ST. PETERSBURG — Tigers manager Jim Leyland has spent the last couple of days visiting Rays senior advisor and old friend Don Zimmer in the hospital, as he recovers from four-hour back surgery he had on Wednesday. Leyland said Zimmer is doing better. How does he know this? “He’s still grumpy,” joked Leyland, who shared an assortment of Zimmer stories before Saturday’s game.
* Leyland confirmed he’ll give Fernando Rodney a day off after throwing 35 pitches on Friday night. The 32-year-old right-hander has pitched in four of the last six days. Either righty Brandon Lyon or lefty Bobby Seay will likely get the ball if Saturday presents a save situation. Leyland is kicking around probably giving Rodney Sunday off, too. That would give him at least three days without entering a game, with Monday being an off-day.
* Leyland on Rodney chucking the ball into the press box after his latest save: “It doesn’t bother me at all because … obviously, there was no intent to do anything wrong. I’ve seen 30 balls thrown in the stands during batting practice every night, I’ve seen third-base coaches throw them into the stands, over the dugout. I don’t pay any attention to that kind of stuff.”
* The rotation after this series: Rick Porcello on Tuesday, Justin Verlander on Wednesday, Jarrod Washburn on Thursday and Edwin Jackson (Sunday’s starter) on Friday. Porcello would be on normal rest for Sunday, possibly leaving Saturday open for either Armando Galarraga or Nate Robertson. Leyland said Robertson is “on hold.”
* Utility man Don Kelly, recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Saturday, was in the visiting clubhouse at Tropicana Field. He’ll be a welcome addition after the Tigers used all four of their lefty hitters on Friday. The Tigers were originally planning on bringing him up on Tuesday, but after what happened Friday, they hurried him along.
* The Tigers likely won’t be calling up any more players this month, but Toledo Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish will join the club at some point.
* Dontrelle Willis will make one more start for Triple-A Toledo tonight, as their season comes to an end on Monday.
– Alden Gonzalez