Berry will be ready when name is called

Berry will be ready when name is called

SAN FRANCISCO -- For a while now, long before manager Jim Leyland revealed his lineup for Game 1 of the World Series, Tigers left fielder Quintin Berry has figured he wouldn't start either of the first two games in San Francisco. Not with the way Delmon Young swung the bat in the American League Championship Series, and not with Giants skipper Bruce Bochy starting back-to-back lefties, Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner.

"Delmon's got to play," Berry said. "It's kind of like, I know my situation weeks coming in, so I had no expectations of [starting]."

But Berry also figures that somehow he'll be called upon to make a difference late, quite possibly with the game on the line.

"Definitely, so I try to keep my mind ready," Berry said moments before Wednesday's 8:07 p.m. ET first pitch. "I played in the NL in the Minor Leagues for five years, so I kind of have an idea how it goes. And our manager, he uses our AL roster even more than most NL managers. I know we're definitely going to be used. You never know when, but you have to stay ready."

With Young starting in left field in Game 1 -- and likely Game 2 as well -- Berry will be used as a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner or late-game defensive replacement. Sitting against a left-handed starter is nothing new for the lefty-hitting Berry, but pinch-hitting sure is.

Berry barely pinch-hit as he bounced through different organizations in the Minor Leagues, and this year, his first year in the Majors, the 27-year-old got just nine plate appearances as a pinch-hitter, with one single, two walks and two strikeouts.

"I'm still really new to it," Berry said, "but I think I'm starting to understand it and learn it a little better."

Andy Dirks, another left-handed hitter, may be Leyland's first option to pinch-hit against a right-hander with Avisail Garcia starting in right field. But Dirks has had only 10 career pinch-hit appearances, albeit with three hits, one homer and four RBIs. Berry figures he'll be called upon, too, so he recently picked the brain of veteran backup catcher Gerald Laird.

His advice?

"Don't try to get a hit," Berry said. "Just do something productive. Move a guy over, sac fly, bunt -- just stay short and try to do something to help the team."