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Notes: Time for a change
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07/26/2003  6:19 PM ET 
Notes: Time for a change
Lima looks forward to a Sunday start vs. TIgers
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
If Jose Lima gets the ball on Sunday, it won't be just an average start against his former team. (Ed Zurga/AP)
DETROIT -- When Jose Lima walked off the elevator at Comerica Park, his toughest decision was which way to the visitor's clubhouse.

What a difference a year makes, and in Lima's case, it was a welcome change.

Lima was on the down-and-out in 2002 after dropping to 4-6 with a 7.77ERA for the Tigers. Detroit released the former 20-game winner in September after he had pitched a total of 68 1/3 innings.

Bad blood boiled for Lima in Detroit after he made the comment that the organization "stunk from top to bottom." Lima has remained clear that he is not upset with the fans, players or coaches in Detroit, but his anger centers on Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

"Did I say Detroit stinks from top to bottom?" Lima said. "Yes. I can say that because they did me wrong. With the money I was making ($7.25 million) you should have used my arm to pitch every five days, regardless. If I'm your boss, I will abuse your arm."

The 30-year-old pitched his last game for Detroit on Aug. 24, and 18days later he was released. The reasoning, Dombrowski said, had everything to do with his 7.77 ERA.

"If he was pitching the way he is now, which is much better, he would've continued to get the ball for us," Dombrowski said, "and his ERA would not have been what it was."

Lima took his game to the Dominican Winter League, but a back injury shortened the stint. He returned home and hoped for a Major League deal for the next season.

Once April rolled around, Lima had no deal with a Major League team.

Lima said he believes Dombrowski sent a letter to the league stating that Lima was a bad influence.

"I don't have to see it (proof)," Lima said. "When my agent called every team, and they said it."

Dombrowski denied that any such letter was sent and said no teams contacted him about Lima.

"I have been a general manager for 15 years and have been in the game for 25 years," Dombrowski said, "and I have never sent a letter like that and have never seen any other clubs send a letter like that."

Instead of calling it quits, Lima decided to play for the Newark Bears of the Independent League.

Lima's ticket back came June 11, when the Royals signed him to a minor league contract. Entering the current series with Detroit, Lima is 6-0 with a 2.42 ERA.

If all goes well with Lima's current groin injury, he is expected to make the start against the Tigers in Detroit on Sunday. Lima is anxious to pitch this time around in Detroit because he knows Dombrowski will be there watching.

"I was looking for him in the glass," Lima said of Dombrowski when the Tigers came to Kansas City. "I was looking to see if I could see him but he didn't make the trip."

"When," as Lima says it, he wins the game Sunday against the Tigers, he will offer up a message with a double-meaning.

"I'm not going to be 'if,' " Lima explained, "because 'if' is not in my vocabulary. When I leave the game with a 'W,' I'm going to point."

Dombrowski won't point back if it happens. He doesn't understand why Lima feels so emphatic about this.

"But that makes no difference," he said. "Probably because somebody had to give him his release. Why other clubs didn't sign him, that's up to them. I can unequivocally tell you not one club called me about him."

Rotation of the rotation: With the off day on Monday, the Royals have decided to skip Jeremy Affeldt in the rotation to let the blister on his finger continue to heal. He will be moved to the bullpen for the time being.

Darrell May will get the start Tuesday against the White Sox, followed by Runelvys Hernandez and Kyle Snyder

Negro League weekend: The Tigers and Royals donned Negro League uniforms for Saurday's game in Detroit. The Royals wore Kansas City Monarchs jerseys, while the Tigers represented the Detroit Stars.

Matt Lockhart is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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