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Morning Prowl: Thoughts on Zumaya, Porcello's Schedule, Grandy's Philanthropy, and Polanco's Bad Luck

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Jon Paul Morosi wonders if Joel Zumaya's latest injury complicates the Tigers' plans for the trade deadline. Is bullpen help more of a priority now? Ryan Strieby (17 HR at Double-A) is noted as one of Detroit's best possible trade chips.

Morosi also says that the Tigers have talked to the Orioles about Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff, but haven't gotten very far. There have also been discussions about Roy Halladay within the front office, but no official contact with the Blue Jays about making such a deal.

Detroit's starting rotation is getting a little shuffle. Rick Porcello (the Tigers' most important second-half player, according to SI.com) will now start on Tuesday against Seattle, with Armando Galarraga going on Wednesday. Originally, it was scheduled the other way around. No reason was given for the change. Perhaps the Tigers want Porcello to pitch sooner. Maybe they want him back in the third slot of the rotation.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said Zumaya "re-aggravated the stress fracture" in his right shoulder, and arthroscopic surgery is a possibility, but the medical staff doesn't yet know for certain.

With the announcement that Porcello has "15 starts left," The Detroit Tigers Weblog maps out the rookie's remaining schedule, which should take him right to the end of the season.

The question then becomes, what will Porcello's role be in the postseason if the Tigers make the playoffs? (I can't imagine he's not in the rotation if he pitches meaningful innings during the stretch run.)

Danny Knobler appears to have written the eulogy for Zumaya's career in a weekend blog post for cbssports.com, using a lot of past tense in his opening paragraphs.

Mack Avenue Tigers addresses the concern that Curtis Granderson needs to focus more on baseball (especially his hitting). Lynn Henning brought this up in a column, and Lisa Olson elaborated on the issue in a feature for Fanhouse, in which she speaks to Jim Leyland about Granderson juggling his charity work with his on-the-field duties and overextending himself.

As if the slick plays Derek Jeter made against Detroit over the weekend didn't tell you enough, Tiger Tales says the numbers confirm it: Jeter's defense has gotten better. Exercises to improve his lateral quickness and first step have paid off, and as Rod Allen noted during Saturday's broadcast, playing deeper seems to have made a difference, as well.

Zumaya's replacement in the bullpen, rookie Ryan Perry, is set to take over the seventh-inning role, along with Bobby Seay. Perry's numbers say he's improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio, but Leyland points out that minor league hitters swing at balls that major leaguers don't.

Big Al keeps it short and to the point in a memo to Dave Dombrowski at The Wayne Fontes Experience. I think everyone in Tiger Town would sign, at this point.

Driveline Mechanics linked back to a post they wrote back in April about Zumaya's delivery, and red flags that were raised over the height of his elbow when he rears back to throw and his arm trailing behind when his plant leg comes down.

What's made the difference in Brandon Lyon's improvement this season? According to Rick Knapp, Lyon started throwing a cut fastball, which he wasn't doing earlier in the year. His velocity has also increased over the past couple of months, thanks to improved mechanics.

Fangraphs tries to figure out the reason for Placido Polanco's sub-par season (.257/.315/.388), and finds that he's having bad luck with balls in play, but is also hitting more fly balls than live drives this year. The numbers favor a rebound in the second half, however.

(via KalineCountry's post on the ESPN.com Tigers message board)