to thank on many fronts
Tigers infielder was helped to Majors by Dominican great

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

08/06/09 6:59 PM ET

DETROIT -- If not for the work of Dominican baseball great Manny Mota, Placido Polanco might never have had the chance to become a star in the United States. He also wouldn't have had a chance to become a U.S. citizen.

For that matter, a little help from Japan's Hiroshima Carp helped, too.

Considering Polanco isn't the kind of athlete who would wow a scout at first sight, he needed some things to go right for him to get to the big leagues. But he's the kind of player who would fight to create opportunities for himself.

In many ways, the belief to keep fighting for opportunities all started with the help of Mota.

"Manny Mota is like a second father to me," Polanco told MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. "He not only gave me a scholarship to go to college and to live in the United States, he taught me the game and how to live. He gave me a life scholarship."

Mota is known in the United States for his career as an outfielder and pinch-hitting specialist, then for his past 30 years as a coach with Los Angeles Dodgers. In the Dominican Republic, he's also known for his humanitarian efforts, including his own foundation and youth league, but also for helping out kids and their families who need help.

Polanco and his family weren't in that category, but the two families knew each other through Polanco's father, Placido Sr., also a well-known ballplayer in their country who became an instructor in Mota's Little League. Their families knew each other well enough to be like family to each other.

Polanco played in the Manny Mota Little Leagues in Santo Domingo, then made a name for himself as a high school player. The next step for him was a stint in a developmental academy.

He ended up working out in the camp of the Carp, a team in Japan's Central League whose academy would be known later for helping develop Alfonso Soriano. They were impressed enough by Polanco to offer him an opportunity to keep working with the academy and eventually go over to Japan, but Polanco hoped to play in the United States.

With that in mind, and with his parents hoping for him to get an education, Polanco looked for a chance at college ball. With help from Mota, he found a spot and a scholarship on the team at Miami Dade Community College.

"This is a long way, but it was destiny," Polanco said last year. "I wanted to be here."

That was the opportunity he needed. His play at Miami-Dade caught the eye of a scout with the St. Louis Cardinals, who drafted him. After having to transition from student visa to working visa, Polanco steadily worked his way through the Minors and won over believers until he made it to St. Louis, where he became one of manager Tony La Russa's core player.

Polanco lives in Miami and became a U.S. citizen last year, but he hasn't forgotten his Dominican roots. He spends parts of his offseasons in the Dominican, and he played for the Dominican team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

And of course, he'll never forget Mota.

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: Placido Polanco NEWS   Thu Sep 03, 2009 6:09 pm

Polanco's defense is 'a treat' for Tigers
Second baseman could set career mark for double plays

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

09/03/09 2:19 PM ET

DETROIT -- Placido Polanco owns the longest errorless streak for Major League second basemen, a streak he began in 2006 and took into last summer. He went the entire 2007 season without an error.

This year, to manager Jim Leyland, he's been even better.

"In my opinion, I know he had that streak, but I think this has really been his best defensive year," Leyland said. "He moves better than in past years. He's played exceptional."

From an activity standpoint, the stats might bear that out. With 29 games to go after Thursday's series finale against the Indians, he's on pace to play more innings and games than in any of his previous 11 Major League seasons. He could top his 2007 career-high total for double plays, and he has an outside chance to top his assist high from the same year.

Polanco currently leads the American League in fielding percentage at .998. Of his two errors this season, one was on a fielding miscue on a relay throw, and the other was on an off-balance throw from behind first base.

Still, his range factor -- putouts plus assists per nine innings -- of 4.93 entering Thursday was slightly lower than his 5.08 mark in 2007, or his 5.22 mark last year.

He has been the anchor of an upgraded infield defense, which has been a boost for a pitching staff that has been able to pitch for contact and quick outs in stretches.

"He's like an old shoe," Leyland said. "Old shoes are real comfortable. You get a new pair and you look at them, and think, 'Well, maybe I'll wear those today,' and you say, 'Nah.' He just comes every day, grinds it out every single day.

"He's the consummate professional. He has a routine. He sticks to it every day. He's a treat, because you know he's going to be the same every day. You don't have to worry about him."

If it is Polanco's best year at second, his timing couldn't have been much better. He's a free agent at season's end, of course, and one question that teams will have to answer for themselves is whether Polanco can play a quality game at second base into and through his mid-30s.

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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