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Jim Leyland’s high hopes for Don Kelly

Sep 4, 2012, 5:55 PM EDT

Don Kelly AP

.173-hitting Don Kelly is playing fist base and batting sixth for the Tigers on Tuesday night, and manager Jim Leyland is way optimistic:

“I’m hoping for Donnie Kelly to maybe get one hit and one RBI,” Leyland said. “If he does that, I’ll be thrilled.”

Of course, it would be bucking the odds a bit. Kelly has started 159 games as a big leaguer and had a hit and an RBI in 39 of them, which works out to 24.5 percent of the time.

Tonight’s start will be Kelly’s first since he rejoined the Tigers over the weekend. After three years of continuous service, he was finally dropped from Detroit’s roster last month after hitting .173/.265/.240 with one homer and seven RBI in 104 at-bats this year. He’s a lifetime .230/.282/.345 hitter.

  1. mattyflex - Sep 4, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Just observing from the picture, maybe it’s because he’s the only player in Major League Baseball to wear New Balance spikes.

  2. lukejameslarson - Sep 4, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    He’s not even the only Tiger wearing New Balances…. Peep Miggy’s kicks.

  3. proudlycanadian - Sep 4, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    This is a one game gig for a reserve who is getting a rare start. Kelly needs some encouragement rather than criticism from a blogger who can’t play baseball as well as he can.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:18 AM

      Kelly had 1 hit in 2 at bats for a .500 BA in the game which was better than the .000 BA for the lead off hitter Jackson.

  4. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Sep 4, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    baloney on the non-crticism. leyland has been playing these stupid lineup games all year, and now that they’re in a divisional chase and lost to THE FREAKIN INDIANS last night he of course removes a red-hot delmon young for a minor leaguer. inexcusable. leyland has never been one to be predictable because he plays the “hunch” but i’m sick of it and want off this ride before i puke. again.

  5. historiophiliac - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    Tonight, the part of Brandon Inge will be played by Don Kelly.

  6. fastwillie39 - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Leyland loves role players like this especially those with Pennsylvania roots. Leyland played John Wehner in Fla and Pittsburgh, just intangible guys that he felt he needed to use to win. Their is a method to his madness.

  7. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    if that method is dropping two in a row at home to the nosediving tribe after a sweep of the white sox then i suppose that madness has worked. look, i understand that guys need a rest. but we have had to endure delmon young all year being a hole in the lineup, and now that he’s been tearing the cover off the ball for the last 15 games or so – he starts a minor leaguer due to righty/lefty matchups? why can’t he just ride that horse until it keels over and dies!? he’s quoted as saying he’d be “thrilled” with a hit and an RBI. DY, for all of his lack of discipline at the plate and circus-act defense, has averaged at least that over the past 3 weeks.

    you want madness? leyland has that. this team has underachieved all year long, i’m tired of watching them blow the sox away and take a series from NY, or LA just to turn around and get swept by the damned twins and royals. playing these bullcrap games with lineup cards in september is the last thing this team needs. if they don’t win a world series this year i don’t see how leyland can stay on another year.

  8. rooney24 - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Where are all those people that predicted the Tigers would run away with the Central this year and be in the running for best record? I didn’t get it at the time, and now all of those pundits have disappeared. Too many holes in the bottom of the lineup and I don’t know why everyone just assumed the rotation could repeat last year’s good numbers. You knew some guys would drop off at least a little.

  9. mazblast - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Reserves are often reserves for a reason, usually “not as good as the starters”. The job of a reserve is to be ready WHEN NEEDED. I don’t understand why a reserve is inserted into the lineup when the starter is perfectly capable of playing. Kelly is a reserve, he’s not very good, and Leyland playing him over Delmon is ridiculous when the Tigers are in the middle of a pennant race.

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