Gardy remembers where he was on 9/11

Minor Leaguers honored; assessing Jackson's role; Jones on mend

September 12th, 2019

DETROIT -- Ron Gardenhire was a coach on Tom Kelly's staff with the Twins, who were in Detroit on Sept. 11, 2001. Like nearly everyone else, Gardenhire remembers that morning distinctly.

"My son [Toby] was born on Sept. 11, so Carol [Gardenhire's wife] and I were staying in Dearborn, [Mich.,] and we were still sleeping," Gardenhire said. "He calls at whatever time and we're like, 'Hey, Toby, happy birthday.' And he says, 'Have you turned the TV on?' And we're like, 'Nope.' He said, 'Maybe you should just turn the TV on.'

"Looking out the window [of the hotel], I saw one plane come flying through. Obviously, they shut everything down. We as a team, I think, stayed here a day or two, and then got five or six buses to take our team all the way back to Minnesota, stopping at truck stops along the way. It was kind of numb."

Though thunderstorms postponed Wednesday night’s Tigers-Yankees contest at Comerica Park as well as pregame ceremonies remembering the Sept. 11 attacks, the Tigers welcomed a group of local first responders on the field, including members from area fire departments, police forces and emergency medical personnel.

The Tigers and Yankees were scheduled to wear caps with a side patch ribbon recognizing the day. The caps will be for sale, with all royalties donated to the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum, the Pentagon Memorial Fund and the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Manning, Castro, Paredes earn Minor League honors

The Tigers on Wednesday named Double-A Erie right-hander Matt Manning (Detroit's No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) as their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. His SeaWolves teammate, infielder Isaac Paredes (No. 5 prospect), joined current Tigers shortstop (No. 11 prospect) in sharing Tigers Minor League Player of the Year honors.

Neither honor was a surprise. While the Tigers have used the annual awards in years past to give some overdue recognition to players who might have overachieved compared to their prospect rankings, this year's trio was just too good. That was especially true for Manning, the overall No. 26 Prospect on MLB Pipeline's Top 100.

In an Eastern League where the 21-year-old Manning was three years younger than the average player, he was the most consistently successful starter in a star-studded SeaWolves rotation, posting an 11-5 record and 2.56 ERA over 24 starts while averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings. His 148 strikeouts ranked second in the league, while his 0.98 WHIP tied for the league's lowest.

Like Manning, Paredes was an Eastern League All-Star. He ranked third among Eastern League hitters with a .282 average (135-for-478) to go with 23 doubles, 13 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .784 OPS at Erie this season. More impressive was his plate discipline for a 20-year-old infielder; not only did he finish with more than twice as many hits (135) as strikeouts (61), he finished with nearly as many walks (57) as strikeouts. He'll continue his development at the Arizona Fall League.

Castro was a Triple-A All-Star before earning his first callup to Detroit in late August. The 22-year-old shortstop batted .301 (140-for-465) in 119 games with the Toledo Mud Hens with 28 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs, 62 RBIs and an .833 OPS. His .383 average (31-for-81) in August included five home runs and 17 RBIs in 20 games.

Could Jackson move into bullpen?

's struggles over his last five starts, including 26 earned runs on 36 hits over 19 1/3 innings, have left the Tigers needing long relievers to cover innings in two of his last three outings, including four innings from Tyler Alexander in Tuesday night's 12-11 comeback win over the Yankees. Could Alexander end up sending Jackson to the bullpen?

Gardenhire didn't rule it out, saying he wants to talk with his staff as well as Jackson about what they're thinking.

"I think you have to give him a day here to regroup," Gardenhire said. "Then I have to talk to [pitching coach Rick Anderson] about it, the general manager [Al Avila] about it, so there's a lot of avenues you go through before you start putting that into play. And it's the end of the season."

Jones feeling good after fractured left wrist

Center fielder was back at Comerica Park for his first time since his season-ending left wrist fracture a month ago. Jones had a soft cast on it, but he expects to be ready to do his normal offseason routine starting next month.

"I'm going to work out like I always do and get stronger, ready to go," he said.

Despite a season ended early by a hit-by-pitch, Jones feels good about the way his season unfolded. His .740 OPS was a 110-point jump from his previous career best, while he tied his career high with 11 home runs despite 134 fewer plate appearances than last year.

"I feel really good about what I did as far as hitting," Jones said. "I know I struggled early on, but once I made the adjustment, I felt really good in the box and comfortable. I was having fun playing, and I'm just going to keep it up this offseason and get better at that."