April 20th, 2012

Tigers-Rangers rained out, doubleheader Saturday

The Tigers will have to wait a day to resume their American League Championship Series rematch with the Rangers. A line of showers passing through Michigan slowed over Detroit Friday night, washing out the second game of this four-game set.

The game will be made up in a day-night doubleheader Saturday at Comerica Park. The first game will be at 1:05 p.m. ET, with the nightcap coming at 7:05. Tickets and parking passes for Friday’s game will be honor for the Saturday night game. No ticket exchange is necessary.

Both games will be telecast on Fox Sports Detroit.

The pitching matchups will be remain the same. Rick Porcello and Matt Harrison, Friday’s scheduled starters, will pitch the day game on Saturday. Justin Verlander and Neftali Feliz will be pushed back to the nightcap.

The Tigers and Rangers took batting practice in 70-degree weather, albeit under cloudy skies. The skies opened up about an hour before game time and didn’t let up before the game was called at 7:30 p.m. ET, 25 minutes after the scheduled start time.

The weather system looked like a thin line of showers extending south and west, but it wasn’t moving west to east very quickly. Moreover, the line of storms seemed to thicken as the day went on. If the teams had waited, they would’ve been left with a late-night game before a day game on Saturday.

Given the alternative, they opted for the doubleheader under forecasted clear skies Saturday. This is the Rangers’ only scheduled series at Comerica Park, so they would’ve otherwise had to find a common off-day for Texas to travel back to Detroit later in the season.

Leyland: Fister likely won’t be ready until May

The good news from the Tigers on Doug Fister is that he was feeling better Friday morning than he did Thursday afternoon, a sign that the pain is going away in his left side. If he feels better this weekend, the Tigers will likely have him start playing catch again.

The bad news? He’ll be on a slow progression from there. At this point after his pain last week, he has missed enough time that they’re not going to try to fast-track him and risk a full-blown aggravation that could sideline him long-term.

When asked if Fister’s return is getting pushed back into May, Leyland said, “It certainly looks that way. That’ll all be down the road now.”

Friday: Tigers vs. Rangers

Not sure if Brennan Boesch’s day at DH has anything to do with last night’s game, but Ryan Raburn is getting the start in right field.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Brennan Boesch, DH
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Ryan Raburn, RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Alex Avila, C
  9. Brandon Inge, 2B

P: Rick Porcello

RANGERS

  1. Ian Kinsler, DH
  2. Elvis Andrus, SS
  3. Josh Hamilton, CF
  4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
  5. Michael Young, 2B
  6. Nelson Cruz, RF
  7. David Murphy, LF
  8. Mike Napoli, C
  9. Mitch Moreland, 1B

P: Matt Harrison

Tigers re-acquire Zach Miner from Royals (updated)

A year and a half after the Tigers parted ways with starter/reliever Zach Miner, he’s back in the organization. Detroit re-acquired the now 30-year-old right-hander from Kansas City in exchange for cash.

Miner will report this weekend to Double-A Erie, where the Tigers were in need of pitching help.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star first reported the trade Friday morning. The Tigers later confirmed the deal.

“I’m very excited to be coming back,” Miner wrote Friday in an email to MLB.com. “Regardless of what level I’ll be pitching at, the opportunity to prove I’m healthy and ready to be a big league pitcher again is all I can really ask for.”

Miner is best known among Tigers fans for his surprising performance in Detroit’s rotation in the summer of 2006, filling in for injured Mike Maroth. He became a swing starter/reliever for the Tigers, mainly in the big leagues, for the next three years, including one spot start on May 17, 2007, when he flew from Toledo to Boston on short notice early in the morning and made an emergency start at Fenway Park that day when Maroth was seriously ill.

Miner hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2009. He was expected to be part of Detroit’s bullpen in 2010 before what appeared to be a minor arm injury in spring training turned out to be a torn elbow ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery.

Miner signed a minor-league contract with Kansas City after the 2010 season, hoping for his best shot at getting back to the Majors. He split last year between Double-A Northwest Arkansas as a starter (1-6, 7.16 in 11 starts) and Triple-A Omaha as a reliever (2-1, 1.59 in 12 games).

Miner has yet to pitch in a game this season. He reportedly had a clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent if he’s not on a 25-man Major League roster by May 15, according to the Kansas City Star.

“My hope is to make it a non issue and earn may way back to Detroit,” Miner responded, “because there really is nowhere else I’d want to play right now.”

While pitching at Double-A isn’t the ideal destination for Miner at this point in his career, it’s where the Tigers desperately need help. The SeaWolves entered Friday ranked next-to-last in the Eastern League with a 5.05 ERA, including a league high of 60 walks over 114 innings. They’ve used 15 pitchers already.

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