September 3rd, 2010

Waiting to see on Tigers pitching front

The Twins called up some extra pitching help after they used up their bullpen and their previously scheduled Friday starter in Thursday night’s 13-inning battle. Will the Tigers have to do the same?

Manager Jim Leyland wasn’t sure immediately after Thursday’s win at Target Field, but he hinted that it might be at least a discussion with team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski.

Before Thursday’s game, Leyland indicated they could have one more call-up ready, and maybe one extra, when Triple-A Toledo’s season ends on Labor Day. Among the pitchers still left at Triple-A Toledo, starter Andy Oliver and relievers Fu-Te Ni and Jay Sborz are currently on the 40-man roster. Ni just return from a month-long stay on the disabled list to pitch for the Mud Hens Thursday, while Sborz just went on the 7-day DL for the Hens. Detroit could also move one of their injured players from the 15-day to 60-day DL and add somebody to the 40-man if needed, such as Casey Fien.

Or they could decide to do nothing. Neither Ryan Perry nor Daniel Schlereth pitched Thursday, and Alfredo Figaro should be available after his short stint. They’re certainly in better shape than the Twins, who lost starter Scott Baker after just two innings.

That might be their course of action. Tigers game notes just came out, and they don’t include any roster moves.

I’m off this weekend, back home for some downtime and a little fantasy football planning, but I might jump online now and then.

Peralta picks up team at first base

Jim Leyland was asked after Thursday’s win if Jhonny Prealta had any experience at first base.

“He has now,” Leyland answered with a smile.

He has quite an experience, indeed.

And that’s the extent of his time there. Until he shifted over from third base in the eighth inning, he had never played at first base — not in the Majors, not in the minors, not ever.

“Never,” Peralta said afterwards. “Never in my life. It surprised me, too. Big surprise.”

It was a matter of the Tigers doing what they needed to do to get back into a ballgame. Starting first baseman Miguel Cabrera left in the sixth inning with bicep tendinitis in his left shoulder. Ryan Raburn pinch-hit for Don Kelly in the top of the eighth and followed Peralta’s home run with a solo shot of his own.

Brandon Inge, who pinch-hit for Brennan Boesch in the same inning, moved to third base. Raburn replaced Boesch in the outfield. Leyland told Peralta he was going to first. There wasn’t really much time for debate.

As Leyland has said before, if you can play shortstop, you can play anywhere. And Peralta turned in a critical play when he fielded a sharp grounder from Alexi Casilla in the ninth and added another big grab in the 12th.

“It’s kind of similar,” Peralta said, “but first base, I think it’s a little bit busy. You need to worry about maybe throwing it to second, short and third. But I mean, I think I can feel really good at first base, too. They gave me a couple ground balls, and I felt really good.”

Cabrera leaves with left biceps tendinitis

The Tigers pulled out a dramatic win over the Twins Thursday night with Miguel Cabrera on the bench. But if they’re going to do much more down the stretch, they have to hope that their star slugger and American League MVP candidate can return quickly from his bout of bicep tendinitis in his left shoulder.

For now, Cabrera is listed as day-to-day, and manager Jim Leyland said they weren’t sure yet whether he’d be available for Friday night’s game at Kansas City. 

“I’m a little worried,” Cabrera said after the game, “but I think I’m going to be OK. They took good care of me.”

Cabrera said he started feeling some soreness in his shoulder during Tuesday’s series opener, but played through it. It was a little worse Wednesday, but by Thursday, he said, “it was a little pinch.”

It was enough that it was altering his swing. Cabrera struck out in each of his first two at-bats and would’ve hit into an inning-ending double play his third time up had Will Rhymes not beaten Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy to second base.

Once Cabrera came back in the dugout for the sixth inning, he had a lengthy talk with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, then walked up the stairs from the Tigers’ dugout into the clubhouse in the top of the sixth inning with Rand at his side. He did not come out when the Tigers took the field for the bottom of the inning. Don Kelly moved from left field to replace him at first base, with Casper Wells entering the game.

Of all the injuries the Tigers have had to endure this season, any loss of Cabrera would be huge. He leads the Major Leagues with 108 RBIs to go with a .336 batting average and 33 home runs, both second in the AL. Cabrera has been one of just two constants in the Tigers’ offensive production along with rookie leadoff man Austin Jackson.<p>

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