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 Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker

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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Wed Apr 14, 2010 1:19 pm

Dunno. I'm glad he's doing better. But he's still not getting it done like he should.
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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:09 am

Laird knows Willis will find groove
Tigers' catcher likes velocity and movement from veteran lefty

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

04/14/10 9:29 PM ET


  • Damon reaches RBI milestone
  • Upcoming road swing to test Tigers
  • Leyland defends handling of Verlander


DETROIT -- If there's a light at the end of the tunnel for Dontrelle Willis, Gerald Laird sees it.

He's the one who has been catching Willis every five or six days, calling for the pitches, watching Willis battle from up close. He's also the one who can feel the velocity on Willis' fastball popping his mitt before he looks up at the radar-gun reading on the scoreboard.

"You can see sometimes he'll get in a groove, throw four or five strikes in a row, then he'll let one go," Laird said Wednesday morning.


Willis did that twice in a row on Tuesday, following up a 94 mph fastball with one that hit 95 on the Comerica Park radar gun. MLB.com's Gameday application seconded the reading. That was in the opening inning as he tried to escape the jam he created with two walks and a single.

Laird doesn't know why Willis has gotten off to slow starts in both of his outings this season, but believes it takes him a while to find a comfort zone and build his confidence. Once Willis finds it, though, Laird sees the makings of an effective pitcher, and felt his ability to get through five innings after a 32-pitch first was a positive.

Manager Jim Leyland, too, has noticed Willis looking for the strike zone in his first inning.

"I think he's feeling his way a little bit at times," Leyland said Tuesday, "and then, when they hit one, he seems to pick it up a little bit. It's hard to know what somebody's thinking, really, but watching it, it looks like a little tentative to start with, and then as the game goes on, he gets a little bit better at it."

The potential is in the pitches. He has enough movement on his fastball, Laird said, that Willis can go back to it time and again, sinking it or running it in or out. He can get opponents to mishit the ball

The key, of course, is that he has to get that movement working for him for strikes and get ahead in the count.

"He's definitely got some of the most movement I've seen that I've caught," Laird said.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:47 am

Willis dealing with cracked fingernail
Tigers lefty says issue won't cost him any starts

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

04/20/10 11:06 PM ET

ANAHEIM -- Dontrelle Willis showed Tuesday the cracked fingernail he has been battling on his left middle finger for the past couple starts, but he stated his resolve that it isn't going to cost him any starts.

"It's been something that would come and go since I made it to the big leagues, but this is the worst it's ever been for me," Willis said. "But you have to grind it out and find a way to stay on the mound for your team."

It's been a nagging injury, he said, since his first start of the season. He cracked it open during his first start of the year at Kansas City, and he has been performing maintenance on it ever since. He took Tuesday off of throwing a baseball to allow it to heal a little bit, but simply throwing at all eventually brings it back.

In the case of Monday's start, it became an issue an inning or two into the game. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said they were working on controlling the pain between innings. Manager Jim Leyland said he was aware of it, but he wasn't going to make a move unless Willis told him he couldn't pitch.

That isn't going to happen unless it gets a lot worse. If anything, Willis joked, his command got better after it began to tear open again.

"You just do the best you can," Willis said. "I just don't want my nail ripping totally off. It's not one of those things where you can just buy another nail."


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:19 pm

D-Train sends feel-good vibes with first win
Willis outduels Pavano to lead Tigers to shutout victory

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

04/29/10 6:01 PM ET

Box >

DETROIT -- Dontrelle Willis tries to block out the crowd noise when he's trying to pitch. He couldn't ignore the reception he got on his way off the mound on Thursday if he tried.

Willis couldn't get a hug from fans like he did from his manager, Jim Leyland, after Thursday's 3-0 win over the Twins, but even as he stewed over his leadoff walk to Jason Kubel in the seventh, he could feel the fans' support on his way to the dugout. The lefty was looking down, but he tipped his cap as the crowd stood to applaud him.

It wasn't just the fans positioned behind the Tigers' dugout. It was all around the ballpark.

"Oh boy," Leyland said afterwards, recalling the moment.

Not long ago, it might've been tough to imagine Willis getting that kind of appreciation from 25 people in Detroit, let alone a crowd of more than 25,000. He had a warm reception in Spring Training, but this is different.


In a city that appreciates a good comeback story, Willis has the chance to be a big one. His manager and teammates hope that his first win of the season is just the start of a good run.

"I think it all comes full circle," Willis said later. "I think if I wasn't the person I am and someone who really truly works hard and really appreciates everything -- and I think people from the outside see that -- I think you wouldn't get that. I firmly believe it. I was upset because I walked a guy, but I'm really thankful."

His coaches and teammates have seen it from the moment he came to Spring Training in early January. The comeback isn't anywhere near complete, the Tigers caution, but Thursday was a big step.

"Everybody's pulling for him," Leyland said. "I don't think there's any question. And he's an interesting guy when he's doing good. I think everybody was suffering with him some. But we just have to build on it."

Willis' building block ended up being a huge step for the Tigers. On a day when they desperately needed innings from their starter to help rest an overworked bullpen and a stingy start to help counter the all-too-familiar mastery from old nemesis Carl Pavano, the Tigers got more than they could've asked from Willis to start, and they were able to use their late-inning relief corps as they wanted rather than as needed.

Willis' first victory since May 19 of last year sent the Twins to their first series loss since early last September. And what could've easily ended up as a Minnesota series sweep and a continuation of its division dominance resulted in a big boost for Detroit.

That gave Willis just as much of a smile as the reception.

"I'm finally in a role where I think my teammates believe in me and they need me," Willis said. "When teammates believe in you and say they need you, it's really gratifying. It makes you work a little bit harder. You want to take a little bit longer in that bullpen [session]. It makes you want to lift weights a little longer. You want to run a little longer, because you know you're needed. In a situation right now where our best guys are struggling, it's vital for us in the back of the rotation to pitch quality [starts]."

Though Willis (1-1) has had some solid outings in his return from essentially two lost seasons as a Tiger, he hadn't gotten a victory to go with it, thanks partly to two low-scoring duels in which he picked up a no-decision and a defeat. More important than wins, Leyland said before the game, was Willis pitching effectively enough to give Detroit a chance.

It wasn't simply a matter of Willis pounding the strike zone against hitters who were going to wait him out. The Twins took that approach for the first few hitters, but then began swinging at his first pitches if they felt they could hit it.

He threw not only strikes, but some quality strikes. He threw fastballs with enough movement that Twins hitters struggled to hit them with the barrel of the bat. They didn't have Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau in the lineup, the first time for that since May 5, 2006, but they had enough offensive catalysts to make Willis pay for mistakes.

Building on his last start against the Angels a week and a half ago, Willis continued to change speeds effectively once he got ahead in the count. He led off the game by inducing a swing and a miss from Denard Span on a 1-2 slider, then in the third, Willis came back with a changeup to send Span down swinging to start an inning-ending double play, with Luke Hughes, who was trying to steal second, caught in a rundown at first.

His other four strikeouts were called third strikes, spotting fastballs on the outside corner.

Willis had a scoreless outing on his Detroit resume already; his other Tigers win featured six-plus scoreless against the Rangers. Not since 2006 had he pitched at least six scoreless with at least six strikeouts.

"I think the key is that he's keeping the ball down pretty good, he's changing speeds on the ball and it's moving," Leyland said. "I was really tickled with his control today."

Leyland wasn't the only one. To a player, one teammate after another did a little hop to congratulate Willis in the postgame line on the field. Even Pavano, Willis' teammate on the 2003 World Series champion Marlins, appreciated it.

"I saw the same kid that I won a World Series with in 2003 and watched dominate the National League and win Rookie of the Year [Award], the same kid that I see every time I come to this park and say hi to," Pavano said. "He's a great person. He's going to put it together. He's on his way. He looked really good out there. He's the opposing pitcher, but he did. He's going to turn it around."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:56 pm

Maybe re-sign him next year? To certainly a smaller contract. But he's getting back on track.
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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Wed May 12, 2010 6:20 pm

Willis returns, but sinus issue persists

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/12/10 12:46 PM ET

DETROIT -- Just because Dontrelle Willis rejoined the Tigers on Wednesday doesn't mean he returned healthy enough to pitch. The look on his face told that much.

Willis is back after being kept home the past couple days with what he characterized as a severe sinus infection, and said he would try to get himself in shape to where he's available out of the bullpen if needed. However, his face was still showing the effects of the illness, and he was still running a fever, though it wasn't nearly the 102-degree temperature he had at one point Monday. He had several bottles of sports drink at his locker.

Willis hasn't been able to eat solid food for a couple days, he said.

"It has to be a sinus thing," Willis said Wednesday morning, "because I don't get sick."

Manager Jim Leyland said he wouldn't consider Willis at this stage even in an emergency. If he was realistically available, Leyland said, they wouldn't have made the roster move to call up Alfredo Figaro from Triple-A Toledo.

Willis said he started feeling sick during the day on Sunday in Cleveland and then felt terrible on the flight home. Fortunately for the Tigers, nobody else on the team has fallen ill so far. Willis had trouble sleeping Sunday night and called the medical staff first thing Monday morning.

An examination from Dr. Michael Workings determined he had neither the health nor the energy level to start Monday night, leading to a bullpen start for left-hander Brad Thomas.

Willis' spot in the rotation comes back up on Saturday, and it's expected he'll make that start. It's vitally important for the Tigers that he make that start; the Tigers already have to fill a starting spot Sunday, since they will not go with Rick Porcello on short rest.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Sun May 30, 2010 3:50 am

Dontrelle designated
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on May 29, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Dontrelle Willis' Tigers tenure is over. The Tigers announced Saturday they are designating his contract for assignment to make room for Max Scherzer on the 25-man roster in time for Scherzer's scheduled start Sunday.

From there, the Tigers will technically have 10 days to try to trade Willis or see if another team claims Willis on waivers. Neither option seems likely. With Willis all but certain to decline a minor league assignment, this essentially means the end of a pairing that went perplexingly bad from the start in 2008 and never saw Willis return to his Florida form.

"It never worked out the way we would've liked it to work out," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in announcing the move. "I don't think I really need to say any more than that. At the time, we thought we were getting a guy who would come in and be a very solid big league pitcher, and it didn't work out for us. Those things happen at times. You're never happy when they do. He's put forward the effort. We know we've dealt with a lot of issues with him. It's unfortunate."

Willis went 2-8 with a 6.86 ERA over the last three years with the Tigers, covering 24 games, 22 of them starts. He missed stretches over the previous two seasons to the disabled list -- a knee injury in 2008, then what was termed as anxiety disorder last year -- but at the root, his Tigers tenure came down to a seemingly endless battle with finding the strike zone consistently.

The 28-year-old became one of baseball's more encouraging comeback stories this spring when he won a job in the Opening Day rotation, beating out Nate Robertson and Armando Galarraga among others. He threw quality outings in three of his first four starts, including six scoreless innings with six strikeouts against the Twins in a big AL Central battle April 29 at Comerica Park.

For the season, went 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in eight starts and a relief appearance, but it was his May struggles -- 0-1 record, 6.52 ERA, 23 hits and 17 walks over 19 1/3 innings -- that drew the Tigers to stick with the recently-recalled Galarraga in the rotation over Willis. He had solid stretches in a couple of those May performances, retiring 11 of the first 12 Dodgers he faced May 21 in Los Angeles, but had similarly rough stretches where he battled walks.

"I think probably the uncertainly is [a factor]," manager Jim Leyland said. "Not knowing what you were going to get was probably a key factor. I'll leave it at that, because he gave a great effort and he was a great teammate. It's sad, really."

His performance Friday night against the A's, giving up three runs on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts, prompted a meeting among club officials Saturday afternoon.

"It's difficult," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "For us and for me, because we had a meeting with the staff members today, it's difficult, because he's worked hard to try to overcome a lot. He's made some strides, it became apparent, this year. For us, we just weren't seeing the same progress we saw in the spring. At times you see, but not on a consistent basis."

This team, a disabled list stint was not an option. The Tigers apparently had no such discussions with either Willis or his agent, Matt Sosnick, before they informed Willis of the move Saturday night.

For now, Willis will be in roster limbo, but could well be headed for a release. To claim Willis on waivers would involve taking on the rest of his contract. He's scheduled to make $12 million this season, the final year of the three-year, $29 million contract he signed with the Tigers after they acquired him from Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade.

Even with the Tigers picking up the rest of that money, a little more than $8 million, it would appear unlikely another team would give up a prospect for him in the way the Tigers were able to acquire a reliever for Nate Robertson at the end of Spring Training.

With Willis all but certain to decline a minor league assignment, as is his right, he could become a free agent in a week and a half, which would allow him to sign with another team for the Major League minimum and have the Tigers pick up the rest of his salary. More important for him, he'll get a fresh start in a new organization.

"I definitely have seen some strides forward from last year to this year," catcher Gerald Laird. "He's close. He's going to bounce back and get with another club, and he's going to get right. It's tough to see a guy leave like that. But they felt like the decision needed to be made to better the ballclub, and they did it. It's one of those things you hate to see, but it's part of the game and we all understand that. He does, too.

"His career is far from over. You are going to see him back somewhere."


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Mon May 31, 2010 12:37 am

Agent: Dontrelle could use a fresh start
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on May 30, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Just got off the phone with Dontrelle Willis' agent, Matt Sosnick, who will be waiting with his client for the next week and a half or so to see if Willis is going to be traded -- and they do anticipate there being some interest -- or become a free agent who can pick and choose his club. Whatever happens, they're feeling like a change of scenery should do him some good.

"On Dontrelle's end, I think it's going to be a relief getting a fresh start," Sosnick said Sunday night. "If anything's going to get him back, it's going to be a fresh start."

In that sense, Sosnick said, the move to designate Willis for assignment this weekend "probably played out this way at a good time."

By no means was Sosnick criticizing the Tigers by saying his client needed to move on. Sosnick had complements for the Tigers and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, saying they did everything they could to try to set up a support network around the left-hander. But in the end, the struggles of the last two seasons just lingered over Willis' 2010 campaign, and there was nothing either side could do about it.

"Wherever [Willis] goes next," Sosnick said, "I think he hopes he can be successful without him being the guy that has all these issues as opposed to being [another pitcher]. His playing games in Detroit was kind of secondary to figuring out why he wasn't the same guy who won the rookie of the year [in 2003]. ...

"Every time he pitched well, it was [a story of] the guy who was pitching well in spite of all the stuff he was dealing with. That's not to say it was anybody's fault, because it wasn't."

That history put a huge amount of pressure on Dontrelle -- not the pressure of pitching, but what he was associated with in Detroit, between the past couple years and the contract.

"I'd say he got an incredibly fair shot in Detroit," Sosnick said. "They signed him to an incredibly good contract. Dontrelle feels terrible he didn't give the team what they thought they were getting. It's Dontrelle who had to go through it, but after the contract got signed, the guy who was the next most important person Dontrelle to pitch well was Dombrowski."

While it certainly would benefit Willis to become a free agent and pick his next club, it could be a positive if the Tigers could get something in return for Willis in a trade.

In the end, no hard feelings. But it was a situation that, after the last couple years, proved impossible to overcome. Willis' body language coming off the mound didn't have the same energy his last few starts that he had in Spring Training. He was not happy, even when he would have a good inning or a good stretch.

"It was a really negative vibe for him," Sosnick said. "It's nothing that's Detroit fault. It was a bad mesh."

For now, Willis is going to wait out his situation and try to continue to throw off a mound to try to stay fresh. Sosnick did not rule out the possibility that Willis would be willing to start out in the minor leagues for a little bit to get ready, but he feels like Willis can stay ready to pitch in the big leagues. Sosnick did not get into teams or locations, though it's worth noting that Willis just bought a home in Arizona.

Like many, Sosnick believes his client can turn it around with a better situation.

"I really do feel like he's going to come back and be really good," Sosnick said.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:08 pm

__
_Billy Buckner __ Dontrelle Willis

Tigers get Buckner from D-backs for Willis
Right-hander will report to Detroit's Triple-A Toledo affiliate

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

06/01/10 8:47 PM ET

DETROIT -- Dontrelle Willis has a new home -- coincidentally, where the left-hander just bought a new home. The Tigers sent him to the D-backs on Tuesday night in exchange for right-hander Billy Buckner.

Much like the Nate Robertson trade to Florida at the end of Spring Training, the deal nets the Tigers something for a pitcher who was knocked out of Detroit's rotation. The Tigers designated Willis for assignment Sunday morning.

Detroit had 10 days to either trade Willis or release him, given that Willis wasn't going to accept an assignment to the Minor Leagues. Not only did the Tigers need fewer than 72 hours to move him, they found interest from several teams in the National League, where Willis won Rookie of the Year honors in 2003 and was a 22-game winner for Florida in '05.

"We talked with a couple of clubs about him," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Tuesday in announcing the deal. "This is a good fit for him. I know he just bought a home in Arizona. I hope it works out very well for him. The other thing is, by moving him quickly, he's in a position where he doesn't have any downtime as far as not being able to pitch, so he's ready to step in."

Willis threw a side session at Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday under the watch of Mud Hens pitching coach A.J. Sager. The Tigers allowed him to work out there to keep his arm fresh, since he hadn't thrown since his final Detroit start Friday night.

The Tigers are expected to pick up nearly all of the $8.1 million salary Willis still has coming this season, the last year of the three-year, $29 million contract Willis signed soon after joining the Tigers in December 2007. The prorated minimum salary the D-backs would be obligated to pay works out to around $266,000.

That would've been the case, however, had the Tigers released him. In this case, they at least received a player for their trouble.

Buckner -- no relation to former big league first baseman Bill Buckner -- was a second-round pick of the Royals in 2004 and went to Arizona in the trade that sent Alberto Callaspo to Kansas City. He went into the year as the favorite for the fifth-starter's job in Arizona, but as in previous years, struggled with big league hitters. He went 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA at Triple-A Reno this year before being recalled two weeks ago. He has lost all three of his starts with the D-backs this year, giving up 26 hits over 13 innings -- including four home runs.

"He's been an up-and-down guy between Triple-A and the big leagues," Dombrowski said. "He's had three starts at the big league level this year. They have not been good. But he did very well for them at Triple-A. He's a guy that gives us some protection. He can start or relieve."

He'll immediately slot in at Triple-A Toledo, where the Mud Hens were short a pitcher after Armando Galarraga was recalled to Detroit.

The 28-year-old Buckner was caught by surprise by the deal.

"Surprise," Buckner told reporters, "but I mean, I know this team is looking to make a lot of changes and this is one of them. I will just continue to work. Baseball goes on and so will I. It's a good thing, I guess."

It's a better situation for Willis, who gets the fresh start he needed after three rough seasons in Detroit. Willis' agent, Matt Sosnick, told MLB.com on Sunday night that his client could benefit from a change of scenery. Dombrowski, who spoke with Willis on Tuesday, agreed.

Willis went 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in eight starts and a relief appearance for the Tigers, walking 29 batters and striking out 33 over 43 1/3 innings. He made one start against the NL this year, giving up four runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on May 21.

"It's a situation that works great for him," Dombrowski said. "I think that, all in all, it's been a tough situation for him on the field, but everybody's tried."

Willis could still make one more start in Detroit. The D-backs come to town for a three-game Interleague series from June 18-20 at Comerica Park.

"I wish him well all the other times," Dombrowski said, "but I hope we beat him."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:38 pm



D-Train's first Arizona stop: Victory lane
Willis throws six shutout innings to win his debut with D-backs

By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com

06/06/10 1:22 AM ET

Box >

PHOENIX -- The National League does suit Dontrelle Willis.

Pitching six shutout innings, Willis beat the Colorado Rockies almost single-handedly, 4-3, in front of 28,138 at Chase Field on Saturday. Almost single-handedly. That's because Ryan Roberts, who pinch-hit for him in the sixth and was Friday's walk-off hero, and Kelly Johnson doubled home three runs that proved crucial in Arizona's franchise-tying sixth straight one-run game.

"It's a good stepping stone," said Willis, who also singled and scored the D-backs' first run in his return to the NL after spending parts of three seasons in the AL. "We just have to keep building off the momentum and go from there."

With a modest two-game winning streak, which no player has affected as much as Roberts, following their 10-game slide, the D-backs secured a series victory -- their first since taking two of three from Toronto on May 21 and 22 -- before they even face you know who in Sunday's series finale: Ubaldo Jimenez (10-1, 0.78 ERA, who will attempt to beat Arizona for the third time this season.

Willis (1-0), who made eight starts for the Detroit Tigers before he was traded for Billy Buckner on Tuesday, wasn't exactly perfect on the mound. He walked at least one batter in each of his first four innings, and he and battery mate Chris Snyder allowed four stolen bases.

Willis did pitch around his troubles, though. With runners on first and third and two outs in the fifth inning -- the fourth of five consecutive frames that Willis allowed a Rockie to advance into scoring position -- he struck out Brad Hawpe on a high heater. The lefty's many-moving-parts pitching motion took him to the ground, and he slapped at it in celebration. (He also slapped the mound after giving up a sixth-inning double to Chris Iannetta, the ninth of 12 Rockies left stranded for the game; Colorado went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.)

When asked, "What does that say about Dontrelle when the chips are down?" Willis said: "That they're lining out. That's a good thing. I'll take it however I get it."

Said manager A.J. Hinch of Willis' 106-pitch effort: "With all his imperfections and how he battles himself, to watch a guy go out and compete and leave it all on the line is a good sight to see. He made a nice first impression."

At the moment, Willis doesn't appear to have much competition for the rotation's fifth spot. Kris Benson, who made three starts before straining his right shoulder, struggled in his third rehab start Friday night, yielding eight earned runs in 1 1/3 innings for Triple-A Reno. So, despite the fact that Willis' command issues appear unsolved, he can now be called D-Train No. 5.

"That's all part of his effectiveness -- he's effectively wild as they would say and isn't going to give in," Hinch said. "I didn't think [Colorado's] lefties looked entirely comfortable against him."

After Willis' exit Saturday, Carlos Rosa allowed two runs on sacrifice flies in the seventh before Aaron Heilman inherited his bases-loaded predicament and walked in a third Rockies run with two outs. Heilman righted himself with a 1-2-3 eighth, paving the way for closer Chad Qualls to notch his 10th save.

Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-4), whose May 25 six-inning performance kicked off Arizona's 10-game skid, gave up a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but it wasn't entirely his fault. Following Willis' leadoff single through the infield -- it was his first hit in 979 days, since he was a Florida Marlin in 2007 -- Willis would have been forced out at second base on Johnson's grounder to first base, but Jason Giambi's throw to second sailed into left field. Two batters later, when Stephen Drew singled to left field, D-backs third-base coach Bo Porter didn't hesitate sending Willis home from second. Willis just beat the throw by swiping his left hand over home plate.

"The plate ended up moving backwards as I got closer," Willis joked. "A refrigerator got on my back toward the end. ... I don't know how to slide feet first."

Andrew Pentis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:44 am

Thanks Dontrelle. For sucking here till we were forced to put you somewhere you'd perform. Niiiiiice going.
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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:13 pm

gdennis59 wrote:
Thanks Dontrelle. For sucking here till we were forced to put you somewhere you'd perform. Niiiiiice going.


And to think we are still paying him and will have to face him this week! He better stink that day!


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:55 pm

Willis, Jackson set to face former teammates

By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com

06/17/10 7:20 PM ET

BOSTON -- If you want a catchy name for this weekend's Interleague series between the D-backs and Tigers, how about "Reunion Weekend?"

The D-backs will throw former Tigers Dontrelle Willis and Edwin Jackson in the first two games, while Detroit will send former Arizona hurler Max Scherzer in Sunday's finale.

"We're going to ride the ex-team factor and try to use it to our advantage," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said with a smile.

Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts for the Tigers last year before being dealt to Arizona during the Winter Meetings in a three-team trade that saw Scherzer go from the D-backs to Tigers and Ian Kennedy go from the Yankees to the D-backs. Kennedy will start Sunday against Scherzer.

From the sound of it, Saturday's start will not have any added importance for Jackson.

"I have good memories everywhere I played, but they're memories," said Jackson, who is 3-6 with a 5.18 ERA this year. "I'm with a new team, it's a new start. Sometimes the past is the past, and you have to keep moving with the present."

Willis, on the other hand, is only a few weeks removed from his time in Detroit. The left-hander was acquired by the D-backs on June 1 after being designated for assignment by the Tigers.

"I'm excited that I get a chance to play, but as far as playing against them, it's just another game for me," Willis said. "I haven't played in nine days, so I'm just happy to be in the lineup."

Willis, who was pushed back in the rotation due to Monday's off-day, has made two starts for the D-backs and is 1-0 with 1.80 ERA. He does, however, have 10 walks and five strikeouts in 10 innings.

The veteran was asked if his familiarity with the Detroit hitters would be an advantage.

"Yeah, if you can execute," Willis said. "You can know everybody's strengths, but if you're not able to execute, then it just goes out the door. So I just want to go out there and compete and give us a really good chance to win the ballgame."


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:01 pm

D-backs designate Willis for assignment
Lefty Norberto recalled in Dipoto's first move as interim GM

By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com

07/04/10 3:49 PM ET

PHOENIX -- The D-Train departed Phoenix on Sunday morning without so much as a whistle.

In his first move as Arizona's interim general manager, Jerry Dipoto announced that he had designated starter-turned-reliever Dontrelle Willis for assignment prior to the series finale with the Dodgers, ending a monthlong attempt at reviving the eccentric lefty's career. The D-backs have 10 days to trade or release Willis, who also has the option of accepting a Minor League assignment within the organization.

Willis, who left Chase Field's home clubhouse without speaking to reporters, was acquired from Detroit in exchange for Billy Buckner on June 1. He went 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA here, walking 27 batters in 22 1/3 innings.

"I've seen Dontrelle pitch since he was a rookie like a lot of us have, and he's always had a very unique delivery, so it's almost impossible to say what he's doing in his delivery that would cause those control issues," said Dipoto, who added that Willis' fragile fingernail on his left middle finger didn't warrant a trip to the 15-day disabled list. "Whether it's mechanical, I can't tell you, but only he can sort that out."

After five uneven starts, he was relegated to the bullpen by recently dismissed manager A.J. Hinch. Willis made his first appearance as a reliever in Saturday's 14-1 loss to Los Angeles, allowing three runs and plunking Casey Blake in the sixth inning.

"The guy has had a wonderful career," Dipoto said of Willis' impressive Major League beginnings with the Florida Marlins. "We gave him this opportunity in the effort to try to resurrect him ... and just catch lightning in a bottle. After talking to him [Sunday morning], it didn't particularly work this time around."

"We all respect Dontrelle," interim manager Kirk Gibson added. "He's a max-effort guy. He's been really good [in the clubhouse]."

Jordan Norberto was recalled to assume Willis' 25-man roster spot. Norberto, the D-backs' first true lefty since he was optioned to Triple-A Reno on April 21, was available to pitch Sunday, one day after Gibson called on five of his seven relievers to pitch.

Norberto, 23, made the big league club for the first time out of Spring Training but allowed three runs in three innings before being sent down. The lefty, who totes a 90-plus mph fastball, curveball and changeup, was told to throw more strikes.

"I've been working on my control," said Norberto, who went 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA for the Aces but did issue 19 free passes in 21 appearances. "The first time I got here I wasn't ready. But I'm ready to go [now], and I'm going to keep working hard."

Norberto wasn't given any guarantees as to how he would he utilized in his second big league go-around.

"We'll have to try to put him in good situations, yet he may find himself in one that's not so favorable," Gibson said. "We'll check him out today. He's confident. I know he's worked hard."

Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:27 am

Last Updated: July 16. 2010 1:02AM
Giants sign former Tiger Willis to minor league deal
Detroit News wire services

The Giants have signed former 20-game winner Dontrelle Willis to a minor league contract.

The team announced the deal with the Bay Area native Thursday. Willis had been designated for assignment by Arizona earlier this month. In six games with Arizona, Willis was 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA and 27 walks in 22 1/3 innings.

Willis was traded from Detroit to Arizona in June. The Tigers are still paying the bulk of his $12 million salary.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100716/SPORTS0104/7160342/1129/Tigers-are-confident-they-ll-avoid-collapse/Giants-sign-former-Tiger-Willis-to-minor-league-deal#ixzz0twSL6mkg


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:47 pm

Willis signs Minor League contract with RedsBy Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com | 11/22/10 5:30 PM ESTStill hoping for another shot at being a productive pitcher in the big leagues, Dontrelle Willis signed a Minor League contract with the Reds on Monday.Willis' deal includes an invitation to Spring Training, and because of the depth of Cincinnati's starting rotation, he's going to try to pitch out of the bullpen."He knows that he needs to rebuild his value," said Willis' agent, Matt Sosnick. "He's probably going to pitch in relief, and I think he's comfortable with that."With an awkward delivery and a live arm, Willis was one of the top young left-handers in the game when he arrived in the big leagues with the Marlins in 2003. But his career spiraled shortly thereafter, especially after being traded to the Tigers along with Miguel Cabrera in the 2007 offseason.From 2003-06, Willis went a combined 58-39 with a 3.44 ERA and averaged 32 starts per year. But from 2007-10, he went 13-24 with a 5.81 ERA while averaging just 16 starts a year and striking out only 22 more batters than he walked.In December 2007, Willis was given a three-year, $29 million contract, but the final year of that deal proved to be the tipping point.That season, the 28-year-old was designated for assignment by the Tigers on May 30, dealt to the D-backs for Billy Buckner two days later, released by Arizona on July 6 and signed by the Giants to a Minor League contract on July 14.With the Tigers and D-backs, Willis posted a 5.62 ERA while walking 56 and striking out 47 in 15 games (13 starts). Willis then made just eight relief appearances for the Giants' rookie-level and Triple-A affiliates, putting up a 6.14 ERA with five walks in 7 1/3 innings.In three career relief appearances in the Majors, Willis has given up six earned runs in three innings (an 18.00 ERA).Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Gonzo and 'The Show'. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:36 pm

Reds reassign Willis, Hermida to Minors
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com | 03/27/11 4:13 PM ET

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds made two more cuts on Sunday and their final 25-man roster got a little closer to taking shape.

Left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis and outfielder Jeremy Hermida were re-assigned to the Minor League camp. Both were in Spring Training as non-roster players.

In early portion of the Cactus League schedule, Willis emerged as a strong bet to make the Reds' bullpen and possibly reboot his stalled big league career. But he struggled to throw strikes in some of his more recent outings and posted a 9.31 ERA in seven games.

Willis, a former 22-game winner as a starter for the Marlins, was expected to report to Triple-A Louisville.

"Dontrelle was real close to making it until 10 days to two weeks ago, when he regressed a little bit," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Plus, we've got to stretch him out to be a potential starter the way things are."

Hermida batted .342 with three home runs in 22 games during a solid camp. There is a chance that he will explore other opportunities.

"It was tough telling Hermida, because he was having a good spring," Baker said. "Hermida is going to see if there's any big league options out there for him, which Walt [Jocketty] promised his agent [he could do]. If there's a big league deal out there, we're not going to stand in the way."

The Reds' spring roster is down to 28 healthy players. The remaining battles involve Juan Francisco and Fred Lewis for the final bench spot and Matt Maloney, Logan Ondrusek, Jared Burton and Jose Arredondo for the last two bullpen jobs.

With 13 pitchers remaining in camp, only one more has to go for the Reds to get to their desired 12-man staff. With Arredondo still trying to return from missing last season because of Tommy John surgery, it's possible he could begin the year on the disabled list.


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PostSubject: Re: Dontrelle Willis Career Tracker   Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:12 pm

Phillies agree to one-year deal with Willis
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com | 12/13/11 11:22 AM EST

PHILADELPHIA -- If Jimmy Rollins re-signs with the Phillies, he could have an old neighborhood friend on the 25-man roster.

The Phils have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with left-hander Dontrelle Willis, a source said on Tuesday, confirming an ESPN.com report. The source said the deal is pending a physical and is worth less than $1 million, plus incentives. Willis went 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts last season with the Reds. The Phillies did not confirm the report.

Willis could fill a variety of roles for Philadelphia. He could compete for a spot in the rotation, although a spot in the bullpen seems much more likely. If everybody is healthy, the Phillies' rotation includes Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Vance Worley, with Kyle Kendrick in the mix. In the bullpen, Willis could be a swingman or possibly a left-handed specialist. The Phils have been looking for a veteran left-hander in the bullpen.

Willis won the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year Award and finished second in the 2005 NL Cy Young Award voting, but started to battle serious control problems the following season and hasn't been the same pitcher since. But Willis had impressive splits against lefties last season. They hit just .127/.169/.200 in 55 at-bats against him, making a role as a left-handed specialist more realistic.

Willis, 29, attended Encinal High School in Alameda, Calif., which Rollins also attended. Their families know one another well.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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