Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on June 18, 1998 · Page 53
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 53

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Thursday, June 18, 1998
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THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 1998DETROIT FREE PRESS 7D Bell: Roberts to return to lineup only at 100 percent BY gene guidi Free Press Sports Writer Tigers manager Buddy Bell said Wednesday he wasn't ready to return Bip Roberts to the starting lineup. "He has to show me he's 100 percent before I put him back in there," Bell said. "I don't want to find out during a game that he's not." k Bell replaced Roberts with pinch-runner Kimera Bartee in the first inning of Tuesday night's game because he didn't think Roberts was running full speed on the bases. On Monday, Bell went out to check with Kooerts alter he didn t appear to run at top speed to first base on a single down the leftfield line. Roberts, just off the disabled list with a hamstring injury, said Wednesday that he was "just playing smart." The utilityman said he thought he was "running at 100 percent" Wednesday. "I'm just doing everything I can to get back into the lineup," he said. Roberts has been on the disabled list twice this season, playing in 34 of 66 games. ' Bell said he would monitor Rob-, erts' running during pregame warm-ups today before deciding when he would put him back in a game. ' "J don't know if he'll play Thursday or not, and if he does, it probably won't be as a starter," Bell said. General manager Randy Smith, who signed Roberts as a free agent, said of the situation: "Buddy's the manager, and I support his decision HE MADE IT: He said it didn't hit him until he was on the mound, ready to throw his first pitch. Then right hander Denny Harriger who had come close to quitting baseball last year finally believed he had made it to the major leagues after 12 years m the minors. - "I saw the batter step into the box, and I said to myself, 'Hey, this is it this is what I worked for my whole life, Harriger said. Harriger, 28, was called up Tues- Harriger takes major step in Tiger 8-5 loss Reprinted from Tuesday's late editions. BY GENE GUIDI Jree Press Sports Writer I It didn't have the storybook end- jng that he would have liked. But ;after almost 12 years in the minor leagues, Denny Harriger was happy 4o finally pitch in the majors. , Harriger (0-1) pitched 5'A innings Jn the Tigers' 8-5 loss to the Twins at Tiger Stadium on Tuesday night, allowing six hits and four runs. .' After a nervous first inning in .which he gave up two runs, the righthander pitched four scoreless innings before the Twins scored twice in the sixth to lead for good, 4-3. i "I was very nervous at the start," Harriger said. "What I really wanted to do tonight was show this team that I'm capable of pitching at this level." Manager Buddy Bell said Harriger earned at least one and probably two more starts. "I was pleased," Bell said. "I thought the kid did quite a good job after he settled down." ; Bell wasn't as pleased with Bip Roberts, whom he yanked from the game in the first inning after Roberts didn't run at full speed going to first on a single or to second on Bobby Higginson's hit to right-center, i "I don't know if he's ready to play," Bell said of Roberts, who is coming off an injured hamstring that put him on the disabled list. "I didn't want to put him in a position that he might further injure himself, so I took him out. ' "Bip didn't give Russ (trainer Russ Miller) any indication he was hurt. He says he's fine. But he gave me every indication he wasn't." ; Roberts reacted angrily when Bell sent Kimera Bartee to pinch-run for him, slamming his helmet to the ground as he returned to the dugout Bell said he didn't have a chance to discuss the incident with Roberts, who dressed quickly and left. f Bartee led the Tigers with two hits, including his third homer, and a career-high four RBIs. , But that couldn't offset Pat Meares' two-run single in the sixth and Ron Coomer's three-run homer fii the seventh. ; It probably didn't help Harriger's nerves to sit through a one-hour, 22-minute rain delay before the game. After not walking more than two hitters in his past four starts with Toledo, the right-hander walked the. first two batters. That led to two runs one on shortstop Deivi Cruz's throwing error and the second on Marty Cordova's single to right. With two on and one out in the sixth, Bell removed Harriger, Sean Runyan faced one batter and walked him to load the bases. Tim Worrell got one out, but Meares' single gave the Twins the lead for good. day. He had a 3-2 lead against the Twins when he left in the sixth inning with two on base and one out. The bullpen allowed both runners to score, and Harriger took the loss. "I just wanted to give my team a quality start, give them a chance to win," Harriger said. "Considering how nervous I was, I was pleased with what I did." Bell said Harriger will get at least one and probably two more starts before another eval-' uation is made. "I think this first start is something I can build on," Harriger said. "Hopefully my next start will be a little bit better, and I can just keep going from there." NOTEBOOK: Third-round draft pick Tommy Marx, a left-hander from West Bloomfield and Brother Rice, signed a contract for undisclosed terms. Marx, 18, was 2-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 29 innings. He was ranked among the top 100 draft prospects by Baseball America Barring an injury or a rainout, rookie Kerry Wood is scheduled to pitch when the Chicago Cubs visit Tiger Stadium on June 25 for the first time since the 1945 World Series. On deck: Royals SERIES: Kansas City at Detroit for four games, tonight through Sunday. TV-RADIO: Tonight Fox Sports Detroit, WJR-AM (760), 7:05; Friday -Channel 50, WJR, 7:05; Saturday WJR, 7:05; Sunday -WJR, 1:05. PITCHING: Tonight LH Justin Thompson (5-6, 3.93 ERA) vs. RH Pat Rapp (5-6, 4.99); Friday RH Seth Greisinger (0-2, 4.26) vs. LH Glendon Rusch (4-8, 4.84); Saturday RH Brian Moehler (6-5, 4.03) vs. RH Tim Belcher (5-6, 3.99); Sunday RH Denny Harriger (O-l, 6.75) vs. RH Hipolito Pichardo (2-6, 5.96). To leave a message for Gene Guidi, call 1-313-222-2378. Hoe, (mms ikuM k gray Sm. Mofc Tut. Wed Tfci. frt I SA U 15 16 II II 19 "ti' KC2, Dat3, m.8, Ma, KC KC KC Det.0 m.2 Da. 5 inc. 7.05 7:05 7.05. 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