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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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Infante goes on DL with sprained ankle, Tigers recall Hernan Perez from Erie

DETROIT — You can still argue whether or not it was dirty. But Colby Rasmus’ take-out slide on Omar Infante certainly has been costly.

Infante, who has already missed five games since getting steamrolled by Rasmus in the fourth inning of the game on July 3, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained left ankle.

The veteran second baseman is expected to return from the DL after the All-Star break.

“He’ll be ready to go. It’s just still lingering, pretty sore. It’s not going to be ready for at least three days. We only got six more so why not get it all the way right?” manager Jim Leyland said. “You can’t try to keep playing with just one (reserve) infielder, that being (Don) Kelly. We just decided that was the smart thing to do.”

The Tigers replaced him on the roster with Hernan Perez, an All-Star at the Tigers’ Double-A affiliate in Erie, Pa.

“I’ve seen him enough to know he’s a real talented kid and he’s got real instincts,” said Leyland, who got an eyeful of Perez in spring training. “I like him a lot. I have liked him a lot. I hope I like him a lot the next few days.”

But he’s not Omar Infante, just yet.

The Tigers were furious after Rasmus collided with Infante, trying to break up a double play, claiming that he slid too late, and over the bag, with his spikes up.

“I thought it was a dirty slide. Simple as that,” Torii Hunter said at the time. “It was all wrong. It made no sense to do that — at all. I've been around the game and I've broke up a lot of double plays. You’re not going to do it that way. C’mon, man. He knew he messed up. Look in the mirror.”

Infante was helped off the field, and was on crutches in the locker room after the game. He has not played since, forcing Ramon Santiago to take over at second almost full time. After replacing Infante, Santiago went 4-for-17 with five runs scored in the next four games, before an 0-for-3 night Monday.

“The reason I play everybody is exactly what you see here, when somebody goes down, like Infante,” Leyland said. “(They say,) ‘Just stick him out there, every day. Don’t give him a rest. Stick him out there every day. Don’t worry about Santiago.’ Well, that’s exactly why I play guys, and put them in there from time to time, so when they get a chance, they’re halfway at least got a chance, because they’re halfway sharp. That’s why you play everybody. It doesn’t work where everybody’s healthy every single day.”

Infante was fourth among qualified second basemen in MLB in batting average (.307), fifth in slugging percentage (.441) and sixth in OPS (.779) at the time of his injury.

Perez, who was hitting .300 with 28 doubles and four home runs for the SeaWolves, was named to the Eastern League All-Star team, but won’t be able to play in the game, which is scheduled for Wednesday. He arrived in Detroit from Altoona, Pa., just hours after finding out the news from Erie manager Chris Cron, and found himself in the Tigers lineup for Tuesday’s game, batting eighth.

“That was pretty nice. I was with my wife. I was like in bed and he called me, he told me, ‘I got good news for you. What do you think?’ ... I thought, ‘Maybe bigs?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you’re going to the bigs tomorrow.’ Pretty good,” said Perez, who had a two-game cup of coffee with the Tigers last June, when Jhonny Peralta was on the paternity list. “I just think about bigs, I didn’t think about Triple-A, because I know there are many players, infielders. He say, ‘Big leagues.’ And I say, ‘Yes! I did it.’ ”


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