Blogs > Out of Left Field

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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

REPORT: Tigers one of five teams 'showing strong interest' in Hanrahan

A total of 32 MLB scouts reportedly watched Joel Hanrahan’s workout two weeks ago, but far fewer teams may be in on the 32-year-old reliever.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Tigers are one of five teams that are “showing strong interest” in Hanrahan, who is coming off Tommy John surgery that cut last season short.

Traded to the Boston Red Sox in December 2012, Hanrahan has 100 career saves, most of them in two All-Star seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011-12. He pitched in just nine games for Boston before his elbow issues cropped up in April.

Owners of the second-worst bullpen ERA in baseball (5.48), the Tigers could certainly use another experienced arm. General manager Dave Dombrowski said before the workout that the team would be represented there.

Five key moments in the Tigers' 5-0 win over the White Sox

1. First inning >> Adam Eaton took at least a potential extra-base hit away from Torii Hunter, making a leaping catch up against the center-field wall. [VIDEO HERE]

2. Fourth inning >> After bringing home the game-winning run with a bunt Tuesday night, Bryan Holaday broke the game open with a two-run double into the left-field corner. It chased starter Hector Noesi from the game. [VIDEO HERE]

3. Third inning >> Austin Jackson nearly made a spectacular play with his arm in center field, as it was initially ruled an out at second base, when his throw appeared to beat Eaton to the bag after Gordon Beckham’s bloop single dropped right in front of Jackson. It was overturned after a 44-second review. Max Scherzer pitched around it, getting what could’ve been a double-play ball, then a strikeout of Adam Dunn.

4. Eighth inning >> Andrew Romine makes a do-or-die play to rob slugger Jose Abreu — who planted two homers in the center field shrubbery last week at Comerica — of an infield hit, charging the slow-roller, and firing on the run.

5. Ninth inning >> After watching Daniel Webb strike out both Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded, Victor Martinez worked the right-handed reliever for a five-pitch walk, bringing in a run.

Robbie Ray to get spot start for Tigers on Tuesday, May 6

DETROIT — In part, the Detroit Tigers made the Doug Fister trade to increase their starting pitching depth in the high minors, adding a stud prospect in left-hander Robbie Ray.

He’ll get his first test Tuesday, May 6, making a spot start in Anibal Sanchez’s place in the rotation, the team announced Wednesday.

Sanchez is on the 15-day disabled list with a laceration on his right middle finger. The Tigers will need two spot starts in his stead before he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

[CLICK HERE for the updated story.]

Out of Left Field May Day live chat

"MAYDAY!!!" or just May Day?

We'll have our weekly chat discussing the state of the Detroit Tigers, hosted by Digital First Media Tigers beat writer Matthew B. Mowery (me) of The Oakland Press on Thursday at 2 p.m.

With the Tigers comfortably in first place, there shouldn't be many distress signals ... but you never know.

Join me live on Thursday, or you can email your questions beforehand (or tag them onto this post as comments), and I'll answer them Thursday.

See you then!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Guest appearance on SportsTownChicago, Monday April 28

I spent a few minutes Monday evening talking Tigers (and White Sox) with Clinton Cole and the crew at You can listen to the interview here, if you missed it:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sanchez placed on the 15-day DL with a finger laceration

DETROIT — Now the Detroit Tigers will get a test of their starting pitching depth.

And, in all likelihood, you might finally be able to truly start grading the Doug Fister trade.

Anibal Sanchez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday evening, with a laceration on his right middle finger. The Tigers will need a spot starter to take his place for at least two turns through the rotation, but not until the first week of May, given the off days this coming week.

With the bullpen gassed by recent over-usage, reliever Justin Miller was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to fill Sanchez’s roster spot.

The top candidates to take Sanchez’s place in the rotation are lefties Robbie Ray — the key to the Fister trade — and Kyle Lobstein, along with Drew VerHagen.

Sanchez left Saturday’s start after 2 2/3 innings with what was called a blister at the time.

Anibal Sanchez leaves game early with blister on right middle finger

DETROIT — Anibal Sanchez hadn’t gone further than 6 1/3 innings in any of his first four starts of the season, and went considerably shorter than that in his fifth on Saturday.

Sanchez came out of the game with an apparent injury [UPDATE: blister on right middle finger] two outs into the third inning, and with a three balls, two strikes count on Twins leadoff hitter Brian Dozier. Sanchez had faced one over the minimum to that point, the only baserunner for the Twins a two-out walk by Josmil Pinto in the second inning.

Called up from Toledo earlier in the day, Jose Ortega completed the walk of Dozier after entering the game. Dozier was thrown out stealing after a replay overturn of the original call.

Tigers call up Jose Ortega, option Justin Miller to Toledo

DETROIT — When the Tigers bullpen had to suck up four innings Friday, you kind of figured there might need to be reinforcements on the way.

And, considering the pen hasn’t been great of late, why not try a new patch?

Detroit called up right-hander Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toledo Saturday morning, and optioned Justin Miller down to make room.

Sporting a 5.40 ERA, good for second-to-last in the American League, the Tigers bullpen turned a 10-1 game when Rick Porcello left into a 10-6 game by the time closer Joe Nathan was summoned for the ninth.

It doesn’t help that the rotation had Anibal Sanchez — who hasn’t gone deeper than 6 1/3 innings in a start this season — coming up Saturday, meaning the bullpen was might be taxed again, innings-wise.

Ortega appeared in eight games for Toledo, compiling a 3.97 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP, after a scoreless inning of relief Friday night. He struck out eight and walked six in 11 1/3 innings.

Ortega has made 13 appearances for the Tigers over the last two seasons.

Miller gave up just one earned run in four appearances with the Tigers, striking out three in 5 1/3 innings.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Detroit Tigers live chat for Friday, 0425

It's our weekly chance to sit down and chat about Detroit Tigers baseball.

We'll start at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 25, so have your questions ready.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ausmus on Pineda pine tar controversy: 'I think it's overblown'

DETROIT — When Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda got thrown out of Wedneday’s game for blatantly using pine tar for a second straight start vs. the Boston Red Sox, its pervasive use became the talk of the industry.

One talking head on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” even suggested that most Major League Baseball catchers put pine tar on their catching gear, in order to rub it on the ball before throwing it back to the pitcher.

“I can say I have never put pine tar on any part of my catching gear or glove, in any part of my career. Not once. The only time I put pine tar anywhere was on my bat,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who caught in 1,971 big-league games in his 18-year career.

“I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. But I personally have never put pine tar on my catching gear or glove. And no pitcher has ever asked me to do that.”

Obviously, the primary use for pine tar in baseball is to make bats easier to grip. There are other uses, too.

“I do think pitchers using pine tar isn’t as big a deal as it’s being made out to be. It’s more about getting a grip. It’s not really about altering the movement of the ball, it’s about getting a grip on the ball. Just like putting pine tar on the bat to grip the bat, using pine tar for a pitcher would be to get a grip on the ball,” Ausmus said.

“I think this is becoming overblown, really.”

As a hitter, you would want a pitcher to maybe use a foreign substance to get a better grip, especially on a cold night, when it’s harder to get a feel for the baseball.

“Especially if he’s a hard thrower. It’s not like it’s a spitball, where it’s dancing all over the place. Or sandpaper that scuffs it, and makes it move abnormally,” Ausmus said.

“This just allows pitchers to get a grip on the ball. I think it’s overblown.”

The part that caught Pineda was his being so obvious. The first time, he had it visibly on his hand. Wednesday night, he had it on his neck.

“I guess if it was blatant, you would have to address it, because it’s part of the rules, but again I don’t think it’s impacting the game. It’s considered a foreign substance, but it’s not Vaseline,” Ausmus said, admitting he’d never seen it applied to the neck like that. “He did seem to have quite a bit of it. I’m not going to get all worked up about that.”

Tigers to honor former manager Jim Leyland on May 10

DETROIT — It was one of the wishes that Jim Leyland threw out at his emotional press conference at Comerica Park when, just two days after the end of the Detroit Tigers’ playoff run, he announced his decision to step down as manager.

“I hope in the next two or three years that I get a chance to throw out the first pitch at Comerica Park,” he said.

How about May 10, Jim?

The Tigers announced Thursday that the franchise’s third-winningest manager will do just that, throwing out the first pitch before a home game against the Twins, after an on-field ceremony to honor Leyland’s legacy.

Leyland won 700 games as the manager of the Tigers, guiding the team to three straight American League Central division titles, two AL pennants, and making two trips to the World Series.

The only question: Who catches the pitch?

Danny Worth gets first start of season for Tigers, as White Sox series wraps up

Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Austin Jackson, CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Danny Worth, 2B

Pitcher: Max Scherzer, RHP (1-1, 2.33 ERA)

Jordan Danks, CF
Marcus Semien, 3B
Jose Abreu, 1B
Adam Dunn, DH
Dayan Viciedo, RF
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Gordon Beckham, 2B
Tyler Flowers, C

Pitcher: Jose Quintana, LHP (1-0, 2.37 ERA)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ausmus lets Kelly, J.D. Martinez pick their own positions — sort of

DETROIT — In a throwback to sandlot baseball, Don Kelly and J.D. Martinez got to pick their own positions.

Well, sort of.

Planning to rest his normal corner outfielders, Rajai Davis and Torii Hunter for Wednesday’s game, Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus asked the two reserves which side they preferred: right field or left.

“I actually asked Donnie and J.D. where they prefer,” the manager admitted. “They both kind of said, ‘Wherever you want to put me,’ but after a little more prying J.D. gave it up that he played more left field, so I decided to keep him there.”

Ausmus had to do a little digging to get one of the two to fess up to a preference.

“You’ve got to read between the lines,” the manager said.

“I asked him (J.D.). He said ‘wherever you want to put me.’ I said, ‘If you had a choice, where would you play?’ He said it doesn’t matter. But then he said ‘but I’ve played left more than I’ve played right.’ They don’t want to say they don’t want to play somewhere, but I think by saying he’s played left more he’s indicating that he’s more comfortable in left.”

Ausmus took care of writing them into the lineup where he wanted. [CLICK HERE for the lineup]

He put Kelly at No. 2 in the order, behind Ian Kinsler and ahead of Miguel Cabrera.

“You mix up the right-left look. We don’t usually have a left-handed bat that high up in the order,” Ausmus said of Kelly. “He’s got the ability to do little things, I think, as well. He understands the game. He knows when to take a pitch if someone’s trying to steal. He knows when he needs to get a guy over. He knows who’s hitting behind him. And he’s swung the bat well. He swung the bat well in spring training and he’s swung the bat well so far this season, granted, in limited duty.”

The manager put Martinez in the No. 5 spot, behind cleanup hitter Victor Martinez.

“There’s quite a bit of power right there,” Ausmus said. “My hope is he can run into one and drive one and maybe knock in a couple runs there, but certainly Jackson’s capable of hitting there as well. I just decided to put them in that order.”

Romine makes sixth straight start at shortstop, as series continues vs. CWS

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Don Kelly, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Victor Martinez, DH
J.D. Martinez, LF
Austin Jackson, CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Drew Smyly, LHP

Marcus Semien, 3B
Leury Garcia, 2B
Jose Abreu, 1B
Dayan Viciedo, RF
Paul Konerko, DH
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Alejandro De Aza, LF
Tyler Flowers, C
Jordan Danks, CF

Pitcher: Andre Rienzo, RHP

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Austin Jackson gets a day off, as series continues with White Sox

It was supposed to be Verlander vs. Sale, but with Chicago's Chris Sale going on the disabled list on Monday, it's now Justin Verlander vs. lefty Charlie Leesman.

It's also the first day off of the season for center fielder Austin Jackson. Rajai Davis slid over from left to man the middle of the outfield.

Rajai Davis, CF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
J.D. Martinez LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, RHP

Jordan Danks CF
Marcus Semien 3B
Jose Abreu 1B
Adam Dunn DH
Dayan Viciedo RF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Alejandro De Aza LF
Tyler Flowers C
Leury Garcia 2B

Pitcher: Charlie Leesman, LHP

Monday, April 21, 2014

Martinez will get work against right-handed pitchers, and off bench

DETROIT — In 2012, when the Tigers were desperately seeking a right-handed bat, they tried to acquire outfielder J.D. Martinez from the Houston Astros.

Now, in 2014, when they have a crying need for left-handed hitters in a right-handed-heavy lineup, the Tigers call up ... J.D. Martinez?

And, yes, he’s still right-handed.

How is that going to work? And why didn’t they go with the left-handed Ezequiel Carrera, who is hitting .364 at Toledo?

Well, there are several factors that make the move make sense.

One, the Tigers have decided to ride Rajai Davis as the starter in left field, rather than platoon, so you don’t necessarily need a left-handed platoon partner for him. You need someone who does something that he doesn’t.

In this case, it’s hit with power.

“Well, (Martinez) obviously can play the outfield, spell someone in the outfield. He’s got power off the bench, as a pinch hitter, late in the game, if it’s a close game, which has to give the opposing manager a little bit of a pause, on what reliever they bring into the game,” manager Brad Ausmus said.

“He’s a threat, whenever he’s in the box.”

Before adding Martinez, the Tigers’ bench players had combined for 27 career home runs — 23 of them by Don Kelly. Martinez had 24 in three seasons with the Astros and 54 in six minor-league seasons, including an minor-leagues best 10 at Toledo this year.

Figuring when he might spell one of the corner outfielders, Davis or Torii Hunter, might be a little more difficult, since you can’t just go with a lefty-righty matchup.

“Well, he’s going to have to get some starts against right-handed pitching. That’s just the simple fact. Because the spot to use him to spell the most would be either with Torii or Rajai, but they’re also right-handed,” Ausmus said. “So he’s going to have to play against some right-handed pitching, to be honest with you. But he has that ability to drive that ball over the wall, which we don’t have a ton of on this team.”

It helps that Martinez has hit relatively well against right-handers in his career, and very well in the minors this year.

In the majors, Martinez hits .249 (.294 on-base percentage, .381 slugging percentage, .675 OPS) against right-handed starters and .257 (.314/.401/.715) against left-handed starters.

Of his 24 career home runs, 16 are against right-handed pitchers, including one off Max Scherzer last year. That came in a series in which he went 5-for-10 with four extra-base hits against the Tigers, most of that damage done against three right-handed starters: Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez (one double) and Doug Fister (two doubles).

With his remodeled swing, it’s even more pronounced this year: He’s hitting just .125 in 16 plate appearances against lefties, and .367 (.415/1.000/1.415) against righties. Nine of his 10 home runs are against right-handers.

“I feel like the ball travels a lot more now. It’s not just a line drive anymore. It’s more like they go,” Martinez said of his new swing. What did he change?

“Everything. I can’t even describe it. I changed everything, top to bottom. It was just more to try to drive the ball, hit the ball in the air, moreso than on the ground. ... I saw a lot of big-league stars that had similarities, and just wanted to make mine as similar to theirs as I could.”

Four of his 10 home runs came in one concentrated burst on Saturday, when he hit three in the first game of a Toledo doubleheader, and another in the nightcap. The last Toledo player to have a three-homer game was Brad Eldred on April 24, 2012, three days before his call-up to the Tigers.

“It was a fun day. It’s not really a you can schedule for, ‘I’m going to do this today.’ I showed up, there was no BP, nothing. Just show up and play,” Martinez said. “I just — I don’t know — it was one of those things where you just kind of black out.”

Tigers put Putkonen on 15-day DL with elbow soreness

DETROIT — First, the Tigers couldn’t find enough chances to pitch him.

Now, his elbow hurts enough that they can’t pitch him at all.

The Tigers on Monday placed little-used long reliever Luke Putkonen on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, opening a roster spot to add outfielder J.D. Martinez.

“The first I heard about it was a few days ago. But I guess it actually goes back into spring training some, where it wouldn’t necessarily bother him all the time, on all pitches, but on particular pitches it might bother him,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

“We just need to get it cleared up.”

Detroit’s bullpen was at one over the normal number, after Justin Miller was added on Friday.

The move to DL Putkonen was retroactive to Saturday, the day after the right-hander was pounded around in the Tigers’ 11-6 loss to the Angels, giving up seven runs on five hits in two innings. Before that, he’d pitched only once — six days earlier — causing Ausmus to claim he was a “bad manager” for not getting Putkonen more work.

Still, Putkonen hadn’t said anything.

“He didn’t mention it,” Ausmus said. “It’s a little concerning that it didn’t go away in that period of time where he wasn’t pitching. But (head trainer) Kevin Rand doesn’t seem to think it’s going to be a long-term issue.”

Tigers set to call up J.D. Martinez, for some added pop off the bench

DETROIT — The Toledo Mud Hens announced Monday that outfielder J.D. Martinez was getting the call-up to the Detroit Tigers, after earning himself Minor League Baseball player of the week.

[UPDATE: The Tigers confirmed the move, announcing that Luke Putkonen (elbow inflammation) went on the DL to make room on the active roster, while Andy Dirks was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.]

[CLICK HERE for an updated story]

Martinez has 10 home runs at Toledo, four of them coming in a doubleheader binge on Saturday, with three in the opener.

While Martinez does give the Tigers yet another right-handed-hitting outfielder on a roster stuffed with righties, he does provide something that a guy like Ezequiel Carrera would not have: power off the bench.

The Tigers have not announced a corresponding move to add Martinez to the active roster, or to get him on the 40-man roster. The latter will likely be simply procedural, as the Tigers can clear a spot by putting Andy Dirks on the 60-day disabled list.

Detroit signed Martinez in the offseason after he was released by the Houston Astros.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Angels commit three errors on a single play, leading to a Kinsler run for the Tigers

The Los Angeles Angels ... umm ... had a little trouble defensively against the Tigers on Sunday, committing three errors on one sequence of events in the first inning. And it all started with a walk.


Here's the video of the play:

Tigers release shortstop Alex Gonzalez, add Danny Worth to SS mix

DETROIT — The Alex Gonzalez experiment lasted 14 games into the regular season.

He was released outright by the Detroit Tigers on Sunday morning, and Danny Worth was called up from Toledo to take his place in the shortstop rotation.

“Time takes its toll on everyone,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We were hoping the spring in his step had returned. It just didn’t work.”

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tigers split the difference on two replay overturns, and see a net gain

DETROIT — You win some, you lose some.

The Tigers split the difference in replay reviews being overturned in Saturday's game against the Angels.

The one that went in their favor cost them. The one that went against them did not.

Miguel Cabrera was initially called out when he tried to take an extra base in the third inning, testing the arm of Mike Trout in center field. Replays showed Cabrera — who’d reached on an error, when Brennan Boesch dropped his fly ball — slid in to third base before the tag. One batter later, Cabrera trotted home on Austin Jackson’s MLB-best fourth sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ian Stewart was called out trying to steal second, and both teams trotted off the field, before manager Mike Scioscia challenged the call. It, too, was overturned, continuing the inning, but Max Scherzer pitched around it, striking out Erick Aybar.

Romine back at SS again for Tigers, vs. old team, the Angels

Andrew Romine gets a second straight start at shortstop for the Tigers, facing his old team.
There was a method behind manager Brad Ausmus' madness, a reason for giving Romine just his 10th career start against a left-handed pitcher, and his first as a Tiger.

"I have a theory that the first time a traded player faces his old team, there’s a little extra focus, a little extra motivation, facing the team that traded you," Ausmus said of the switch hitter, who was acquired in trade from the Angels in spring training.
"I don’t know if that’s true. It’s just a theory."

He knows this from personal experience?

"Yeah, a little bit. I don’t know what my numbers are after I got traded, against teams that traded me away," the manager said. "I know a year after I got traded from the Rockies to San Diego, I hit a home run off the guy I was traded for (Greg Harris). A year to the day (July 26, 2004). That’s the only thing I remember."

Romine does not have a home run yet in his career — no matter which side of the plate he's hitting from.

CLICK HERE for a column on the shortstop position.

Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Austin Jackson, CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Max Scherzer (0-1, 2.70 ERA)

J.B. Shuck LF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols DH
Raul Ibanez 1B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Ian Stewart 3B
Erick Aybar SS
Hank Conger C
Brennan Boesch RF

Pitcher: C.J. Wilson (2-1, 3.92 ERA)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lineups for Friday's series opener between Tigers and Angels

The lineups for the opener of a three-game series at Comerica Park.

Ian Kinsler 2B
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Austin Jackson CF
Don Kelly 3B
Alex Avila C
Andrew Romine SS
Rajai Davis LF

Pitcher: Drew Smyly LHP

LOS ANGELES ANGELS (7-8) Collin Cowgill RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols 1B
Howie Kendrick DH
Ian Stewart 3B
Erick Aybar SS
Chris Iannetta C
J.B. Shuck LF
John McDonald 2B

Pitcher: Jered Weaver P

NOTE: David Freese was a late scratch at third for the Angels.

Tigers option Tyler Collins to Toledo, call up Justin Miller

DETROIT — With the Tigers scheduled to face a bevy of left-handed starters in the next few games, and Rajai Davis playing nearly every day in left field, anyway, they didn’t need left-handed-hitting outfielder Tyler Collins as much.

And they’ll likely need the extra arm that Justin Miller will provide.

News leaked last night that Miller would be headed to Detroit after the Mud Hens’ game.

Collins made the roster out of spring training, making the jump from Double-A.

He’d appeared in seven games so far, but none in the current homestand, and had two hits in 15 plate appearances.

The Tigers may have use for an extra arm in the bullpen today, considering Drew Smyly is making his first start of the season, and has only thrown a combined 98 pitches in his two relief appearances.

“I haven’t talked about it with Jonesy (pitching coach Jeff Jones) yet, but we’re certainly going to have to watch him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He hasn’t pitched more than three innings since his last start in spring training.”

With Smyly likely to be limited in how deep he can go in Friday’s game, and neither Justin Verlander nor Anibal Sanchez having lasted longer than five innings in the last two games, the Tigers may be adding Miller just to make sure that the onus of picking up that slack doesn’t fall entirely on the shoulders of long reliever Luke Putkonen.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

REPORT: Tigers to promote RHP Justin Miller from Triple-A

DETROIT — The first roster move of the season for the Detroit Tigers came Thursday as, according to a report out of Toledo, the organization promoted right-handed reliever Justin Miller.

The Toledo Blade’s John Wagner reported the move Thursday evening.

The Tigers have announced neither the move, nor the corresponding transaction yet.

A 26-year-old right-handed reliever, Miller is a former Rangers farmhand still coming back from 2012 Tommy John surgery. He was signed to a major league deal by the Tigers in September, after Texas released him.

Miller has not allowed an earned run in four appearances at Toledo, striking out six and walking one.

The Tigers may have use for an extra arm in the bullpen on Friday, considering Drew Smyly is making his first start of the season, and has only thrown a combined 98 pitches in his two relief appearances.

“I haven’t talked about it with Jonesy (pitching coach Jeff Jones) yet, but we’re certainly going to have to watch him,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He hasn’t pitched more than three innings since his last start in spring training.”

With Smyly likely to be limited in how deep he can go in Friday’s game, and neither Justin Verlander nor Anibal Sanchez having lasted longer than five innings in the last two games, the Tigers may be adding Miller just to make sure that the onus of picking up that slack doesn’t fall entirely on the shoulders of long reliever Luke Putkonen.

Evan Reed makes voluntary statement to Detroit Police Department

DETROIT — Evan Reed has not spoken with the media about his inclusion in the Detroit Police Department’s ongoing investigation into the allegations of a sexual assault, but he has now spoken with the police.

His attorneys released the following statement on Thursday:

“Evan Reed and his attorneys, David Gorcyca and Ben Gonek, have been fully cooperating with the Detroit Police Department since the inception of the investigation. Although Evan was under no legal obligation to make a statement, Evan voluntarily appeared at the Detroit Police Department and told the investigators what exactly transpired on March 29th and 30th.”

Reed was on the road with the Tigers on their West Coast swing when the allegations surfaced 10 days ago.

At the time, the pitcher had not yet spoken to his attorneys, but met with both, as well as investigators since the team returned from the trip.

Lineups for Verlander's start vs. Indians, Salazar

Neither team made any changes to the players in their lineup after Wednesday night's game, with the exception of the Indians subbing Carlos Santana in the field.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Austin Jackson, CF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Rajai Davis, LF

Pitcher: Justin Verlander (1-1, 2.57 ERA)

Michael Bourn, CF
Nick Swisher, 1B
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Carlos Santana, 3B
Michael Brantley, LF
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
David Murphy, RF
Yan Gomes, C
Lonnie Chisenhall, DH

Pitcher: Danny Salazar (0-1, 6.75 ERA)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fender introduces Tigers-themed Stratocaster guitar

When Major League Baseball teamed up with Fender to produce collectible, baseball-themed guitars, it made sense that Detroit Tigers — who play home games just a handful of miles from the original Motown studio — would be one of the teams involved.

The Tigers are one of 12 MLB teams included in the initial group to be featured on the Stratocaster guitars, which feature artwork from the city on the body.

“Fender and Major League Baseball are all-American originals,” Fender marketing vice president Justin Norvell said in a press release. “Through this relationship, we’re excited to ‘team up’ to provide one-of-a-kind collectibles for musicians and baseball fans alike. The connections are intrinsic — baseball bats and guitars are both made from maple and ash, and tons of ballplayers are guitar players. We’ve had more casual or informal connections with players and teams for years, so this further solidifies a relationship we’ve long valued and enjoyed.”

The guitars cost $799, and are available on and

Tigers lineup for Wednesday vs. Tribe, as they open nine-game homestand

The Detroit Tigers have played fewer games than any other team in baseball (10 coming in), but finally get to play their 11th on Wednesday (after Tuesday's weather postponement), facing the Cleveland Indians.

The Jackie Robinson Day celebration carries over from Tuesday, thanks to the postponement.

Ian Kinsler 2B
Torii Hunter RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Austin Jackson CF
Nick Castellanos 3B
Alex Avila C
Alex Gonzalez SS
Rajai Davis LF

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez

Michael Bourn CF
Nick Swisher 1B
Jason Kipnis 2B
Carlos Santana DH
Michael Brantley LF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
David Murphy RF
Yan Gomes C
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B

Pitcher: Zach McAllister

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tigers SNOWMYGOSH live chat

With the Tigers and Indians essentially snowed out for Tuesday evening, why not have a live chat? We'll convene at 5 p.m. to chat Tigers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dombrowski to appear for 'Mondays with Bernie' Q&A

It’s only an off day for the players.

While the Detroit Tigers are returning home, getting ready for a 10-game homestand, resting up on Monday, team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski will be a guest at the Mondays with Bernie event.

Dombrowski will join host and WDIV broadcaster Bernie Smilovitz from 7-8 p.m. for a question-and-answer session in front of a live audience at the TAP sports pub’s main dining room in the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit tonight (April 14).

Mondays with Bernie is a weekly event. Admission is free to the public.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Justin Verlander gets his first two career hits

Ben Verlander may have missed the opportunity to tease his older brother, Justin.

After all, now there might be TWO hitters in the family.

Justin Verlander got his first two career hits in Saturday’s game, after coming into the contest 0-for-26 in his career.

Little brother should’ve taken his shots when he had the chance.

Last spring, when Ben went on a home run tear at Old Dominionpart of what eventually got him drafted by the Tigers — Justin knew that he might get teased by his sibling about the difference in their respective hitting prowess.

“No, not yet. I’m sure I’ll get it,” Justin Verlander wryly admitted at the time, recalling the phone conversation with his father during his brother’s three-homer game last spring. “I was getting updates from my dad. ... So I call, and I’m like ‘What the (heck)? This has to be a different experience for you, rooting for home runs.’ He was like, ‘Yeah, no kidding. This is totally different.’ ”

The family hasn’t had the opportunity to cheer for hits by Justin, not for a long time.

“I was all right (at hitting) in high school,” he said.

He’d never reached base in 35 plate appearances over 10 years of interleague play, going hitless, with nine sacrifices to his credit.

Then came Saturday against Padres starter Ian Kennedy. Verlander singled right back through the box — rolling it over the mound, between Kennedy’s legs — with two outs in the second inning. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO)

"A hit! A HIT! JUSTIN GOT A HIT!" Ben Verlander tweeted.

His very next plate appearance, in the fourth, Verlander singled to right with one out in the fourth (and was nearly thrown out by Padres right fielder Chris Denorfia, who was playing shallow.)

"He's a hitting MACHINE! #TipsFromLittleBro" tweeted Ben Verlander, who is hitting .270 in nine games at Class A West Michigan.

In his fourth at-bat, Verlander grounded out to second base.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Miguel Cabrera's ProCamp returns to Lake Orion HS in August

Miguel Cabrera speaks to the participants at his first-ever ProCamp at Lake Orion High School in August 2013. The event drew a one-day record of 365 participants for a baseball event hosted by ProCamps Worldwide. This year's event is set for Aug. 1. (The Oakland Press file photo/TIM THOMPSON)

Last year’s camp was an unqualified success, drawing 365 kids from suburban Detroit to Lake Orion High School.

So Miguel Cabrera will do it again.

The Detroit Tigers slugger, the two-time defending American League Most Valuable Player, will host his ProCamp in Lake Orion on Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Cabrera will be on hand, along with area high school and college coaches, who help teach baseball fundamentals.

Usually, the one-day baseball sessions conducted ProCamps Worldwide have 100-150 participants, but Cabrera’s initial offering last year drew more than twice as many, a record for a one-day baseball event held by the company. (Buster Posey’s drew the same number last year. Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce does a two-day camp that drew 400, while some of the basketball and football camps draw 500 or 600.)

The wait list of 260 people was the largest they'd ever had, too.

“Our community is a baseball hotbed,” said Lake Orion athletic director Bill Reiss, who agreed to the request to host the camp, later having to turn down a Ndamukong Suh camp for the same day. “It seemed like a natural fit.”

The event, open to boys and girls in first through eighth grades, costs $199, which includes a team photo with Cabrera, as well as an autograph. It’s $159, if you use a Citi card, and you can get $10 off by registering online using the “Oakland Press” promotional code.

For more on last year’s event, CLICK HERE.

For more information on this year’s event, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Talking Tigers on SportsTownChicago

I made another guest appearance on on Wednesday, talking Tigers with host Clinton Cole.
Here's the audio from our discussion, which touched on Joe Nathan and the rest of the Tigers' bullpen, as well as Miguel Cabrera's contract, and the outlook for Nick Castellanos (above).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hunter out of Wednesday's lineup vs. Dodgers

As expected, Torii Hunter was not in the lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Dodgers, after leaving Tuesday's game with a knee contusion, just as a precaution. Manager Brad Ausmus told reporters that he might be available to pinch hit, if need be, but he'd like to give him off until the Tigers' first game in San Diego on Friday.
Tyler Collins got the start in right field, replacing Hunter. 
Victor Martinez shifts behind the plate, Miguel Cabrera back to first, and everyone slides back up a spot.

Rajai Davis LF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez C
Austin Jackson CF
Nick Castellanos 3B
Tyler Collins RF
Alex Gonzalez SS
Anibal Sanchez P

Tigers closer Joe Nathan says he has 'dead arm' on radio appearance

As if the Detroit Tigers bullpen didn’t need more bad news.

Already minus one of the expected set-up men, Bruce Rondon, for the season, and beset by inconsistencies through the first six games of the season, the bullpen might have another issue brewing.

Closer Joe Nathan said on MLB Network Radio that he has a “dead arm,” but it “hasn’t hurt (the Tigers) too much.”

Nathan, who has a 6.75 ERA in three appearances — including one converted save and one blown one — in the regular season, was sporting a stim machine after his last outing on Saturday, when he ad the rest of the bullpen nearly allowed a six-run lead to evaporate.

“I think the club has overcome me not throwing as well as I’d like to. I think I’m still at a case of maybe some dead arm going right now. Usually that happens to the middle or later part of spring, and hopefully you get through it. Mine is going more into the season. And I’m still fine-tuning things. Fortunately, it hasn’t hurt us too much, and my tougher outings have still resulted in wins for us,” 
Nathan said on the Mad Dog Sports Radio show on Sirius XM on Wednesday afternoon. “There’s no secret to getting through it quicker, just have to keep throwing. ... Hopefully, one day you come there, and the ball’s coming out of your hand a lot cleaner, and with a little more zip on it.”

The Tigers’ bullpen has allowed nine total runs in the ninth inning — and 11 in the remainder of the innings combined — so far in six games. Detroit’s bullpen ERA of 5.74 ranks 10th in the American League, while it’s .299 batting average allowed is better only than the Houston Astros.

Nathan spoke with reporters in Los Angeles after the radio appearance, and said "it's not even newsworthy," and that he was not concerned at all.
Here are some of the tweets from that conversation:

Here's the audio from the show:

Hunter loses another battle with a wall, exits with left knee contusion

DETROIT — The residuals of throwing his body around like a 29-year-old in the playoffs lingered well into the offseason for Torii Hunter.

Former manager Jim Leyland may have said Hunter was the toughest player he’d ever managed, but the 38-year-old outfielder didn’t feel right until almost the new year, and joked in January that he figured he’d go to spring training at “like 92 percent.”

“There’s no such thing as 100,” he said at the time.

Especially at his age.

Hunter can joke all he wants about being 29 — again — but the reality is that things are going to linger with him longer than they would have in his younger days.

Things like the postseason pounding he put on his own body.

Things like Tuesday’s bang-up, when he slid awkwardly into the wall at Dodger Stadium, chasing after a second-inning foul fly. He appeared to bang his knee into the base of the wall, and stayed down.

He remained in the game for two more innings, leaving before the fifth inning with what was called a left knee contusion by the team. Manager Brad Ausmus told reporters he'd probably rest Hunter for Wednesday's game.

"I don't like little fences. Little fences are dangerous," Hunter told reporters, saying that Tuesday's collision "hurt worse" than his postseason incident.

Hunter is officially ‘day-to-day — and that very well may be the case. 

The percentages, though, at Hunter’s age, say that’s probably not all that logical to expect.

Just look at how long it took to recover from two such instances in the postseason.

First, Hunter jammed his shoulder diving after a ball off the bat of Coco Crisp in the American League Division Series. Then he made the infamous flip — “I went over like a bat out of hell. It was crazy,” he said — into the Fenway Park bullpens, trying to track down David Ortiz’s grand slam.

“It took me until actually a couple weeks ago. Maybe three or four weeks ago,” said Hunter in January. He was getting Toradol injections for his shoulder, even before he took the concussion-inducing tumble over the wall at Fenway. “My lower back — I had so many issues. I was getting up for a month and a half like, ‘Baby, my back!’ Like ‘Baby, my back, my shoulder, my ankles!’”

Chances are, even if Hunter’s current issue is an order of magnitude less than the ones that hampered him in the offseason, the team will be careful with him, choosing to err on the side of caution.

There may be more more of an emphasis on protecting Hunter, as he approaches the age of 40.

Even new manager Brad Ausmus inserted a word of that type of caution Sunday, when talking about Hunter’s hot start.

“The one thing with Torii, with his age, you want to make sure he gets rest, but the plus to the off days we have early in the season is that he gets rest, and can pretty much play every games. If we’re in a stretch of 15 straight games, even if Torii’s hot, we’re probably going to have to take him out of the lineup to rest him. I guess if he’s going to be hot, it’s good that we have some off days to rest him.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Miggy back to cleanup, third base in lineup vs. Dodgers

The Tigers lineup had a different feel on Tuesday, not just because Max Scherzer was in it, under National League rules in effect for this interleague series.
Manager Brad Ausmus was able to keep Victor Martinez's bat in the lineup, not only by subbing the designated hitter back in behind the plate — as he'll likely do at least once on this five-game trip — but at first base, shifting Miguel Cabrera back to the third base position he'd manned for the last two seasons.
Not only that, but Cabrera is back in the cleanup role for the Tigers, a spot that he hadn't manned since Oct. 10, 2011, in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Shortly after Magglio Ordonez was hurt in Game 1 of that series, then-manager Jim Leyland made the decision to slide Cabrera forward a slot to No. 3, and he stayed there throughout the duration of Prince Fielder's time in Detroit, too. He'd hit in the No. 3 spot each game so far this season.
That allowed Rajai Davis to lead off — a spot he started 20 times in with the Blue Jays last year — Ian Kinsler to hit second, and Torii Hunter third. Hunter hit third for the Tigers three times last year when Cabrera missed games due to injury.

Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B,
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Andrew Romine, SS
Max Scherzer, P

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tigers statement on investigation of Evan Reed for alleged sexual assault

The Detroit Tigers issued the following statement in response to Monday's report of sexual assault allegations against relief pitcher Evan Reed:
"DETROIT – The organization is aware of the very serious allegation that has been made against pitcher Evan Reed. This allegation is concerning and we are aware of an on-going investigation. It would be inappropriate for the ballclub to comment further at this time."
For more on this story, CLICK HERE

Statement by Evan Reed's attorney, David Gorcyca broke a story Monday night that Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed was being investigated for a sexual assault that allegedly occurred the day before Opening Day.

Here is the statement released by Reed's attorney, David Gorcyca:

"I was informed this morning that the Detroit Police Department has opened an investigation involving Evan Reed. We are very confident that once a thorough and full investigation is completed, Mr. Reed will have nothing to fear.

During the infancy of this investigation, no one should formulate any conclusions that a crime has been committed. Mr. Reed is currently on a seven-day West Coast road trip and has not been contacted by the Detroit Police Department. We plan on cooperating with the investigation when the time is appropriate. Until then, no further comment will be made by me or Mr. Reed."
For more on this story, CLICK HERE

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Verlander moves into 4th place on Tigers' all-time strikeout list

DETROIT — With a fifth-inning strikeout Sunday, Justin Verlander moves into sole possession of fourth place (past Tommy Bridges) on the Detroit Tigers’ all-time strikeout list with 1,675.

He’s 95 behind Hal Newhouser, 305 behind Jack Morris, 1,004 behind Mickey Lolich on the franchise’s list.

Verlander is 132nd on Major League Baseball's all-time list.


Torii Hunter homers for the third straight game

DETROIT — He said Saturday he was going to ride the bicycle (his hot streak) until the wheels fell off.

Apparently they’re still on, as Torii Hunter had a home run in his third consecutive game, hitting one off Baltimore’s Chris Tillman in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game.

“I’m liking home runs from him right now,” said manager Brad Ausmus, noting that Hunter was 5-for-7 through the end of Saturday’s game, after starting 0-for-9. “Torii doesn’t need any extra confidence. He’s played this game a long time. He understands that, just because he didn’t get a hit in the first couple of games, didn’t mean he wasn’t going to have a good season, or couldn’t turn it around the next day.”

It’s fourth time in his career he’s done so. Hunter has only had one streak of homering in four straight games: Aug. 23-26, 2006.

Lineups for April 6 (Tigers vs. Orioles), as Tigers try to go to 5-0

The Tigers go for their first 5-0 start since 2006, in Sunday's series finale against the Orioles. Miguel Cabrera will DH for the first time this season, with Victor Martinez playing at first. VMart will probably catch at least once, maybe more, on the upcoming interleague road trip.

Bryan Holaday makes his first appearance of the season behind the plate.

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Victor Martinez, 1B
Austin Jackson, CF
Tyler Collins, LF
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Bryan Holaday, C
Andrew Romine, SS

Pitcher: Justin Verlander (0-0, 3.00 ERA)

David Lough, LF
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Matt Wieters, C
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
Ryan Flaherty, SS
Jonathan Schoop, 3B

Pitcher: Chris Tillman (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Expect to see Victor Martinez in the field next week

DETROIT — Brad Ausmus never really has much of a worry, if he ever needs to take Alex Avila out of the lineup.

He’ll worry about it even less over the next week, with the Tigers on the road in National League cities for five games, in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Plan on seeing Victor Martinez behind the plate during that span. You might also see him at first, and Miguel Cabrera back at third.

“Possibly, yeah. We just can’t have Victor’s bat on the bench for that long of a time,” Ausmus said Saturday morning. “A lot of teams are faced with the issue of having only two catchers, and no emergency catcher. We really — Victor can catch, and Victor probably will catch on this West Coast trip, so it’s not like that’s a concern. I’m not overly concerned if I have to take Alex out.”

The Tigers have options, which is how they set things up in spring training.

To start, the Tigers could throw Avila behind the plate, or his backup, Bryan Holaday.

They could start Victor Martinez, too, as they did late in the season last year, in interleague play. [UPDATE: Martinez will probably start at least one game behind the plate on the road trip, after starting at first base Sunday.]

“I always prepare myself like I’m going to be catching every day, knowing that I won’t be able. Whatever they need me, I’ll be there. I feel good, physically, and I always prepare myself for it,” Martinez said before spring training.

“In my mind. Last year, nobody think I was going to catch and then did. Two games, but I did.

“I’m always ready.”

If someone needs to replace a catcher during the game, Holaday is available, as is Don Kelly, on an emergency basis. Kelly has caught in one big-league game, in a blowout loss to the Giants on July 2, 2011.

Ausmus would do that again in a pinch, although he’d prefer to lose the DH and slide Martinez behind the plate, if the occasion arises.

“For example, pinch running for (Avila) the other day. I wasn’t concerned about pinch running for him. Holaday goes in the game, catching, and if something happens to Holaday, I either shift Victor from DH, or it could be Don Kelly, although Victor would be the first choice,” Ausmus said.

“That’s really not a huge issue. We can handle having the pitcher hit for a few innings, if we have to, in that situation.”

Lineups, as Tigers look to go to 4-0 vs. Orioles

Dang, a kid like Nick Castellanos gets the first RBI in his career, and he's benched the next day.
Is it about the baserunning? No, not at all. Click the blue words to see why.
Castellanos was replaced in the lineup by Don Kelly, whose only appearance so far has been as a defensive replacement late in Friday's game.
"Nick didn’t need a day off. Kelly needed a day on," manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was more about getting Kelly into the game. I didn’t want those guys on the bench for too long a period of time where we can’t count on them in big situations. ... With all the off days and rainouts it could be that guys don’t play for two weeks. Just can’t have that. It’s unfair to them."
How about playing right-handed bats Alex Gonzalez and Rajai Davis against Bud Norris, a right-hander who's tough on righties?
"Well, Davis hit a homer yesterday. You can’t bench a guy that hit a homer. And Gonzo’s faced him before," Ausmus said.
Is that a hard-and-fast rule?
"I don’t want to commit to that, but right now, that’s what I’m going with," Ausmus said with a smile.

The Tigers have started the season 3-0 six times in the last 31 years (1984, 1985, 2004, 2006, 2012 and 2014).
Last 4-0 start: 2012. 
Last 5-0 start: 2006. 
Last 6-0 start: 1985. 
Last 7-0 start (also 8-0, 9-0): 1984.

DETROIT TIGERS (3-0) Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Victor Martinez, DH
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Alex Gonzalez, SS
Don Kelly, 3B
Rajai Davis, LF

Pitcher: Rick Porcello

David Lough, LF
Nelson Cruz, RF
Chris Davis, 1B
Adam Jones, CF
Nick Markakis, DH
J.J. Hardy, SS
Matt Wieters, C
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
Jonathan Schoop, 3B

Pitcher: Bud Norris

Friday, April 4, 2014

Miguel Cabrera reaches 2,000-hit plateau in fashion, with a HR

DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera signed a contract with a ton of zeroes that will essentially allow him to be a member of the Detroit Tigers for life.

He’ll go into the Hall of Fame with an Old English D on his cap.

The 30-year-old slugger took another step in that process Friday, going four-for-four to reach the 2,000-hit plateau.

And, in perfectly Miguel Cabrera fashion, his milestone hit was a two-run home run, crushed to left field.

He is the ninth player to reach 2,000 hits before turning 31, joining Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Alex Rodriguez and Robin Yount. He’s the seventh-fastest of that group to get to the mark.


Tigers lose challenge, call upheld after 'involuntary release'

The Tigers lost their first replay review in the fifth inning.

Nick Markakis hit a slow-roller to Ian Kinsler at second base, but Tigers shortstop Andrew Romine appeared to drop the ball when he tried to transfer it from his glove after stepping on second.

Second-base umpire Kerwin Danley ruled the lead runner, Steve Lombardozzi, safe, and manager Brad Ausmus challenged the play.

Two minutes later, after review in New York, the call was upheld.

It was ruled that Romine had an "involuntary release" of the ball, an MLB source said.

Detroit won its first two challenges in Wednesday's game.

Here's the video from Friday's challenge:

Rotation adjustment forces Smyly back into the bullpen — unless rain changes it again

DETROIT — Drew Smyly’s answer was the same as it has been any time the Tigers needed him to change his job description: “Sure.”

With Thursday’s rainout adding to the confusion already in place with three days off in the next 11, Drew Smyly looks like he’s headed back to the bullpen for the next couple of weeks, leaving the Tigers with a four-man starting rotation.

Smyly has always been amenable when the Tigers have approached him in similar situations, his strongest reaction usually amounting to a shrug, and words to the effect of: “I just do what they tell me to.”

No different this time.

“It’s not ideal. I’m sure he was looking forward to his first start. It’s kind of out of our control when it rains,” manager Brad Ausmus said Friday morning. “We talked to him yesterday. He said he was fine with it. It’s not ideal. But he was fine with it. Very professional about it.”

Thursday’s rained out series finale against the Royals was pushed to a mutual off day on June 19.

It could get even messier, depending on how much weather impacts this weekend’s three-game series against the Orioles. Baltimore is not scheduled to return to Detroit this season, meaning officials will do the utmost to wait out weather and try to get something in. If it does get rained out Friday, it’ll probably be mean a double header on Saturday.

Regardless, the game will not be postponed as quickly as the decision was made on Thursday.

“Well it makes easier, when you don’t have to worry about losing your starter, especially Sanchie,” Ausmus said about Thursday’s starter Anibal Sanchez, who was pushed back a day by the quick hook, rather than the worst-case scenario of starting the game, then calling it off. “You know, we still have a little bit of that concern, although not as much today.”

As of Thursday, the Tigers had three rotation scenarios, based on what happened to Friday’s game. One had Smyly going BACK into the rotation, if Friday got rained out, forcing a doubleheader Saturday.

In that event, Sanchez and Rick Porcello would start Saturday’s twinbill, with Justin Verlander starting Sunday.

Lineup for Friday's series opener, Orioles at Tigers [IF NECESSARY]

It's foggy this morning at Comerica Park, but not raining at the moment. According to the radar, there may be one band of weather that passes through Detroit around game time (1 p.m.), but little behind it. Then again, I'm not a meteorologist.

So, for the second straight day, this lineup is [IF NECESSARY].

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Romine, SS
Rajai Davis, LF

Pitcher: Anibal Sanchez


Nick Markakis, RF
David Lough, LF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Steve Clevenger, C
Jonathan Schoop, 3B
Ryan Flaherty, SS
Steve Lombardozzi, 2B

Pitcher: Miguel Gonzalez

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tigers claim LHP Belfiore off waivers from Orioles

The Detroit Tigers claimed left-handed reliever Mike Belfiore off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo.

A former first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2009 draft (45th overall, in the compensation round), Belfiore was the player to be named later in the deal that sent sent third baseman Josh Bell to the Orioles in 2012.

In nearly two seasons in the Orioles' minor-league system, he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning. He made his big-league debut last September, and allowed a pair of solo home runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief against the Red Sox.

He was designated for assignment to clear room for Delmon Young to be added to the Orioles roster, but was considered one of several left-handed relievers who could have seen action with the Orioles this season.

At Double-A in 2012, Belfiore limited left-handers to a .157 batting average, but last year they hit .250 off him at the Triple-A and MLB levels combined.

The Tigers already have a ton of lefty arms at Triple-A Toledo — Duane Below, Casey Crosby, Blaine Hardy, and Nate Robertson — who either will be or could be used in a relief role at the big-league level this season, should the Tigers need it.