Willis the comeback kid?

Tigers starter looks strong after 2 misery-plagued seasons

May 09, 2010|By Phil Roger

Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 3.99 ERA) appears to be all the way back for the Tigers. He froze Justin Morneau with a well-placed 94 mph fastball Tuesday, when he retired 12 straight Twins in one stretch. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire called Willis' stuff "good, really good.'' He faces the Yankees on Monday. … The Mariners' Ken Griffey isn't the only old hand whose popularity and production is an issue for an AL West front office. The A's are dealing with the same thing involving Eric Chavez, who is turning the designated hitter spot into a powerless wasteland. He's healthy, and the A's really don't want to release him. They might have to if they're serious about contending. … Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, who died Wednesday, is the only pitcher to allow 500 home runs (505). That's not going to be true much longer, however, as Jamie Moyer has allowed 498. Fergie Jenkins, at 484, allowed the third-most. … Moyer, meanwhile, became the oldest player in big league history to throw a shutout as he and the Phillies blanked the Braves 7-0 on Friday night. At 47 years, 170 days, he beats out Phil Niekro, who was 46 years, 188 days when he tossed a four-hitter for the Yankees against the Blue Jays on Oct. 6, 1986. … The Giants' Tim Lincecum, who starts Sunday against the Mets, never has lost in May (7-0 in 16 starts). … According to tatertrottracker.com, the A's Adam Rosales circled the bases almost as fast on two over-the-fence home runs as David DeJesus and Stephen Drew did on inside-the-park homers. Rosales' quickest was 15.86 seconds, compared with 15.84 for Drew's Opening Day inside-the-parker. … The Padres insist we shouldn't be shocked to see them contending in the NL West. They were 23-13 down the stretch last season. They manufacture runs like Paul Molitor was their hitting coach. … The slow-moving sale of the Rangers could have serious competitive implications. If Tom Hicks' creditors succeed in forcing MLB to seize the club from Hicks, the team might not have the flexibility to address needs, such as catching. The team's saving grace is its deep farm system, which could allow GM Jon Daniels to make prospect-for-prospect trades, if not add salary.

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