Boesch key to tiger winning…

Grand Rapids Press
One of the most deserving stars not playing in tonight’s All-Star Game

DETROIT — One of the most deserving stars not playing in tonight’s All-Star Game might have a bit of a problem keeping up with what he is missing, unless Detroit Tigers rookie outfielder Brennan Boesch has made significant updates in home decor since Sunday evening.

He doesn’t have a television. And it isn’t even the most pressing matter he faces during the four-day break.

“I have got to clean my apartment,” Boesch said. “I have got to do little things you don’t have time to do.Get a haircut.”

He won’t play in the the All-Star Game tonight and it was a disappointment when he initially got the news, particularly since he hails from Santa Monica , Calif., just a short drive from the game site in Anaheim. He might have deserved it, although rookies with a half season in the majors rarely get that type of recognition, even when their team is within a half-game of first place largely beacause of their contributions.

Boesch said he might watch a few innings tonight, if he can find a TV Otherwise, he said he was more interested in teammate Miguel Cabrera’s performance in Monday’s Home Run Derby, and in taking his .342 batting average, 12 home runs and 49 RBI to the lake house left empty by vacationing teammate Johnny Damon.

Asked if remains disappointed by what many perceive as an all-star snub, Boesch said “not anymore.”

The initial reaction was, a little bit,” he said “But after time’s passed, I just feel honored that people considered me and that people said that I deserved it, or whatever”

More important than appearing in a meaningless exhibition is this: Where would the Tigers be without Boesch? He provided a much-needed fifth hitter, protecting Magglio Ordonez and Cabrera, when the Tigers openly wondered who could fill that role.

And it isn’t necessary to platoon with Boesch. which virtually no one expected, because the left-handed hitter has smashed left-handed pitching, hitting .459 with three homers and 13 R1I in almost exactly one-third the number of at-bats he has had against right-handers. Of his 22 doubles and triples, 10 came against left-handers.

“I struggled against left-handers in the Dominican but that really prepared me,” he said. “It’s just a grind down there, too. On and off the field, its tough. The big leagues is just paradise compared to playing down there.”

Pitchers facing Boesch encounter the double-edged problem of a free swinger who does heavy damage against early strikes, and even heavier damage when ahead in the count.

I love his aggressiveness,” manager Jim Leyland said.

That’s something I would never change about him.”

Boesch said he wants to become more technically sound at scoring runners from third base with fewer than two outs, baserunning, and reading bails in the outfield.

And the 25-year-old is keen on sound advice from elder statesmen.

Last week, Boesch approached Al Kaline with a whimsical question about hitting home tuns and learned the Hall of Farrier does not approach hitting whimsically

The question was predicated upon Boesch’s 12-game streak without a home ran entering the All-Star break, his longest such drought.

“I asked if he ever felt that borne run envy when you see guys like Miguel hit one and think, ‘Man, I need to hit one.’ I was just joking with him,” Boesch said.

“He said, ‘No, I just tried to hit base hits and the home runs will come.’ And he was right.I was joking with him. but he was serious. I told him that was my pearl of wisdom for today and I’ll take it. Hall of Fame advice, you can’t pass that up.”

Boesch said he also has drawn upon advice offered by Toby Harrah. the Tigers’ minor-league hitting coordinator, who chastised him for trying to hit home runs in spring training.

“He said it’ you’re going to hit borne runs, that’s going to be something that’s going to be part of the game,” Boesch said. “But what defines you is what you do in between.

“When he said that, that really clicked with me. I’ve kind of been running with that approach ever since.”