Tuiasosopo lands on DL, forcing Garcia to travel I-75 for fourth time in seven days
Still, to Avisail Garcia, it’s got to feel like a million, especially since he’s traveled up and down I-75 five times already this season, four times in the last seven days.
Garcia was back in Detroit Friday, and just in time to replace a slightly hobbled Austin Jackson in center field.
His recall was part of a flurry of moves, that included the Tigers designating Jose Valverde for assignment, and recalling Al Alburquerque.
While there have been transactions galore in the month of June, it seems like the preponderance somehow involve the 22-year-old outfield, Garcia.
• He came up on May 13, when Jackson went on the DL with a hamstring strain.
• He went back down June 14, when Jackson came off the DL.
• He came up again Monday, when Alex Avila (forearm contusion) and Anibal Sanchez (shoulder strain) went on the DL
• He went down Thursday, when the Tigers needed Jose Alvarez on the active roster to start in Sanchez’s spot.
• He came back up Friday, replacing Matt Tuiasosopo, who went on the 15-day disabled list with an intercostal strain in his side.
Tuiasosopo was a late scratch from Thursday’s game after feeling something pull while hitting in the cage during batting practice.
“We got the word about five minutes before the game, and I had to scratch him,” manager Jim Leyland said. “Felt something in here, swinging in the cage.”
Could Garcia inherit some of the at-bats vs. right-handers that had been headed Tuiasosopo’s way, given the struggles of Andy Dirks?
“That’s a possibility,” Leyland acknowledged.
Facing the Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, the Tigers would normally have had Jackson playing in the outfield Friday, instead of the left-handed Dirks.
But Leyland wants to be careful with Jackson, who is just a week removed from his own stint on the DL.
That left the Tigers a man short.
“We’ll be short tonight because I don’t want to obviously play Jackson. If I could play Jackson, I’d have him in the starting lineup,” Leyland said. “I’m not going to put him in the game to pinch run when his legs are sore.”
Is it serious?
“I don’t think so. I think just kind of do some treatment with it and kind of get that stiffness, soreness out of there. Things should be all right,” Jackson said. “Hoping so (tomorrow). See how it feels doing the treatment and things today. Just kind of take it easy, don’t want to make it worse by doing too much.”
That does not leave a whole lot on the bench: Back-up catcher Bryan “Doc” Holaday, reserve infielder Ramon Santiago, and utility man Don Kelly.
Same situation the Tigers had a night earlier, with Tuiasosopo ailing.
“That’s what I had (three players on bench). It’s a priority but you don’t really want to run Doc Holaday or Santiago,” Leyland said. “What that means is if something happens to an outfielder, I would put Infante in the outfield and Santiago at second base. Unless you want me to play Doc Holaday in center. Probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Infante has started 67 career games in the outfield, 16 of those in his first stint here in Detroit.
“Not very often but he’s played center field in the big leagues, played left field,” Leyland said. “That’s just an option. Those are options you don’t want to use but you make do with what you got.”