Seattle — The door to manager Ron Gardenhire’s office remained closed for a long time after the clubhouse was opened to the media Sunday morning. Which, at this time of year, triggers minor alarms.
But, alas, no trades were imminent.
“Just on the phone, conference call,” Gardenhire said of the delay. “Just general stuff, roster stuff, crazy stuff. But nothing is happening. Everybody is just posturing. I sat and listened to the conference call — a lot of great ideas, but nothing’s in place.”
The trade deadline is 4 p.m. Wednesday and by then, it is expected that closer Shane Greene and right fielder Nick Castellanos will be on their way to a contending team. Pitcher Matthew Boyd seems less likely to be dealt at this time.
But there were other considerations general manager Al Avila and his staff were dealing with on that conference call. The Tigers are in the midst of a dreadful stretch. Rebuild or not, being 40 games under .500 and 3-18 in the month of July after winning just five games in June is unacceptable.
“We are talking about our roster all the time,” Gardenhire said. “We are talking about what we can do to make it better up here right now. We’re looking into it and we’re talking about it.”
There will be changes, trade or no trade. There will be an infusion of young players coming soon from Triple-A Toledo — catcher Jake Rogers, outfielders Daz Cameron and Victor Reyes, shortstop Willi Castro and third baseman Dawel Lugo are among the players who could be called up before the September roster expansion.
“But, we’re out here on the West Coast, which makes a big difference,” he said. “We are throwing ideas around. We don’t want to just stand here and take this. No one does. But it is what it is right now. We are working on it.
“It’s a process.”
No showcasing Greene
Gardenhire said, save situation or no save situation, he was going to get Greene into the game Sunday. He hadn’t worked since Tuesday.
“We can’t keep letting him sit so long,” Gardenhire said.
He sat for yet another day. With the game time in the bottom of the eighth, and with the bullpen depleted (Gregory Soto and Nick Ramirez were unavailable and Buck Farmer and Blaine Hardy were used to get out of jam in the seventh), Gardenhire had no choice but to hold Greene for a potential save situation in extra innings.
"If it had gotten past him, I might have had to put one of my assistant coaches in," Gardenhire joked.
Greene appeared in just seven games in June and has only pitched in six games in July. A total of 13 innings in two months.
“He just comes with the same attitude every day,” Gardenhire said. “He prepares the same every day. He’s very routine-oriented. When it’s the ninth inning and he goes to take the ball, he’s ready … He’s that kind of guy. He wants the ball. He’s a very aggressive kid and he’s one of those guys that really studies the game and he knows how to make pitches.”
Gardenhire was asked, with the trade deadline nearing, if he was under any pressure to showcase Greene.
“God no,” he said. “I don’t deal with any part of that. That doesn’t become a factor in anything I do until they tell me not to pitch the guy. And they haven’t done that. We try to win every day with whatever we have. We don’t hold anything back.”
No knocking Niko
Niko Goodrum is stinging the ball these days. He extended his hitting streak to eight games with his 10th homer of the season. He's reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games and is hitting .365 over that stretch.
But he's had a heckuva time defensively.
He misplayed a possible double-play ball playing second base on Thursday, misplayed a fly ball in left field Friday and misplayed one in right field Saturday.
"Playing him every day is beating the crap out of him," Gardenhire said. "Playing him every day at a different spot, too. (Saturday) was just one of those days where the ball was flying all over the place.
"Niko is doing fine. He normally runs balls down pretty good. Those weren't easy plays out there."
Gardenhire put more of the blame on the pitchers and the long innings than he did of the fielding.
"I told Niko not to worry about it," Gardenhire said. "When you stand out there playing defense for that long, stuff is going to happen. If you get off the field, everything is going to be fine.
"But when you stand out there for 15 minutes chasing balls all over the place, that's what happens. We're on the field too long."
Goodrum got the start at shortstop Sunday.
The Lansing Lugnuts, the Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom Daniel Norris started in 2013, is running a bobblehead promotion featuring an Oregon Trail pioneer Norris bobblehead, complete with an incredibly massive beard, suspenders, waders and Amish-looking hat.
It’s fairly hilarious.
“Yeah, I mean that’s a pretty hefty beard there,” Norris said. “I’m just afraid I’m going to get dysentery now. That’s what always happened when I played Oregon Trail in high school. I always got dysentery and died.
“Hopefully that’s not real.”
On deck: at Angels
► Series: Three games, Monday-Wednesday, at Angels Stadium of Anaheim
► First pitch: Monday-Tuesday, 10:07 p.m.; Wednesday, 4:07 p.m.
► TV/radio: Monday — YouTube, 97.1; Tuesday-Wednesday – FSD, 97.1
► Probables: Monday — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-8, 7.57) vs. RHP Jaime Barria (4-3, 6.63); Tuesday — RHP Drew VerHagen (1-1, 14.40) vs. RHP Griffin Canning (3-6, 5.15); Wednesday — LHP Daniel Norris (2-8, 4.89) vs. LHP Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.35).
► Zimmermann, Tigers: He's the first pitcher to post eight straight losses without a win since Mike Maroth in 2003. He pitched four strong innings in his last start before things blew up on him in a three-run fifth.
► Barria, Angels: He's allowed three runs in 10 innings in his two starts this month, with 11 strikeouts. In his one relief appearance, though, against the Mariners, he was tagged for 10 runs in 3.2 innings.