Tigers make important moves

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - Give the Tigers credit.

Despite their recent hot play that pushed them to first place in the American League Central, they aren't kidding themselves. This team, picked as runaway favorites to win the division, still had holes.

The team plugged two of them with a trade on Monday, landing a second baseman and a fifth starter for their rotation.

The Tigers got Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Miami Marlins in exchange for their top pitching prospect Jacob Turner. The Tigers also gave up catching prospect Rob Brantly and a Double-A lefthander in Brian Flynn.

It seems like a high price when you realize that Sanchez can become a free agent after the season. Hence, you gave up Turner, a first-round pick in 2009, for a rent-a-player, if Sanchez doesn't ink a deal to stay long-term.

 Nonetheless, the Tigers are trying to win this year, not in the future. Owner Mike Ilitch continues to spend money in hopes of securing his first World Series title.

The Tigers, with just a game lead over the second-place Chicago White Sox, open a three-game set in Cleveland tonight against the Indians.

The Tigers should feel better with the additions of Infante, who played for the Tigers five years ago, and Sanchez.

``For us, from a second base perspective, that was an area we definitely wanted to address,'' Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski said. ``There's not a lot of second baseman that are available, particularly that are good players.''

Infante is batting .287 with eight homers and 33 RBI.

Sanchez is 5-7 with 3.94. Dombrowski isn't worried about his lackluster numbers, though. ``He's been one of the more consistent pitchers in baseball,'' Dombrowski said about Sanchez. ``He feels great, he has quality stuff and gives us a chance to have five established Major League starters.''

The Tigers are taking a chance, but it's worth  it at this point because the objective is always to win now, not later.

Lions cut Berry

The Lions did what they had to do on Monday, cutting cornerback Aaron Berry after yet another arrest.

The Lions could not continue to let things go in an offseason that has been a total embarrassment for the organization. At last count, players had been arrested seven times in the offseason.

Berry was arrested early Sunday morning in his hometown of Harrisburg, Pa. He was charged with three counts of simple assault for allegedly brandishing a gun.

A month ago, it was for drunk driving. Despite Berry being in line for a starting gig on the team, the Lions released him due to ``personal conduct which adversely affects the club.''

For years, the Lions have threatened to get rid of players that stepped out of line. It was a running job because the Lions never did anything. Former coach Bobby Ross was famous for telling the media he would give players bus tickets out of town. It never happened.

Here, the Lions did the only thing they could. They stopped the madness, even if it hurts their secondary at this time.

You just can't put together a winning team when players are reckless and can't conduct themselves responsibly.

NCAA finally gets it right

The NCAA crushed Penn State on Monday and rightfully so.

It might not been the death penalty some had hoped after the terrible sex scandal, involving a cover-up that led to the top, including Joe Paterno.

Still, the school, which agreed to accept the punishment, was fined $60 million, banned from bowl games for four years and had 10 scholarships taken away for each of the next four years.

The NCAA also allowed players who wanted to transfer a chance to do so and not have to sit out a year. They could play immediately. And players who wanted to stay, could do so.

Still, there were some who thought the punishment was too harsh for the crime.

Sadly, it's still about football and not about the horrible crimes that took place on the campus in State College.

Fans have to stop for a minute. Sure, they love football and want to see their team play. But when such a bad thing has taken place and a cover-up was in place so they can keep playing football, you have to take drastic measure to make sure it doesn't happen again.

That's what the NCAA did on Monday and it should be applauded for making the right call in a tough spot.

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