Tigers notes: Gomes, Carter affecting series from bench, etc.


Tigers notes: Gomes, Carter affecting series from bench, etc.

OAKLAND -- A's righties Jonny Gomes and Chris Carter are yet to enter the playing field in this year's ALDS, but they're affecting how the series is playing out by worming their way into the conscious of Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

"They've got a couple of big bats sitting there," Leyland said. "You have to watch how you play it."

When Seth Smith came to the plate with a runner on and one away in the seventh inning of Game 3 having homered in his previous at-bat against Anibal Sanchez, Leyland was going to the 'pen. But who to call? Call on a lefty and invite A's manager Bob Melvin to employ the services of Gomes or Carter for the first time this series. Call on a righty and keep Smith in the game as the DH.

"If you noticed last night," Leyland explained. "I chose to go to (Octavio) Dotel to Smith rather than (Drew) Smyly to possibly Gomes or Carter.You never know what Bob might do.But that certainly would have been an option for him.And I just felt that Dotel against Smith was a better option for me than Smyly against maybe Carter or Gomes."

Leyland won that game-within-the-game as Dotel induced a popout to the vast foul ground outside third base, but you can be sure he and his staff have discussed how to handle a similar situation in Game 4.

"We've got Smyly to go if something happens to Scherzer," Leyland said.

Look for Gomes or Carter to get a pinch-hitting appearance if Leyland does go to a lefty. Phil Coke is the only other left-hander in the Tigers' bullpen. He is reserved for late-inning situations, but it appears as if Leyland is more comfortable with him facing the A's strong righties.

While most of the Tigers clubhouse had their equilibrium sidekicked by the thunderous A's crowd on Tuesday, one outfielder claims to like it better than the alternative.

"I think I enjoy it more," left fielder Andy Dirks said. "You don't have to sit and get ragged on."

The Oakland Coliseum is known for its right- and left-field bleachers, and the boisterous fans they hold. Over the regular season, it is common for an opposing corner outfielder to hear -- quite clearly depending on the attendance -- grief in each of his nine defensive innings.

But the loud playoff vibe is hiding Oakland's prime ribbers.

"In this atmosphere, you don't deal with that because there's so much noise from the entire crowd," Dirks said. "You can't pinpoint those few people, like traditionally here you've got five guys behind you talking to you the whole game. But not in this situation."

Dirks claims to enjoy it, but he went 0-for-3 in front of A's fans Tuesday.

Not sure how to interpret his message? Get louder.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland does not believe that experience has any bearing on this series' outcome. He said as much five different times in his press conference Wednesday.

"I believe in talent," Leyland insisted.

With the most home runs and runs scored since the All-Star break, the A's have made it plenty clear that talent is one thing they have.

The Tigers, too, have talent, with last year's AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP anchoring their staff and the first triple crown winner since 1967 (Carl Yastrzemski) holding down the lineup. So the question remains: Who will win -- the less experienced talent or the more experienced talent? Don't ask Leyland.

Report: A's bring back lefty Detwiler on minor league deal

Report: A's bring back lefty Detwiler on minor league deal

Left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler is staying with the A's.

The 30-year-old has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with Oakland, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The A's purchased Detwiler's contract from the Indians on July 17 and he went on to make nine appearances for the club, including seven starts.

In his time with the A's, Detwiler posted a 6.14 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 44 innings.

Plouffe will push Healy away from third base, but not combative situation

Plouffe will push Healy away from third base, but not combative situation

Trevor Plouffe and Ryon Healy have some history to fall back on before they even start playing together as A’s teammates.

No doubt, their futures are intertwined as well.

Plouffe officially joined Oakland on Wednesday when the team announced his one-year deal that’s worth $5.25 million, plus incentives based on various numbers of plate appearances. General manager David Forst said on a media conference call that he envisions Plouffe as the primary third baseman. That means Healy — coming off an impressive rookie campaign at third — will see the majority of his innings at first base and designated hitter.

Plouffe and Healy grew up in Southern California and both went to Crespi Carmelite High School, though Plouffe, 30, is five years older. But it wasn’t until this winter that they’ve gotten to know each other better, as the rainfall in Southern California drew them both to the same indoor training facility.

They played for the same high school coach, Scott Muckey, which is how Plouffe first heard of Healy.

“I remember hearing about him when he was in high school,” Plouffe said Wednesday. (Muckey) told me about Healy and the kind of player he was. He didn’t give players a lot of credit, so when he did, I took notice.”

Healy works out in the offseason at the Hit Factory in Newberry Park. Earlier this winter, Plouffe popped in with Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.

“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Healy said. “We never thought, being (five) years apart, that we would be teammates. We haven’t had (much of a) prior relationship, but he’s always reached out to me when appropriate. I’ve heard nothing but nice things about the guy. We worked out , chatted and exchanged numbers, and we’re starting that relationship early.”

Plouffe was limited to 84 games last year with Minnesota due to rib and oblique injuries, hitting .260 with 12 homers and 47 RBI. Before that, he averaged 18 homers and 68 RBI from 2012-15, twice topping the 20-HR mark. The Twins non-tendered Plouffe in December rather than pay him the roughly $8 million he was likely to receive in arbitration. That made Plouffe a free agent.

He and Healy make compelling workout partners, as Plouffe’s arrival in green and gold is likely to push Healy over to first, where he played in college and early in his minor league career. But it’s not a combative situation, and the offseason workouts help to build chemistry.

“I was kind of taking my reps at third and first, continuing doing that routine to be prepared for that possiblity,” Healy said. “It doesn’t seem like anything is set in stone. I still have to prove to them I’m ready to play major league baseball come spring time.”

The right-handed hitting Healy will form a platoon at first with Yonder Alonso, Forst said, and see time in a DH rotation that figures to also include Khris Davis, Stephen Vogt, Matt Joyce and possibly others. But Forst noted that Healy also needs to stay sharp at third base.

“It’s easy to envision a scenario where (Plouffe) gets the bulk of time at third base and we still have 500 plate appearances for other guys like Ryon. We have every intention of getting at-bats for Ryon. Trevor is not gonna be out there 162 times, we know that. Ryon is going to have to continue to be ready at third base.”

Forst said the A’s are still scanning the free agent and trade market for potential additions, both on the position-player and pitching side.

Oakland reportedly has agreed to a two-year contract with reliever Santiago Casilla that has yet to be finalized.