August 7th, 2013

Infante scratched from rehab start with sore left ankle

Omar Infante was scratched from his rehab start for Triple-A Toledo Wednesday night with soreness in his previously sprained left ankle. Whether it’s a day-to-day situation or something that sets him back a little longer remains to be seen.

Infante was originally in the Mud Hens lineup at second base, where he was expected to play seven innings. However, he was scratched at the last minute. According to a Tigers spokesperson, Infante felt “a little soreness” in his ankle, so he was scratched.

Infante had a setback in the ankle when he played second base in his previous rehab assignment last month for Class A West Michigan, but he felt the issue while running the bases. He has felt fine taking ground balls and hitting, and he went 1-for-5 with an infield single as the designated hitter on Tuesday.

The Mud Hens were finishing a two-game series at Columbus Wednesday night, and travel from there to Indianapolis. Infante would most likely follow the team there. The Tigers, meanwhile, finish up in Cleveland Thursday night before heading to New York for a three-game weekend series against the Yankees.

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Indians

More Cleveland 001The Tigers don’t know a whole lot about Danny Salazar, who will make the start for the Indians tonight. He only faced Toledo once in his 13 starts for Triple-A Columbus, and the Tigers don’t have a whole lot of hitters who have made the shuttle from Toledo to Detroit this year. The lefty-righty splits weren’t that big for him in Columbus, so they don’t have that, either. It’s the type of situation that tends to make manager Jim Leyland a little nervous, especially after what Andre Rienzo did to his lineup on Sunday.

Brayan Pena gets the start behind the plate, giving Alex Avila a night off, but the big news is in left field, where Don Kelly gets a second consecutive start.

TIGERS

  1. Austin Jackson, CF
  2. Torii Hunter, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
  4. Prince Fielder, 1B
  5. Victor Martinez, DH
  6. Don Kelly, LF
  7. Brayan Pena, C
  8. Ramon Santiago, 2B
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Doug Fister

INDIANS

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Nick Swisher, RF
  3. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  4. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  5. Michael Brantley, LF
  6. Carlos Santana, 1B
  7. Jason Giambi, DH
  8. Yan Gomes, C
  9. Mike Aviles, 3B

P: Danny Salazar

Tigers release Jose Valverde

For the third time in the last nine months, the Tigers have cut ties with Jose Valverde. This time, it appears to be for good.

The team announced on Wednesday that it has unconditionally released Valverde from his minor-league contract, ending his stint at Triple-A Toledo after just over a month. For much of that time, any chance of his return to Detroit seemed minute. This pretty much formalizes it.

The Tigers brought back Valverde on a minor-league contract after they designated him for assignment in June. His agent, Scott Boras, never said there was an opt-out in the contract, but it was clear there was a timeframe for the Tigers to evaluate him and decide whether to bring him back.

Valverde went 7-for-7 in save chances for the Hens, but he gave up five runs on 14 hits in 11 innings, walking six batters and striking out 10. But the success of Joaquin Benoit in the closer’s role in Detroit pretty well ruled out any chance of Valverde’s return up Interstate 75.

Cabrera hits 100 RBI mark on August 6

It took a few days (ok, it actually took over a week thanks to the abdominal strain), but Miguel Cabrera reached the 100-RBI mark on Tuesday when he doubled in Torii Hunter as part of Detroit’s five-run fifth inning. Even with all that time between RBIs, Cabrera managed to hit the century mark at a record pace for him, and a pretty good pace for the best in the game.

Cabrera had been stuck on 99 RBIs since July 27, when he drove in three runs against the Phillies. He didn’t start in four consecutive games and eight out of 11, but he also had four games without an RBI (though one game was merely a pinch-hit appearance).

Cabrera reached the 100-RBI mark in his 103rd game of the season, and the team’s 111th. Chris Davis, the AL’s RBI leader with 102, reached the century mark in his 108th game, but the Orioles’ 109th. So the issue of pace depends on whether the criteria is the number of games the hitter plays, the number of games his team has played, or the date on the calendar.

Cabrera had 95 RBIs at the Tigers’ 111-game mark last season. He had just 84 RBIs over his first 103 games of the season, though. There’s a case to be made that the abdominal strain and hip flexor Cabrera has been battling for more than a month has derailed what had the makings of a record pace.

Cabrera clinched his 10th consecutive 100 RBI season. He became just the fourth Major League player age 30 or younger with that many 100-RBI seasons. Albert Pujols and Jimmie Foxx put theirs up consecutively as well, while Alex Rodriguez had 10 in his first 11 seasons.

UPDATE: Cabrera is also the third player in Major League history to post 100 RBIs in 10 of his first 11 seasons, joining Pujols and Al Simmons.

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