July 9th, 2013

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. White Sox

Off day after driving back from Cleveland, but here are the lineups, including the first Major League start for Hernan Perez and a rare start against a left-hander for Alex Avila (Leyland said he was going to do this at some point this week, with four lefties slated to face the Tigers over the final six games before the break):

TIGERS (numbers off Jose Quintana)

  1. Austin Jackson, CF (2-for-6, walk)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (1-for-3)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B (1-for-5, walk, 2 K’s)
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B (2-for-6, 2 K’s)
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Jhonny Peralta, SS (1-for-4, walk, K)
  7. Matt Tuiasosopo, LF
  8. Hernan Perez, 2B
  9. Alex Avila, C

P: Justin Verlander

WHITE SOX (career numbers off Verlander)

  1. Alejandro De Aza, CF (3-for-13, 2 HR, walk, 5 K’s)
  2. Alexei Ramirez, SS (11-for-50, HR, 2 walks, 9 K’s)
  3. Alex Rios, RF (8-for-33, 4 walks, 9 K’s)
  4. Adam Dunn, 1B (3-for-20, 2 HR, 10 K’s)
  5. Jeff Keppinger, DH (3-for-6)
  6. Conor Gillaspie, 3B
  7. Dayan Viciedo, LF (0-for-9, 3 K’s)
  8. Gordon Beckham, 2B (5-for-28, HR, 7 K’s)
  9. Josh Phegley, C

P: Jose Quintana

Tigers put Infante on DL, recall Hernan Perez

The Tigers had been hoping they avoided serious injury with Omar Infante after Colby Rasmus’ takeout slide last week in Toronto. It just wasn’t the injury they were expecting.

After six days of waiting and hoping for a return, Detroit placed its second baseman on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sprained left ankle. The move is retroactive to last Thursday, the day after Rasmus slid into Infante’s left leg in Toronto trying to break up a double play.

By backdating the move, the Tigers could bring back Infante as soon as next Friday for their first game out of the All-Star break. Before they do that, though, he’s going to have to make progress from an ankle injury that has proven more serious than initially thought.

The more severe injury to Infante out of the collision was a bruised left shin, which left him on crutches immediately afterwards. Infante also felt part of the impact on his ankle, but didn’t believe it to be a major issue.

While the shin healed up within a few days, the ankle hasn’t gotten any better. He hasn’t been able to hit off a tee, let alone run on it, which led the team medical staff to have him undergo an MRI exam Tuesday in Detroit.

“I did some light running [Monday], but it wasn’t easy,” Infante said late Monday night. “I can’t run or jog. I can’t do nothing.”

Infante has been an underrated presence in the Tigers offense despite hitting near the bottom of the order most nights. His .309 batting average ranks third among AL second basemen to go with 18 doubles, six home runs, 27 RBIs and 38 runs scored.

Utility infielder Ramon Santiago has filled in better than expected in his place, providing a key two-RBI single Friday in Cleveland, but is 4-for-20 in five starts during Infante’s absence.

The DL move opened the opportunity for infield prospect Hernan Perez to get the call from Double-A Erie to fill in for the week, giving the 22-year-old speedster a taste of the Majors for a week without much pressure. Already a well-regarded defender, Perez earned an Eastern League All-Star selection with a breakout season at the plate, entering Tuesday with a .300 average, 28 doubles, four home runs and 35 RBIs in 86 games. He has stolen 24 bases in 31 attempts, three off his career best from last season.

Fielder back in Derby, but what about Cabrera?

Prince Fielder will defend his crown in next Monday’s Home Run Derby. Whether Miguel Cabrera joins him remains to be seen.

Cabrera essentially confirmed Monday night that the open spot on the American League’s Derby roster is waiting on him and his back.

“He asked me already, so we’re waiting to see how my back’s feeling,” Cabrera said. “Hopefully I can do it.”

This is the same back issue that led manager Jim Leyland to rest Cabrera on Thursday. When Cabrera returned to action on Friday, Leyland said he wasn’t at 100 percent. Cabrera said AL captain Robinson Cano asked him a week ago, so his back issue dates back at least that long.

“I hope he can wait or he can have somebody else be ready,” Cabrera said. “He talked to me one week ago for that. I tell him, ‘Maybe I’ll do it, but you’ve got to put Prince on there. You’ve gotta put Prince first, then me.’ He won last year, so he deserves to be there again.”

Prince’s status was never in question. He loves the Derby, and his two crowns makes him an easy choice.

“I want to have fun, but obviously you want to win,” Fielder said. “We’re all competitors. I just want to win to have my boys stand up there with me. That’s the only reason I like winning, so that they can experience it. It’s really fun for them, and I have fun seeing how much fun it is for them.”

If Cabrera takes part, he and Fielder will be the second pair of teammates in this year’s Derby, joining Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. The 2011 Derby had two pairs of teammates as well with Fielder joining fellow Brewer Rickie Weeks against Red Sox David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez.