April 26th, 2014
For two-plus innings Saturday, Anibal Sanchez had no-hit stuff and what looked like a real chance to carry it through. By the end of the afternoon, he was on the disabled list, and the Tigers were looking at another loss to their already taxed pitching staff.
The blister that knocked Sanchez out of Saturday’s game in the third inning will keep him out for at least the next couple weeks. The Tigers medical staff made a quick determination, and the Tigers made a quick roster move, placing him on the 15-day DL with a lacerated right middle finger.
Justin Miller, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo Saturday morning to bring up a fresh arm (Jose Ortega ended up with a wild outing), is being recalled to take Sanchez’s roster spot and will be available in the bullpen Sunday. Normally, Miller would’ve had to spend 10 days in the minors before he could rejoin the Tigers, but that rule is waived when replacing a player who isplaced on the DL.
Miller was not in the Mud Hens clubhouse at Fifth Third Field prior to their game Saturday night. The Hens had been hoping to have him Sunday.
Replacing Sanchez in the rotation is a more complicated story. The Tigers had planned on using their two scheduled off-days next week to go with a four-man rotation and put Drew Smyly in the bullpen for a little while. Now, they can still use a four-man rotation, but with Smyly in it, filling Sanchez’s spot next Friday at Kansas City.
Beyond that, it’s mixed news. The good news is that the Tigers don’t need a fifth starter until May 6. The bad news is that they’ll need that starter for two turns. That spot will come back up in the rotation May 11, but Sanchez isn’t eligible to come off the DL until May 12 at the earliest.
The only Mud Hens starter who’s currently on the 40-man roster is Kyle Lobstein, and he has yet to record a quality start in five tries, including Saturday. Robbie Ray has made the strongest case by looking good in three out of four starts, including 8 1/3 shutout innings with seven strikeouts on Wednesday, but the Tigers would have to create a 40-man roster spot to add him.
If Ray were to get the call, he’d be making his Major League debut. Considering the hubbub that lingers over the Doug Fister trade, it would likely be a much-scrutinized debut, probably too much so.
The last time Miguel Cabrera faced Phil Hughes, he turned on a pitch six inches inside and sent it into the left-field seats at Yankee Stadium. He enters today batting an even .500 against Hughes, who has given up a good amount of damage in four starts wearing a Twins uniform.
Alex Avila is not in the lineup today after leaving Friday’s game with a left shin contusion. Bryan Holaday gets the start behind the plate.
After using up a good chunk of the bullpen for Friday’s 10-6 win, the Tigers made a pregame move to regain some short-term depth, recalling Jose Ortega from Triple-A Toledo and optioning Justin Miller back to the Mud Hens. Ortega pitched an inning for the Hens last night, but it was his first outing in four days, so he should be relatively fresh. Two relievers have pitched in back-to-back outings going into Saturday, but they’re two pretty key relievers in closer Joe Nathan and setup man Joba Chamberlain. Nathan hasn’t pitched three straight games as a Tiger, but he did so a handful of times last year in Texas, including a couple stretches where he pitched in four straight games.
TIGERS (career numbers off Phil Hughes)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-16, 2 doubles, triple, 2 walks, K)
- Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-15, double, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (14-for-28, 3 doubles, 5 HR, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (7-for-22, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
- Austin Jackson, CF (5-for-20, triple, HR, walk, 6 K’s)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Andrew Romine, SS
- Bryan Holaday, C
- Rajai Davis, LF (6-for-21, 3 doubles, walk, 3 K’s)
P: Anibal Sanchez
TWINS (career numbers off Sanchez)
- Brian Dozier, 2B (1-for-12, walk, 3 K’s)
- Joe Mauer, DH (5-for-13, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
- Trevor Plouffe, 3B (3-for-12, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
- Chris Colabello, 1B (0-for-4, 4 K’s)
- Jason Kubel, LF (0-for-3, 3 K’s)
- Josmil Pinto, C
- Sam Fuld, RF
- Aaron Hicks, CF (0-for-6, walk, 3 K’s)
- Eduardo Escobar, SS (0-for-2, walk, K)
P: Phil Hughes