Inside Pitch: Polanco Done for Year?

It wasn't the best way to end a series, but the Tigers had just taken two of three from Baltimore, and could enjoy their first series won in a month. That was, until shortly after the game Placido Polanco announced to the media that he was done for the season.

INSIDE PITCH
What does Placido Polanco know that nobody else does?

Polanco, possibly despondent over having a sore shoulder following a Saturday batting practice session, told media members Sunday after the Tigers' 12-8, 10-inning loss to Baltimore that he was "done for the season and maybe spring training."

The second baseman did not elaborate, and Detroit club officials still say he's officially listed as day-to-day.

The Tigers have been expecting Polanco to return and possibly steady their declining offense.

Taking two of three from Baltimore during the weekend marked the first time Detroit had won a series since Polanco separated his left shoulder making a diving catch in Boston in early August. He hit second in Detroit's lineup most of the season, but manager Jim Leyland praised him for all the things he does that don't show up in a box score.

Polanco took batting practice for the first time this weekend and soreness was to be expected the next day, which happened. He reported himself at "65 percent" following his second session.

The original diagnosis called for Polanco to be out somewhere between a month and six weeks. Tuesday marks the start of the fifth week he has been out of action.

Leyland has been playing Omar Infante at second base most of the time because he's been hitting .290, but Neifi Perez, whom Leyland feels is the better defensive player, gets the call on occasion.

REPLAY: Their usually reliable pitching failed the Tigers on Sunday.

Miguel Tejada hit a tiebreaking single to trigger a four-run 10th inning that gave the Orioles a 12-8 victory over Detroit. The loss shaved Detroit's lead over Minnesota in the AL Central to just one game.

The Tigers open a three-game series Monday against the third-place White Sox in Chicago. Brian Roberts led off the 10th with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Tejada's hit. The Orioles added three more runs off Jason Grilli (2-3). Chris Ray (2-3) pitched 2 1/3 innings and earned the win after blowing his fifth save in 36 opportunities, serving up a score-tying two-run home run to Sean Casey on his second pitch in the eighth.

Chris Gomez, who had four hits, Nick Markakis, Melvin Mora and Kevin Millar hit home runs for Baltimore.

Left-hander Wilfredo Ledezma allowed five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. "We just couldn't stop them, which is a rarity for us," manager Jim Leyland said. "Every time we came back, we gave something up. That happens."

Curtis Granderson hit a leadoff triple in the first and scored when DH Matt Stairs hit into a double play. Three walks and a 150-foot groundball double up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to Neifi Perez keyed a five-run fourth that tied the score at 6.

NOTES, QUOTES
--LHP Wilfredo Ledezma threw too many fat fastballs Sunday, and they cost him five runs. The southpaw threw a pair of 3-2 fastballs that were hit for home runs good for three runs in the fourth inning.

Baltimore hitters must have been looking for first-pitch fastballs, too, because Chris Gomez grounded one to right for an RBI single in the second and Melvin Mora smoked one his low-90s pitches over the fence for a solo home run in the third.

Ledezma's control was good and his breaking ball was good. His fastball had life, too, but not all the time.

--2B Placido Polanco, possibly despondent over expected soreness in his left shoulder, said Sunday he is "done for the year and possibly spring training."

Polanco, who did not elaborate on his comments, did not take batting practice Sunday after hitting in each of the previous two days for the first time since separating his left shoulder making a diving catch in Boston in mid-August.

Club officials continue to say Polanco is "day-to-day" and had been hoping he would be able to swing a bat well enough to possibly play at Chicago on Tuesday or Wednesday. He was given a return window of four to six weeks at the time of his injury, and Tuesday marks the beginning of the fifth week.

--RHP Joel Zumaya made his first pitching appearance in eight days Sunday, throwing 36 pitches in a 1 2/3 relief appearance against Baltimore.

Zumaya, out since Sept. 10 with wrist tendinitis, showed a top fastball of 102 mph and was still throwing in the high 90s when he closed out a lengthy seventh inning. He gave up two scratch singles with two outs that scored the tiebreaking run in a 6-6 game.

He mixed his curve with his fastball but was struggling to throw strikes at the end of his outing.

--LHP Jamie Walker extended what could be a major league record to 50 appearances in a season without a win, loss or save. Walker broke the old record, set by Scott Aldred in 1998 with Tampa Bay, with his 49th appearance of the season Friday night.

The mark was threatened Sunday because Walker was brought into a tie game with two outs in the fifth. He finished that inning, but two of the first three Baltimore batters singled in the sixth before RHP Joel Zumaya was brought in to snuff the rally.

--RHP Jason Grilli has not been overly effective lately, and it continued in the 10th inning Sunday when he gave up four runs in a 12-8 Detroit loss to Baltimore.

Grilli is still showing a decent fastball but apparently some of its movement is gone. Two of the three hits he gave up Sunday were not hard-hit, and two errors by fielders trying to make good plays contributed to one run being unearned. Grilli had a 6.75 ERA over his previous five outings (5 1/3 innings) entering Sunday's game.

--OF Craig Monroe has been slumping, and it showed Sunday. Monroe didn't start, but he was brought in to pinch-hit for CF Curtis Granderson against a soft-throwing southpaw, Brian Burres. Monroe got in a two-strike hole and waved feebly at a high breaking pitch with a runner on second and one out in the seventh inning of a game Detroit trailed 7-6 at the time.

He got a meaty pitch to hit leading off the ninth when the score was 8-8 and hit a flyball to right field that was caught at the warning track.

--C Mike Rabelo had his contract purchased Sunday by the Tigers from their Triple-A Toledo farm club. He will serve as Detroit's third catcher.

The switch-hitting Rabelo was removed from the 40-man roster last winter but responded by hitting .274 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs in 100 games at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He is considered a strong defensive catcher and an excellent game-caller with a good arm. He came through the lower levels of Detroit's farm system with RHP Joel Zumaya.

--RHP Chad Durbin was added to Detroit's 40-man roster Sunday when his contract was purchased from Triple-A Toledo. He joined the Tigers but is not expected to see much significant action.

Durbin was 11-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 28 starts for Toledo after failing to make the Tigers as a non-roster spring invitee. He struck out 149 batters in 185 innings with just 46 walks. "You get older and I think you get less of a rush (throwing hard)," Durbin said. "You realize no matter how hard you can throw a ball, it's not hard enough."

Durbin has not pitched in the majors since 2004, when he worked for Cleveland and Arizona. He spent parts of the previous four seasons with Kansas City.

--RHP Colby Lewis was designated for assignment Sunday by Detroit in a trio of moves that brought the Tigers up to the 40-man roster limit.

Lewis was up with Detroit twice for brief periods of time this summer but still doesn't look to be fully recovered from arm surgery that kept him out of action for nearly two years.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3.46/5.38 -- RHP Jeremy Bonderman's pre- and post-All-Star game ERA entering his Sept. 15 start. It's the second consecutive season the fourth-year veteran has sagged following the midseason break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's going to go right down to the end. We could go anywhere from not getting in at all, to getting in but losing in the division playoffs, winning the division playoffs but losing in the league championship, to making the World Series but getting beat or to winning the World Series." -- Manager Jim Leyland on his Tigers' chances the rest of the way.

MEDICAL WATCH:
2B Placido Polanco went on the disabled list Aug. 16 with a left shoulder separation. He took batting practice on Sept. 15, then said Sept. 17 that he was out for the season. The team was still listing him as day-to-day.

RHP Joel Zumaya, who had been experiencing wrist soreness from an inflamed tendon, made his first appearance in eight days on Sept. 17.

RHP Roman Colon went on the disabled list Aug. 21 with neck soreness. He will miss the rest of the season.

RHP Craig Dingman has spent the entire season on the disabled list following heart bypass surgery in March.