June 9th, 2012

Pitching updates: Fister could start Wednesday

The pitching news coming out of Saturday’s win was a little bit surprising. Manager Jim Leyland decided to go ahead and move Justin Verlander up to start Thursday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on his standard four days’ rest, despite 127 pitches over six innings against the Reds this afternoon. The extra rest for Verlander before this start was a big factor.

When asked if that means Rick Porcello will have his start moved up to Wednesday, however, Leyland said he wants to wait and see on Doug Fister, who had an encouraging session here. Fister is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, so he could start the middle game of the series at Wrigley.

Fister is dealing with a left side strain coming out of his Memorial Day start at Fenway Park. He has been throwing off of flat ground, but throwing hard. If he feels good in a mound session, that could be the trigger that gets on out on the mound again as soon as possible.

No word on how far Porcello would be pushed back if Fister’s ready, or if Casey Crosby would move to the bullpen.

UPDATE: Sunday’s Tigers notes list Porcello as the scheduled start for Wednesday. Will check during pregame interviews later today to see if that’s now a lock.

On the bullpen front, Octavio Dotel said he’s feeling better, but still not ready to go. He’s hoping that if he feels good throwing on Sunday, he can be available in the bullpen Tuesday in Chicago.

 

Saturday: Tigers at Reds

Austin Jackson returns to the starting lineup. Quintin Berry does not move to the corners. Instead, he’ll be available off the bench. Unless something changes, that seems to be Berry’s role for the rest of this trip.

“It is what it is. He’s an extra player on the bench,” Jim Leyland said in his pregame remarks. “I’m not going to take Boesch out. Hopefully we’ve got him going. I’m not going to take Delmon out.”

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, cf
  2. Brennan Boesch, rf
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3b
  4. Prince Fielder, 1b
  5. Delmon Young, dh
  6. Ramon Santiago, ss
  7. Gerald Laird, c
  8. Danny Worth, 2b
  9. Justin Verlander, p

REDS

  1. Zack Cozart, ss
  2. Chris Heisey, cf
  3. Joey Votto, 1b
  4. Brandon Phillips, 2b
  5. Jay Bruce, rf
  6. Ryan Ludwick, lf
  7. Todd Frazier, 3B
  8. Ryan Hanigan, c
  9. Bronson Arroyo, p

Jackson activated from DL, plus other moves

Austin Jackson’s on his way to Cincinnati after two rehab games up the road for Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers, as expected, activated their center fielder from the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning. But they had more moves in store.

All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta, whose wife has been expecting with their first child, has been placed on paternity leave so that he can join her at their home in Cleveland. With just two infielders on the 40-man roster who aren’t with the big club already — and just-demoted and currently injured Ryan Raburn being the other one — the Tigers recalled second-base prospect Hernan Perez from Class A Lakeland.

The 20-year-old Perez is batting .252 (53-for-210) with two home runs, 53 RBIs and 11 stolen bases for the Flying Tigers. One would expect that he’ll be on the bench in an as-needed role while Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth handle the middle infield spots.

That said, if Perez does get into a game, he’ll become the 40th person to play for the Tigers this season.

UPDATE: To make room for Jackson, the Tigers have optioned Jose Ortega back to Toledo. That seems to be more of a statement about getting by with Justin Verlander on the mound Saturday than it is about Octavio Dotel being ready to return. The available relievers for sure are Valverde, Benoit, Below, Marte and Villarreal.

Dotel day-to-day with elbow inflammation

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said going into Friday’s series opener against the Reds that he was not going to use Joaquin Benoit under any circumstances Friday night. He was throwing in the bullpen as the Reds were putting together their game-winning rally, but he was apparently doing that on his own.

By comparison, Leyland said nothing about Octavio Dotel. But as Friday’s game went on, including Jose Ortega’s Major League debut with the tying run on base in the eighth inning, it became evident that Dotel wasn’t available. He never threw so much as a warmup pitch.

Dotel was dealing with inflammation in his right elbow. It came up during his last outing last Saturday against the Yankees at Comerica Park, and it lingered into the week, to the point that doctors checked out his elbow Thursday to make sure there wasn’t any structural damage.

No damage, but still no pitching yet.

“It’s a little bit better,” Dotel said after Friday’s loss. “How much, I really can’t tell. Hopefully tomorrow it’s more.”

Leyland isn’t one to use injuries as an excuse, but he also didn’t talk about this one until it was plainly obvious. The fact that the Tigers didn’t have much of any leads to protect until Thursday kind of helped the Tigers along in those efforts.

 

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