The Tigers have been limping along without their stellar center fielder, Austin Jackson (abdominal strain), and their closer, Jose Valverde (lower back strain), for nearly the entirety of the current homestand, but both players might be ready to go before the Tigers head out on the road Monday.
Jackson and Valverde went out together before Saturday afternoon's batting practice to play catch, testing how they felt.
"It’s feeling better. I’m going to do some light throwing today, and hitting, and get it nice and loose and see how that feels," said Jackson, who was picking up a bat for the first time since he pulled a muscle reaching on a swing in Wednesday's game. "Yeah. I’m going to try to do some swings off a tee, throw a little bit, just to get a gauge on how it feels, see when I’ll be ready."
Depending on how he felt, Jackson admitted he might be available for at least pinch-running chores in Sunday's game. If not, the Tigers have an off day on Monday before heading to Cleveland.
"I’m not sure. If I get out there today, and it’s feeling pretty good, I may be available to run, if that presents itself. It’s all going to be in how I feel when I go out here in just a second," he said, dismissing the idea that he was feeling any pressure to get back more quickly with the Tigers dealing with a short bench. "Not really. You definitely want to get it better. I don’t want to go back out there too quick and re-injure it, and possibly miss more time. I think my body will know when it’s ready, and when that time comes, I’ll be back out there."
Manager Jim Leyland wasn't willing to chance anything, either.
"I’m not going to take any chances. It’s May 19. I’m not going to do it," the skipper said.
For Valverde it was a return to throwing after having his lower back tighten up on him in Tuesday's get-away win over Chicago. He'll test out how it feels again on Sunday.
"He is going to throw tomorrow. Now, when I say throw, I mean he’s going to throw to see how he feels. If he feels great, he may be available tomorrow (Sunday)," Leyland said. "But, I kind of doubt that. I think it’ll be Tuesday in Cleveland, but I can’t swear to that. He’s a gamer. He’s a tough guy. He might tell me he’s ready."