August 21st, 2012

Fister dealing with groin injury, next start iffy

When Jim Leyland was asked today if he has ever had a team with as many rotation injuries as what the Blue Jays have dealt with, his answer eventually drifted to his own team. That might have been a pretty good hint that something wasn’t right.

Then Leyland updated the situation on Doug Fister, who is dealing with what Leyland called a “groin issue.”

It’s a big enough issue that neither Leyland nor Fister is certain he’ll make his next scheduled start on Saturday.

“We’re taking it day by day,” Fister said.

The tightness was a problem on Fister’s warmup pitches before his opening inning Sunday against Baltimore, but he was able to pitch through it without making it any worse.

“I felt it a little bit early on,” Fister said. “It ended up feeling tight afterwards.”

What happens if Fister can’t go isn’t clear. Triple-A Toledo was rained out Monday night, so the only pitcher who’s close to being on turn for Saturday is Adam Wilk, who started for the Mud Hens on Sunday. Drew Smyly last pitched last Friday, and he hasn’t pitched through the fifth inning since he started pitching again near the end of July.

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Blue Jays

Ricky Romero is 0-9 with a 7.62 ERA in his last 10 starts, with opponents hitting .307 off him in that stretch. Left-handed hitters are actually batting for a higher average (.293) against him this year than righties (.245). If there’s a lefty the Tigers should be able to rough up, he’s the guy. The Tigers will use their righty-loaded lineup against him and bat Andy Dirks eighth.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Omar Infante, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  6. Delmon Young, DH
  7. Jeff Baker, RF
  8. Andy Dirks, LF
  9. Gerald Laird, C

P: Max Scherzer

BLUE JAYS

  1. Rajai Davis, LF
  2. Colby Rasumus, CF
  3. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  4. David Cooper, 1B
  5. Yunel Escobar, SS
  6. Kelly Johnson, 2B
  7. Omar Vizquel, 3B
  8. Jeff Mathis, C
  9. Anthony Gose, RF

P: Ricky Romero

Raburn heading for rehab assignment with Toledo

For those who thought you might have seen the last of Ryan Raburn when he went on the disabled list August 1, it might be time to think again. The Tigers announced they are sending him out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, beginning Wednesday. He went on the DL with a sprained right thumb.

Jim Leyland said later Tuesday he sent word to Toledo to have Raburn playing primarily in left field, with a game at second and first base now and then.

By rule, Raburn can stay on rehab for as long as 20 days, but the Mud Hens season ends on Labor Day in less than two weeks. Two days before that, Major League rosters expand for September call-ups, giving the Tigers an option to activate him from the DL without having to send down anyone. At this point, as long as he’s healthy, it would be a surprise if he isn’t on the roster in September, either at the start of the month or after Labor Day.

Leyland hinted at the possibility when he continued talking about the plan on Raburn. On the positional work, he said, “That’s all irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. The fact of the matter is he has to swing the bat.”

Whether he would get any starts as an extra right-handed hitting outfielder is questionable. The way the Tigers roster looks right now, they have to start at least one left-handed hitter in the outfield unless they put Delmon Young in left and start an infielder at DH. That’s not going to happen, with Young pretty much entrenched at DH for the stretch run. Andy Dirks is 8-for-35 with two home runs against left-handers this year, but those numbers are better than what Raburn was doing off lefties (14-for-85, eight doubles, no homers, 17 strikeouts).

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