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Soria throws off mound, could move to fast track for return

Tigers reliever Joakim Soria could conceivably be on track for a quick return — maybe within the next week or so — after throwing a lengthy mound session Friday afternoon at Comerica Park.

Soria threw 39 pitches by his count without any lingering pain in the strained left oblique that landed him on the disabled list four weeks ago. He had felt lingering soreness in the oblique after throwing long enough until his last bullpen session a few weeks.

Now, he says, “I don’t feel anything. I threw 39 pitches and everything feels good.”

That was encouraging news for manager Brad Ausmus, but he wasn’t ready to write in Soria for the next step in his rehab until seeing how he feels Saturday.

Soria, for his part, indicated the next step is to face hitters.

“Maybe we’ll throw live [batting practice] Monday and then we go from there,” Soria said.

With the minor-league regular seasons over, any work with hitters is likely to happen on the side with the team rather than on a rehab assignment. The only two affiliates still playing as of Friday were Class A West Michigan, which faced a deciding Game 3 to its postseason series against Fort Wayne Friday night, and short-season Class A Connecticut.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have enough extra hitters with expanded September rosters that they can set up a simulated game.

Soria, clearly pushing for a quick return, does not expect he’ll need much time against hitters to be ready.

“It’s not like [the injury] was something in my arm,” he said. “My arm is still in shape. My arm feels good. It depends on how they see me in the bullpen.”

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Giants

Miguel Cabrera makes his return to first base for the first time since last Saturday in Chicago, a move that appears to involve getting Victor Martinez a day out of the field as much as Cabrera getting back into the field. It’s going to be a mix from here on out.

“It’s going to be a balancing act with Miggy’s ankle and Victor over there at first,” Ausmus said.

Alex Avila, however, remains off, after what Ausmus called a minor headache following a workout yesterday.

“We want to have a day when he’s completely symptom-free,” Ausmus said Friday afternoon. “Yesterday when he started getting active, he had a minor headache. It might be unrelated, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Bryan Holaday starts behind the plate once again. Asked about James McCann, Ausmus reiterated what he said in Cleveland, that McCann’s lack of work with most of the Tigers pitching staff outside of Spring Training (and his relatively little knowledge on Major League hitters) makes him a lower option as a starter, though he could get a start soon if Avila remains out and Holaday needs a break.

“Triple-A to the big leagues is a big jump,” Ausmus said, “and it’s a bigger job when you’re talking about handling a pitching staff.”

Torii Hunter returns after being out of the starting lineup last night in Cleveland to rest his bruised left foot.

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

TIGERS (career numbers against Jake Peavy)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-10, double, triple, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (9-for-21, 2 doubles, triple, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (16-for-49, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 4 walks, 15 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (4-for-12, 2 HR, K)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (2-for-3, double)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-10, 2 K’s)

P: Rick Porcello

GIANTS (career numbers off Porcello)

  1. Angel Pagan, CF (2-for-2, double)
  2. Joe Panik, 2B
  3. Buster Posey, C
  4. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (1-for-4, double, 2 K’s)
  5. Hunter Pence, RF
  6. Gregor Blanco, LF (2-for-10, walk, 4 K’s)
  7. Travis Ishikawa, 1B (1-for-3, 2 K’s)
  8. Adam Duvall, DH
  9. Brandon Crawford, SS (0-for-4)

P: Jake Peavy

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers at Indians

Miguel Cabrera finishes out the series as the DH, but Alex Avila remains out. Meanwhile, two September call-ups get starts in the finale. Tyler Collins, who started three games in April after making the Opening Day roster, fills in for Torii Hunter. Collins gets the start in right over fellow September callup Steven Moya. Meanwhile, Hernan Perez starts at short, giving Eugenio Suarez — 3-for-26 since last Tuesday — the night off.

TIGERS (career numbers off Trevor Bauer)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-9, HR, K)
  2. Tyler Collins, RF
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-9, 2 doubles)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (3-for-8, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (2-for-6, K)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-8, double, K)
  7. Bryan Holaday, C
  8. Hernan Perez, SS (1-for-4, HR, walk, K)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF

P: Max Scherzer

INDIANS (career numbers against Scherzer)

  1. Michael Bourn, CF (7-for-26, double, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF (14-for-41, 7 doubles, triple, HR, 3 walks, K)
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B (3-for-37, double, 6 walks, 7 K’s)
  5. Jason Kipnis, 2B (5-for-28, double, 4 walks, 10 K’s)
  6. Yan Gomes, C (2-for-5, 2 K’s)
  7. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B (5-for-25, double, HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Zach Walters, DH
  9. Tyler Holt, RF

P: Trevor Bauer

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers at Indians

Alex Avila sits today after leaving last night’s game following a ball off his mask. Bryan Holaday catches Justin Verlander for the eighth time in 28 starts this season.

TIGERS (career numbers off Salazar)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-3, HR)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (2-for-10, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-7, double, HR, 3 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (3-for-8, walk)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (0-for-2)
  7. Eugenio Suarez, SS
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (1-for-3, walk)

P: Justin Verlander

INDIANS (career numbers vs. Verlander)

  1. Michael Bourn, CF (10-for-27, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 9 K’s)
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF (17-for-48, double, triple, 3 walks, 6 K’s)
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B (8-for-40, double, 4 HR, 5 walks, 8 K’s)
  5. Jason Kipnis, 2B (3-for-29, double, 5 walks, 12 K’s)
  6. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B (7-for-21, 2 doubles, K)
  7. Yan Gomes, C (2-for-11, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Jason Giambi, DH (4-for-22, 2 HR, 3 walks, 11 K’s)
  9. Zach Walters, RF

P: Danny Salazar

Tuesday (Lobstein Day) lineups: Tigers at Indians

Miguel Cabrera is designated to hit once again, coming off his two-homer game. Rajai Davis returns to the lineup in center. The Indians, meanwhile, get Ryan Raburn back and put him into the lineup as the DH against lefty Kyle Lobstein in his second Major League start.

TIGERS (career numbers against Carlos Carrasco)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-9, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-12, double, triple, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-12, HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (2-for-11, 2 doubles)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (0-for-4)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-1, walk)
  7. Alex Avila, C (3-for-7, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (0-for-1, K)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-4, K)

P: Kyle Lobstein

INDIANS

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B
  5. Yan Gomes, C
  6. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  7. Ryan Raburn, DH
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  9. Tyler Holt, RF

P: Carlos Carrasco

Tuesday (Lobstein Day) lineups: Tigers at Indians

Miguel Cabrera is designated to hit once again, coming off his two-homer game. Rajai Davis returns to the lineup in center. The Indians, meanwhile, get Ryan Raburn back and put him into the lineup as the DH against lefty Kyle Lobstein in his second Major League start.

TIGERS (career numbers against Carlos Carrasco)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-9, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-12, double, triple, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-12, HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (2-for-11, 2 doubles)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (0-for-4)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-1, walk)
  7. Alex Avila, C (3-for-7, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (0-for-1, K)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-4, K)

P: Kyle Lobstein

INDIANS

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B
  5. Yan Gomes, C
  6. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  7. Ryan Raburn, DH
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  9. Tyler Holt, RF

P: Carlos Carrasco

Tuesday (Lobstein Day) lineups: Tigers at Indians

Miguel Cabrera is designated to hit once again, coming off his two-homer game. Rajai Davis returns to the lineup in center. The Indians, meanwhile, get Ryan Raburn back and put him into the lineup as the DH against lefty Kyle Lobstein in his second Major League start.

TIGERS (career numbers against Carlos Carrasco)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-9, 2 doubles, walk, 2 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-12, double, triple, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, DH (3-for-12, HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, 1B (2-for-11, 2 doubles)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (0-for-4)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-1, walk)
  7. Alex Avila, C (3-for-7, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (0-for-1, K)
  9. Rajai Davis, CF (0-for-4, K)

P: Kyle Lobstein

INDIANS

  1. Michael Bourn, CF
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B
  5. Yan Gomes, C
  6. Jason Kipnis, 2B
  7. Ryan Raburn, DH
  8. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
  9. Tyler Holt, RF

P: Carlos Carrasco

Labor Day lineups: Tigers at Indians

Miguel Cabrera returns to the Tigers lineup as the designated hitter. Considering he’s 15-for-28 with three home runs (I know, I know, the power’s different now) for his career off Indians starter Corey Kluber, it’s a bigger addition than usual for the Detroiters. Victor Martinez is the first baseman today. Ezequiel Carrera gets the start in center field.

The Indians, as you might have heard, got home in the wee hours of the morning after their Sunday night game in Kansas City was delayed and then suspended by rain in the 10th inning. Everybody in their starting lineup today played last night, though Lonnie Chisenhall was limited to a pinch-hit appearance and a go-ahead two-run double in the 10th.

Today’s game is on ESPN nationally once the Phillies and Braves are done, so if you’re outside of Detroit and Cleveland, you can catch it. If you’re in Michigan, you can tune in on Fox Sports Detroit as usual.

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

TIGERS (career numbers off Kluber)

  1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-13, walk, 3 K’s)
  2. Torii Hunter, RF (3-for-16, double, 6 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (15-for-28, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (8-for-21, 2 HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (2-for-7, double)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (4-for-10, double, 4 K’s)
  7. Alex Avila, C (3-for-17, 2 doubles, 3 walks, 5 K’s)
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (1-for-5, walk, K)
  9. Ezequiel Carrera, CF

P: David Price

INDIANS (career numbers against Price)

  1. Michael Bourn, CF (1-for-8, double, 3 K’s)
  2. Jose Ramirez, SS
  3. Michael Brantley, LF (1-for-10, 2 K’s)
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B (5-for-12, 3 doubles, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  5. Yan Gomes, C
  6. Jason Kipnis, 2B (0-for-3, K)
  7. Mike Aviles, RF (5-for-19, double, walk, 2 K’s)
  8. Jesus Aguilar, DH
  9. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B (1-for-3, HR)

P: Corey Kluber

How September call-ups fit into Tigers roster

The reinforcements are coming. But can they help the Tigers through the final four weeks of this division race?

The optimistic answer is yes. As the 19-inning loss in Toronto showed, every little bit can make a big difference in a close game, and the Tigers are likely to have a slew of them down the stretch. The realistic answer is that there’s a limit.

Steven Moya can’t make up for a hobbled Miguel Cabrera, and it’s not fair to think that he could. After all, he hasn’t played above Double-A ball, and he had a 161-to-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio there.

Moya can, however, give an opposing manager something to think about when he looks down the Tigers lineup in the late innings and debates whether to throw in a right-handed specialist to face, say, Rajai Davis.

“He brings power,” Brad Ausmus said. “He brings that threat off the bench to hit the ball 450 feet, and he can hit it to all fields. Opposing teams, opposing managers have to be aware of that. Even if he doesn’t actually get into a game, you have to know that he’s there.”

That’s kind of the theme on the positional players who are being called up, including catcher James McCann. If the Tigers saw them as potential starters down the stretch in a playoff race, they would’ve been called up by now.

McCann, in particular, is interesting, given his ability to hit left-handed pitching (.342 average at Triple-A Toledo). He has been praised for his work handling a pitching staff, and Kyle Ryan noted he kept a book on opposing hitters in Toledo to guide him on calling a game.

Starting out, at least, he appears to be the third catcher the Tigers traditionally call up for September. That said, Ausmus liked what he heard about him from Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish.

“LP really likes him,” Ausmus said, “says we won’t be disappointed in any way with how he works with pitchers. He takes a lot of pride in the defensive side of the game. He’s very solid behind the plate.”

Hernan Perez, who was up for the stretch run last year, appears to be in line for a similar utility infield role this time around, though it’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers give the right-handed hitter a spot start at short at some point (he hit .290 off righties this year with the Hens).

“Hernan Perez is a very versatile player,” Ausmus said. “He had a good year in Toledo. He can play anywhere in the infield.”

Ausmus remembers what he saw from Tyler Collins in limited playing time last year. He seemed to be the trickiest of the decisions, and it might well have hinged on Andy Dirks’ status trying to rehab from back surgery.

“If Dirks was here, I don’t know for sure, but there’s a possibility that one of the left-handed outfielders would not have been called up,” Ausmus said. “I don’t know that for sure.”

On the potential role, Ausmus said, “He doesn’t have quite the raw power that Moya has, but he has power. He can run a little bit, so he gives you that option of power and a little speed.”

Ausmus also noted that Collins could be useful as a defensive replacement in the corner spots.

As for the pitchers, it’s pretty straightforward, at least for now. Though the Tigers called up three pitchers who have started for them, they have one spot to fill. For now, that goes to Kyle Lobstein, coming off his six quality innings against the Yankees last Thursday.

Lobstein will start Tuesday in Cleveland. His spot comes up again next Sunday night against the Giants on ESPN. Whether Lobstein fills the spot likely depends on how he fares Tuesday.

“Lobstein’s the fifth guy right now,” said Ausmus. “We’ll see how Lobber, how Kyle throws and we’ll go from there.”

Ray and Ryan become relievers for now. That could free up Blaine Hardy to be used in a more versatile role, beyond long relief.

Sunday’s lineups: Tigers at White Sox

Brad Ausmus didn’t wait before deciding on giving Miguel Cabrera the day off. He’s not sitting him for a stretch, but he considers him a day-to-day situation.

Unless the matchup dictates otherwise, Ausmus said, look for Don Kelly to start at first base most days when Cabrera does not. He’s there today, with Victor Martinez at DH.

The White Sox traded Adam Dunn to Oakland this morning, so their offense will have one less slugger for Rick Porcello. Andy Wilkins gets the start at first base, with Jose Abreu at DH. Leury Garcia starts at shortstop with Alexei Ramirez off.

TIGERS (career numbers off Jose Quintana)

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (9-for-23, 2 doubles, HR, walk, 4 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-14, double, walk, 5 K’s)
  3. Torii Hunter, RF (6-for-20, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (6-for-15)
  5. J.D. Martinez, LF (1-for-5, triple, walk, K)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-8, 3 K’s)
  7. Don Kelly, 1B
  8. Eugenio Suarez, SS (0-for-1)
  9. Bryan Holaday, C (1-for-5, walk, K)

P: Rick Porcello

WHITE SOX (career numbers against Porcello)

  1. Adam Eaton, CF (1-for-3, triple, K)
  2. Carlos Sanchez, 2B
  3. Jose Abreu, DH (1-for-3, HR)
  4. Avisail Garcia, RF (5-for-10, K)
  5. Conor Gillaspie, 3B (9-for-20, double, HR, 2 K’s)
  6. Dayan Viciedo, LF (6-for-26, double, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Andy Wilkins, 1B
  8. Tyler Flowers, C (0-for-11, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  9. Leury Garcia, SS (1-for-7, 4 K’s)

P: Jose Quintana

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