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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Injury situation getting worse, more complicated, not better for Tigers

While catcher Alex Avila was available for Friday's game, as evidenced by his pinch-hitting appearance, Andy Dirks was not, thanks to a sore right Achilles tendon that’s only gotten worse. He was scheduled to have an MRI before the game to check the severity of the injury.

“It’s always frustrating being hurt, but there’s really nothing I feel like I could do to keep it from happening. So, I’m just going to try and get healthy now. That’s my main focus so I can get back out on the field,” said Dirks, who had just mended from a gimpy left hamstring. Sometimes, players hurt something else by babying the original injury. “We’ve talked about that a little bit — maybe favoring the hamstring more, and putting more strain on a different part of your body. It happens. That could’ve been part of it. Could be a lot of things like tweak it once a little bit and keep playing with it and injuring it more.”

Without Dirks, it left the Tigers — yet again — short handed in the outfield, forcing them to play a couple of young left-handed hitters, Quintin Berry and Brennan Boesch, against Yankees ace CC Sabathia.

While Boesch has been good against lefties in his young career, Berry has not, striking out four times vs. Boston’s Jon Lester on Wednesday.

Of course, then he tripled in the first inning, and doubled in the third, scoring both times to become just the second Tigers hitter since 1918 to score in eight of his first 10 games. He also has 15 hits in hist first 10 games.

Leyland didn’t want to get sucked into a discussion of what might happen with Berry when Jackson is healthy enough to come back.

“We’ll just see how this plays out. We’ll see who is healthy, who is playing, who is doing good and who is not doing good. But he’s done well against right-handed pitching. This is not the best guy tonight, but we’re short tonight. We’ve been playing short for quite a while,” Leyland said.

“The main thing that we’re striving for is to get them healthy as quick as possible because on the next trip we can’t play short. We can’t have two or three extra guys the next time we go on the road because we go to National League cities where you have to pinch-hit and double-switch and make maneuvers. Our goal right now is to try and get everyone healthy.

“We’re hurting a little bit for a right-handed hitter, obviously. We thought (Ryan) Raburn was going to fill that bill, but he didn’t up to this point. So, we’re just trying to make due right now until we get it straightened out. It’s been one thing after another, but that’s all part of it. No excuse. Everyone has their problems. But, we’re a little short with right-handed bats against left-handed pitching.”

There was a report out of Toledo that outfielder Matt Young had been removed from the game for the purposes of being called up to the Tigers.

“Sometimes you have to put things on hold,” Leyland said after the game, when asked about the possibility.

The injury problem just got more complex with Gerald Laird pulling up with a gimpy hamstring in the sixth inning, after legging out an infield single, diving head-first into first base after he felt the tweak in his leg.

"It's a little tweak, nothing like I've had in the past where I've pulled one. I'm hoping it'll be just a couple days," Laird said after the game. "Being a cold night and sitting and then having to go hit, I was trying to leg one out, just giving it all I had."

With the Tigers having to wait and see on both injuries, they nixed whatever move they were sitting on, tabling a decision on any call-ups to Saturday at the earliest.

"Gerald’s sore, and we don’t know exactly what that situation’s going to be. Dirks is not ready yet, so it seems like we’re either having to play short, for some reason, or make moves all the time, which is not a good thing," Leyland said after the game.

"To be honest with you, I didn’t think June 1st, we’d be pitching Crosby and catching Santos. And I don’t mean that disrespectfully. Just because of the way things have turned out, and a couple injuries, we’ve had to do a lot of improvising.

Is this the worst he's gone through, though? No, he said. 

"This isn’t bad. You live with this. You don’t make a big deal about it. You just move forward. I think the more the manager talks about stuff like that, the more it affects your team. So it doesn’t make any difference," Leyland said. "You’re talking to your general manager and your assistant general manager a lot more, because you’re always making moves. You’re talking to Toledo a little too much to be honest with you. Sometimes you just can’t help those things."


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