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Open Thread - Game 72: Tigers (42-29) at Braves (38-35)

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Kenny Rogers (0-0, -.--) vs. John Smoltz (8-3, 2.84), 7:35 p.m. EST

If you're late to check out your Tigers news today (and I certainly was - thanks, Mark), Mike Maroth was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon. The Tigers will receive a player to be named later in return. That's not as exciting as getting someone right away, of course, but clearing roster spots is Detroit's immediate priority.

(I'd love that player to be this guy, but that's probably dreaming. Some of the gang at Viva El Birdos seems to think it could be this guy.)

Onto tonight's game, when you originally heard that Kenny Rogers would miss six to eight weeks after surgery to remove a blood clot in his pitching shoulder, did you think the Detroit Tigers would be tied for first place in the AL Central when he came back? Just curious.

And if there was still any doubt in my own mind as to whether I should've tried to be a doctor instead of a professional typist, I think I settled any questions about my qualifications to practice medicine when I expressed my concerns that Rogers' career might have been over. Hey, it was a layman's diagnosis. I saw a 42-year-old pitcher and a surgical procedure that sounded rather serious. What can I say? I took a shot. So I won't be getting a stethoscope. That's okay; I'd just use it on my stomach while I was eating, anyway.

I don't know if we can expect too much out of Rogers tonight, after sitting out for three months. But the Braves aren't great against left-handed pitching, so this should be a good team for him to face in his first game back. The most important thing, of course, is that the Tigers will be one step closer to fielding the team they expected to have out of Spring Training.

Smoltz is probably the best starting pitcher the Tigers will face on this road trip. He's been fighting a sore shoulder, but after sitting out one turn in the rotation, he came back to hold the Indians to two runs in six innings. Actually, he's only given up more than two runs once in his last nine starts.

Short Hops:

▪▪ Check out Five Questions For Talking Chop below.

▪▪ Magglio Ordonez is featured in the latest ESPN The Magazine. You can read the article at ESPN.com.

▪▪ Outfielders Cameron Maybin and Gorkys Hernandez will play in the All-Star Futures Game on July 8. Maybin has been named to the U.S team, while Hernandez has a spot on the World team.

▪▪ Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Tiger Stadium demolition plan has been delayed.