June 17th, 2013

Monday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Orioles

As you probably heard, Alex Avila is on the disabled list, leaving the Tigers mixing Brayan Pena and Bryan Holaday. Pena makes his first start since last Wednesday in Kansas City.

Not a lot of experience for Tigers hitters against O’s starter Jake Arrieta, so I ended up going with the hot bat with leadoff man Austin Jackson in Beat the Streak. MLB.com writers’ picks can be found here.

Gameday | TV: FS Detroit, MLB.TV | Radio: 97.1 FM, AM 1270, Gameday Audio

TIGERS (career numbers vs. Jake Arrieta)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (1-for-3, K)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (2-for-7, 3 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (1-for-6, 2 K’s)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH (0-for-6, 2 K’s)
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS (1-for-3)
  7. Andy Dirks, LF
  8. Omar Infante, 2B
  9. Brayan Pena, C

P: Max Scherzer

ORIOLES (career numbers off Scherzer)

  1. Nate McLouth, LF (0-for-8, 5 K’s)
  2. Manny Machado, 3B (0-for-4, 2 K’s)
  3. Nick Markakis, RF (4-for-13, 3 walks, 4 K’s)
  4. Adam Jones, CF (8-for-15, HR, 4 K’s)
  5. Chris Davis, 1B (5-for-14, 5 K’s)
  6. Matt Wieters, C (5-for-14, 2 K’s)
  7. J.J. Hardy, SS (3-for-20, HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  8. Chris Dickerson, DH (0-for-6, 4 K’s)
  9. Ryan Flaherty, 2B (0-for-3, K)

P: Jake Arrieta

Tigers place Sanchez, Avila on 15-day DL

As you probably heard already, the Tigers made two DL moves today, placing right-hander Anibal Sanchez (right shoulder strain) and catcher Alex Avila (deep contusion on left forearm) on the 15-day disabled list.

Both are expected to be minimal DL stints. Sanchez returned home on Sunday for an MRI on his right shoulder. The results showed no structural damage. Avila was still waiting for x-rays as of Monday afternoon, but a preliminary exam taken after Sunday’s game came back negative for structural damage.

“I think they will both be ready in two weeks,” Leyland said.

In Avila’s case, both Leyland and Avila think he could be ready in a matter of days, but they can’t afford to go more than a couple days with only one catcher.

“I don’t think it’s broken,” Avila said, “but obviously it’s something that’ll probably take a few days and we can’t leave the team short-handed.”

Bryan Holaday has been recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take Avila’s place. His average has dropped since his torrid May hitting, but with a .259 average and .702 OPS, he’s still enjoying his best offensive season as a pro.

He will not be an emergency catcher. He’s going to play some games, though the mix isn’t quite clear.

“The playing time will be just kind of a gut feel thing for me,” Leyland said.

If it’s a platoon, ironically, it could put Brayan Pena in a stronger role. Though Pena was signed to spell Avila against left-handed starters, he has actually hit better against right-handers (15-for-40, 2 HR, 9 RBIs) this year than lefties (11-for-48, 3 RBIs). Holaday hasn’t faced many lefties in Toledo, but he’s batting .308 (12-for-39, two doubles, triple) against them.

As for Sanchez’s spot, Jose Alvarez will be called up from Triple-A Toledo on Thursday to start the series opener against the Red Sox. Alvarez, of course, made a huge impression in a spot start last homestand, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts against the Indians June 9.

“It looks like we should miss Anibal for two starts and he’ll be right back in there,” Leyland said.

Tigers agree to terms with Knebel

The Tigers added to their draft signings by agreeing to terms with Corey Knebel, the 39th overall selection in the First-Year Player Draft two weeks ago.

The former University of Texas closer said on draft night that he expected a deal to be completed shortly, so a deal had been expected. It took a little longer than fellow Tigers first-round pick Jonathon Crawford, but Knebel is in the fold. Baseball America’s Jim Callis first reported the deal Monday.

Major League Baseball’s slotting system pegged the signing bonus for Knebel’s slot at $1,433,400. Knebel got the full slot value, according to Callis.

Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said earlier this month that the team envisions Knebel as a starter. For the time being, though, he’ll begin his pro career in the bullpen. Knebel is eventually expected to join Crawford and other Tigers draft picks at short-season Class A Connecticut, but will begin working out in Lakeland.