June 17th, 2012

Jacob Turner to start Thursday against Cards

So much for the bullpen start idea for Thursday. Instead, it’ll be Jacob Turner facing the Cardinals in his first start for the Tigers this season.

The decision came down too late to get a pregame explanation about it from manager Jim Leyland, but it’s quite possible he just didn’t want to leave his bullpen that stretched, or take the chance that his bullpen would be ready to cover that many innings after Rick Porcello starts Wednesday night.

Turner was winless in three spot starts for the Tigers last season, but pitched decently well in two of them. The 21-year-old went into spring training as one of the favorites to win the open spot in the Tigers rotation, but early spring struggles put him behind before mid-spring shoulder tendinitis left him starting the season in extended spring training rather than Detroit or Toledo. He has 11 starts between Class A Lakeland and the Mud Hens, the last three of them going at least six innings with one earned run each. He allowed four hits and struck out six last Friday against Norfolk to outduel Jamie Moyer.

Avila heading out on rehab assignment with Hens

The rehab assignment is set for catcher Alex Avila, who will become a Toledo Mud Hens for a few days starting Monday night. He’s scheduled to catch five innings Monday and Tuesday night, then serve as the designated hitter on Wednesday. If all goes well, he’ll rejoin the Tigers in time for Thursday’s matinee against the Cardinals.

Fister to start Friday, bullpen day possible Thursday

Doug Fister felt fine this morning after his six scoreless innings of work Saturday, which is pretty much a best-case scenario for the Tigers right now. That said, manager Jim Leyland decided he isn’t going to push his luck, so he’s going to give Fister an extra day of rest and start him Friday night in the series opener at Pittsburgh.

Max Scherzer will also get the extra day then, starting Saturday. Thursday, meanwhile, remains a TBA assignment for the start.

“I’m thinking about making that start a bullpen game, depending on what we have to do before that,” Leyland said. “Sometimes that’s not a bad idea. … That’s just a thought. I’m not saying that’s going to happen.”

One possible reason behind the bullpen start is the increasing chance that they’ll only have to fill the rotation spot once before Drew Smyly comes back. He played catch Saturday and felt good, according to Leyland, and they’re hoping they can schedule him to pitch on June 26, the day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. That would be the second game of the series in Texas.

Sunday: Tigers vs. Rockies

Tigers use a matchup with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to shuffle in some of thier left-handed hitters. Quintin Berry gets a start in left field, batting second, so they’ll have a chance to put their two speed guys back-to-back atop the batting order. Don Kelly starts at third base, getting Miguel Cabrera a day at designated hitter. Leyland said he’ll probably get Prince Fielder a day at DH at some point during the next stretch, when the Tigers play 20 games in 20 days before the All-Star break.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Quintin Berry, LF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Brennan Boesch, RF
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  7. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  8. Don Kelly, 3B
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Max Scherzer

ROCKIES

  1. Eric Young, CF
  2. Marco Scutaro, SS
  3. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
  4. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  5. Jason Giambi, DH
  6. Tyler Colvin, 1B
  7. Jordan Pecheco, 3B
  8. Chris Nelson, 2B
  9. Wil Nieves, C

P: Jeremy Guthrie

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