CLEVELAND - Ugueth Urbina trotted off the field into the Detroit Tigers dugout with a bit of a swagger at the end of the Tigers pregame work and batting practice last night at Jacobs Field.
Of course, the Tigers right-hander has plenty of reasons to feel good about himself right about now. He s waiting to receive the 2003 World Series Championship ring he earned as a member of the Florida Marlins bullpen.
The estimated value of the ring covered with 229 diamonds is roughly $40,000.
He and former Marlins teammate Ivan Rodriguez should be receiving their hardware during the next next couple of days.
“It s amazing,” said Urbina, of the ring. “[But] it s not about how much it cost. What s more important to us is to win it, to have it.”
Urbina s upbeat demeanor also has to do with being called up from Single A Lakeland on Wednesday night to join a Tigers team off to as surprising a start to commence 2004 as Florida s surprisingly strong finish to the 2003 season. Urbina, who split the 2003 season playing for the Texas Rangers and Marlins, signed as a free agent with the Tigers on March 27.
Urbina, who signed a guaranteed contract worth $3.5 million, owned a 3-4 record while accounting for a 2.81 ERA and 32 saves in 72 appearances last season. His most significant work of the season came during the postseason when he pitched in 10 contests, finishing with a 1-0 record, four saves and a 3.46 ERA for 13 innings of work.
Urbina took the mound in the sixth inning of last night s game with the bases loaded and no outs with Detroit trailing 5-1. Jody Gerut - the first batter he faced -- tagged a two-run double off the left-field wall. Urbina was charged with allowing one run on two hits.
How Urbina ended up in Detroit after shopping his services to “everybody” in the league is quite simple. After Rodriguez signed with the Tigers, Urbina received a telephone call from his Marlins battery mate whom he considers like “a brother.
“He [Rodriguez] told me good things are happening here,” Urbina said. “And what Pudge told me is true. They re trying to get a better team.
“We re going to surprise a lot of people.
FANCY PITCHING: The Indians record (3-7) entering last night s contest against the Tigers didn t quite portray the kind of work the Indians starting pitchers have produced on the mound. Through 10 games the Tigers starters owned the best ERA in the American League at 2.74. They had limited the opponents to a .249,batting average.
Overall, the Indians pitchers ranked fourth in the league with a 4.41 ERA in 96 innings of work while allowing 104 hits and 47 earned runs.
STRONG PENA: Tigers first baseman Carlos Pena arrived in Cleveland with a history of playing well against the Indians at Jacobs Field. He went into the first game of a four-game series with the Indians batting. 364 with eight home runs and 14 RBI at Jacobs Field.