Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon is not part of the Tigers active roster for the ALCS, and remains in Florida. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Boston — Did you notice that only one Tigers pitcher was activated for Saturday night’s game, instead of two?
Phil Coke was back on the roster for the American League Championship Series, but not Bruce Rondon, who has been out — and still is — because of right elbow tenderness.
“I don’t think he’s picked up a ball yet,” manager Jim Leyland said about the rookie right-hander who’s been at the Instructional League in Florida, hoping to get over his discomfort.
“I don’t think we can expect him.”
As for Coke
“We didn’t know for sure,” Leyland said about how clear it had been ahead of time that Coke would be ready to rejoin the team.
“He went down there along with the other three guys (Rondon, Darin Downs and Evan Reed) to stay ready, and we just felt that with (Boston’s left-handed hitters), and with Luke Putkonen getting absolutely no work against Oakland, it made sense — if Coke was right.
“He felt good, and did OK down there, so he was activated. That’s the story for him. Let’s move on.”
Putkonen stayed with the team, however, as inactive Matt Tuiasosopo has.
“That’s why the rules are as they are,” Leyland said. “If we want to make an adjustment, we can. But if Coke comes up lame right away, he won’t be eligible for the next series — if we’re fortunate to move on.”
Three lefties in the bullpen certainly give the Tigers the luxury of depth against Boston’s lineup, but Leyland also thinks “Rick Porcello could be a factor” in that regard.
“It’s a little bit different the way the lineups play out, but we’ll do what we always do. We’ll use who we think is the guy to use at the proper time.
“One less righty, one more lefty,” Leyland , “that’s what it amounts to. Nothing tricky about it.”
The question that Leyland got the most tired of the fastest was about how Jhonny Peralta, as the Tigers’ starting left fielder in Game 1, was going to fare if there was a carom off the Green Monster in left.
“Everybody’s making a deal out of that,” Leyland said, “but we’re not. The wall is the wall. It’s been there for 101 years.
“Peralta is no different than any left fielder who comes into this park. The key is that if you make a quick read off the bat that the ball is going to hit high off the wall, you should get back.
“If it’s one in between where you might be able to catch, or that might hit off the wall, there’s nothing you can do about it. Too much is being made of it because it’s Peralta.
“I’ve even heard something about what if it hits the ladder out there,” Leyland said. It’s a little tricky to play the wall, but I don’t think any Red Sox, Tiger, Kansas City Royal or anyone else knows where it’s going if it hits the ladder.
“Talking about the ladder is ridiculous. That’s getting carried away. It’s a waste of timing talking about it.
“If someone says that Carl Yastrzemski knew where the ball was going if it hit that ladder, I’m not buying it.
“I don’t pay any attention to all this stuff about the wall,” Leyland said.
“It’s like some geek figured out that if it hits the third rung of the ladder, it goes to left center; if it hits the eighth rung, it goes over the fence to left and if it hits the sixth rung, it bounces up off the wall.
“Give me a break.”
Not this time
Leyland didn’t get picked up in his office and carried out to the Tigers’ celebration in Oakland on Thursday night — as he was by Torii Hunter following the game in Minnesota that clinched first place for the Tigers in the A.L. Central.
“I saw a couple of players coming (toward his office),” Leyland said, “but I deked them. I told them that I had my press conference to do and didn’t want to go in there soaking wet.
“So I smoked a cigar and got on the plane” — for what he called “the greatest six-hour flight of my life.”