May 12th, 2014
While some of us were scrambling to get into Baltimore amidst the storms hitting the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, the Tigers were trying to beat the weather with Anibal Sanchez in his last big hurdle before returning to the Tigers rotation. He was originally scheduled to pitch a simulated game tomorrow, but with the forecast looking ugly, the Tigers moved it up to early this afternoon.
Sanchez threw 60 pitches to Tigers hitters over four simulated innings, or a quartet of 15-pitch innings, and felt fine. Sanchez said he was able to work on all his pitches as well as his mechanics without any problem. The blister on his right middle finger has long since gone, and the skin has regrown, so there wasn’t really much question about his readiness.
“His stuff looked good,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Everything was thumbs-up. We’ll wait and see how he feels tomorrow.”
Sanchez said he has no question he’ll feel fine tomorrow. He said he remains on track to pitch Sunday night against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Ausmus would not directly answer whether Sanchez would replace Ray, but he left the distinct impression that’s the likely option. One option he did dismiss was putting Ray in the bullpen full-time, though he said he could use Ray later on this week in a relief spot if they’re in a pinch.
“I think he needs to pitch as a starting pitcher,” Ausmus said. “He needs to learn and grow.”
Back on the beat for the road trip starting in Baltimore, where it’s a summer kind of steamy today and temperatures are supposed to still be above 70 around game time with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. The Tigers go with their standard lineup against Bud Norris. The Orioles have Delmon Young at designated hitter.
TIGERS (career numbers off Bud Norris)
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-5, walk)
- Torii Hunter, RF (3-for-9, 2 doubles, HR, 2 K’s)
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-9, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
- Victor Martinez, DH (2-for-9, HR)
- Austin Jackson, CF (2-for-3)
- Nick Castellanos, 3B
- Alex Avila, C (0-for-8, 3 K’s)
- Andrew Romine, SS
- Rajai Davis, LF (1-for-4, K)
P: Rick Porcello
ORIOLES (career numbers against Porcello)
- Nick Markakis, RF (9-for-21, double, HR, 3 walks, K)
- Manny Machado, 3B (2-for-7, walk, K)
- Adam Jones, CF (3-for-21, 6 K’s)
- Chris Davis, 1B (5-for-15, 3 HR, 5 K’s)
- Nelson Cruz, LF (4-for-23, 6 K’s)
- J.J. Hardy, SS (7-for-17, double, 4 K’s)
- Steve Clevinger, C (2-for-3, double)
- Delmon Young, DH (8-for-22, 2 doubles, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
- Jonathan Schoop, 2B (0-for-2, K)
P: Bud Norris