Leyland being careful with rookies

Leyland being careful with rookies

ARLINGTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Saturday that he is energized by a Tigers team that can start as many as four rookies at one time. But he also said he knows he has to be careful with the four players -- second baseman Scott Sizemore, center fielder Austin Jackson, outfielder/designated hitter Brennan Boesch and catcher Alex Avila.

Take Sizemore.

Leyland gave Sizemore the day off Saturday as the rookie deals with the ups and downs of hitting Major League pitching -- he had three strikeouts in Friday's 5-4 loss. Sizemore also reported that his ankle is sore. He had offseason surgery on his left ankle.

Leyland pinch-hit for Sizemore in the eighth inning Friday. "I'm not going to give a young guy four strikeouts," Leyland said. Also Leyland wanted to give Ryan Raburn a start to keep him fresh, so Sizemore's day off worked out.

Leyland said he had a meeting with Sizemore this week after watching him for 15 games. He gave the rookie some constructive advice, telling him to remember whether it's offense, defense or baserunning, everything happens a little faster at the Major League level.

"It wasn't anything negative," Leyland said.