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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2011

MUD HENS NOTEBOOK

Mud Hen vet St-Pierre returns after absence

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Max St-Pierre has played parts of five different seasons in Toledo. Max St-Pierre has played parts of five different seasons in Toledo.
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A familiar face returned to the Mud Hens Wednesday when Max St-Pierre rejoined the team.

St-Pierre, a catcher who has played in Toledo in parts of five different seasons -- including the last three -- began this year on the temporary inactive list. St-Pierre said he left the Hens to be with a member of the family who was ill, a situation he said now is resolved.

St-Pierre, who turned 31 on Sunday, had his best season as a Hen last year. The 15-year pro hit .300 in 39 games with Toledo and advanced to the majors for the first time when the Tigers called him up in September.

St-Pierre said last year's promotion played a role with him re-signing with Detroit this past off season.

"It was a big decision to come back here," he said. "I listened to what the Tigers were telling me, what my position would be.

"You have to trust people, and I went with my instinct [to re-sign with Detroit]. I could have gone somewhere else, but in the end I wanted to be here."

St-Pierre said he went to the Tigers' Lakeland, Fla., training complex a week ago to start getting ready. When the Tigers called up Omir Santos on Tuesday to replace the injured Victor Martinez, St-Pierre was sent to Toledo to replace Santos.

"I didn't think about baseball for two weeks, so I went to Florida to start thinking about baseball and get back into shape," St-Pierre said. "I was able to get more work done down there, because up here there would have been travel and dealing with the cold and the weather."

RUNNING WILD: One way to score runs in cold weather is for offenses to run more to offset the lack of power.

And at first glance, it would look as if the Mud Hens and Indianapolis both tried to do just that Wednesday as the teams combined for five stolen bases in six attempts.

But both teams have run a lot to start this season. The Indians entered the game tops in the International League with 17 stolen bases, while Toledo was next with 16.

The only stolen base attempt that failed came in the fifth, when Indy starter Justin Wilson picked Cale Iorg off at first base. Since Iorg was thrown out at second, the play was ruled as a caught stealing.

"I'm not going to change the game because of the weather," Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said. "We thought we picked a good spot to run with Cale. Two other times we picked spots, and we guessed right and got the stolen base.

"We were trying to be aggressive, get the runner into scoring position. We were trying to make something happen, and they threw over [to pick off Iorg]."

THURSDAY'S TWINBILL: The Mud Hens and Indians will play two games at Fifth Third Field starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to make up Tuesday's rainout.

The starters for Indianapolis Thursday will be a pair of right-handers, Brad Lincoln (0-2, 4.66 ERA) and Jose Ascanio, who joined the Indians Tuesday on a rehab assignment from Pittsburgh.

The Mud Hens will counter with lefty Charlie Furbush (0-1, 2.79) and right-hander Chris Oxspring (0-1, 6.48).



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