Wednesday lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

  Anthony Gose makes his Tigers debut today, getting the start in center field. He’ll start against most right-handers, manager Brad Ausmus reiterated Wednesday, but not all.

“Raj is going to see probably the vast majority of the lefties,” Ausmus said. “Anthony’s going to see the majority of the righties. And there’s going to be times where Raj, whether it’s a matchup situation or he just needs to play because we haven’t seen a lefty, is also going to face righties. You probably could say the same thing about the catchers.”

Other than center field, it’s the same lineup for Detroit, including Nick Castellanos batting ahead of Alex Avila. Castellanos homered off Nolasco here last September.

Same exact lineup for the Twins, who have some bad history against Anibal Sanchez. He had 2 2/3 hitless innings in Minnesota last April 26 when a blister broke open on him.

As for the weather, as the picture shows, it’s pretty damp and cold. For now, however, it’s expected to be dry, allowing them to get the game in. It’s the kind of weather that makes hitters hate getting jammed on fastballs even more, but Anibal Sanchez isn’t a fan either.

“I don’t like it,” Sanchez said Monday. “I’m positive. I don’t like it at all. Boo.”

tigerroarlogoTIGERS (career numbers off Nolasco)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (0-for-2, K)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (5-for-12, 3 doubles, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (2-for-9, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (5-for-7, double, 2 walks)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF (3-for-11, walk, 2 K’s)
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-5, double, HR, K)
  8. Alex Avila, C (0-for-4, 2 walks, K)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (0-for-2, K)

P: Anibal Sanchez

twinsshakinghandslogoTWINS (career numbers off Sanchez)

  1. Danny Santana, SS
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B (1-for-14, 2 walks, 4 K’s)
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B (5-for-17, 2 walks, 3 K’s)
  4. Torii Hunter, RF (2-for-6, double, 2 K’s)
  5. Kennys Vargas, DH
  6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B (3-for-13, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Oswaldo Arcia, LF (0-for-10, walk, 4 K’s)
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C (1-for-2)
  9. Jordan Schafer, CF (1-for-12, walk, 8 K’s)

P: Ricky Nolasco

Verlander’s status in further doubt with no DL move Tuesday

The chances of Justin Verlander being part of the Tigers rotation this week ran down with the clock Tuesday, when the Tigers did not make an expected move to the disabled list.

“Probably tomorrow,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in regards to a DL move in an email Tuesday evening.

If the Tigers were going to backdate a move for Verlander with enough time to have him eligible to return for Sunday’s series finale in Cleveland, they would’ve had to put him on the DL Tuesday. If they do it Wednesday or later in the week, they’re likely to bring up a starter to take his place for Sunday, the first day they need a fifth starter.

Coincidentally, left-hander Kyle Lobstein was missing from media day activities at Triple-A Toledo, according to John Wagner of the Toledo Blade. The Mud Hens have to make a move by Thursday; they announced their roster last Saturday with one extra player on it.

The Tigers announced last Friday that Verlander would go on the disabled list with a right triceps strain. The team has held off on a move so far, waiting to see Verlander could progress enough in his throwing program to be ready to start.

Verlander and the Tigers had been hoping Tuesday would be his last step, a session against hitters that would clear the way for him to start Sunday in Cleveland. After Verlander experienced issues on his final throws in a Sunday bullpen session, however, the timetable came into question.

“Ver threw [40 pitches Sunday] off the mound, felt great. Last couple pitches, not as great,” manager Brad Ausmus said Monday.

Tigers officials met after Monday’s Opening Day win over the Twins to discuss the next step with Verlander. While Verlander facing hitters Tuesday hadn’t been officially ruled out at that point, it was uncertain at best, and there’s no confirmation Tuesday that Verlander threw.

Lobstein has been Detroit’s top insurance starter since last September after he filled in admirably for Anibal Sanchez late last season. The 25-year-old made six starts and a long relief appearance last season, posting a 1-2 record and a 4.35 ERA.

Among his starts was a Sept. 2 matchup in Cleveland, where he struck out 10 batters over 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball. He left trailing until J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the ninth.

Lobstein’s return would give the Tigers a lefty starter to put up against an Indians lineup that still leans left-handed with Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brandon Moss and David Murphy.

Torii Hunter: Joe West “had dinner reservations”

Torii Hunter was in a pretty good mood when Monday started. After seriously contemplating retirement at season’s end, he was back with the Twins, making his return to Comerica Park, and batting cleanup behind Joe Mauer.

He was less pleased by game’s end. While Brad Ausmus’ move to pull David Price for Joe Nathan drew its share of critiquing among the sellout crowd of 45,030, Nathan’s game-ending strikeout drew a heavy amount of second-guessing from Hunter, who was called on a check swing by plate umpire Joe West without an appeal to first.

“I think he had dinner reservations or a concert to play in,” Hunter said. “That was terrible. All I ask, everybody asks, we come out and do our job every day. That’s what I do, I come ready to play, do my job, I battle at the plate. We ask you to do your job as well. And Joe West needs to do his job. And he didn’t do it well.”

It was a slider from Nathan, and a pretty decent one at that. He got a first-pitch swing and miss from Hunter on a fastball, registered at 94 on the Comerica Park radar gun, and worked his way off the plate.

“I thought he swung, so I said he swung,” West told a pool reporter. “They’re all great players, and any time you get called out at the end of the game on something like that, they’re going to be upset, so I understand that.”

Also, West said he did not have dinner reservations.

Opening Day lineups: Tigers vs. Twins

A couple twists in the lineup for Brad Ausmus today: Rajai Davis starts in center field and leads off rather than Anthony Gose, who’s 1-for-11 in his history against Phil Hughes. The other item is Alex Avila, whose numbers off Hughes are worse, batting eighth, with Nick Castellanos moved up to seventh.

Torii Hunter, meanwhile, returns to Comerica Park at the same time he makes his return to the Twins. He’s batting cleanup today for Minnesota, right behind Joe Mauer.

TIGERS (career numbers off Phil Hughes)tigerslogo

  1. Rajai Davis, CF (7-for-26, 4 doubles, walk, 4 K’s)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (4-for-23, 2 doubles, triple, 2 walks, K)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (16-for-34, 4 doubles, 5 HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  4. Victor Martinez, DH (7-for-27, 2 doubles, 3 K’s)
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (3-for-7, double, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B (2-for-6, 3 K’s)
  8. Alex Avila, C (1-for-15, 7 K’s)
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS (1-for-4, K)

P: David Price

TWINS (career numbers off Price)twinslogo

  1. Danny Santana, SS (3-for-12, double, triple, 7 K’s)
  2. Brian Dozier, 2B (4-for-18, double, 2 HR, walk, 3 K’s)
  3. Joe Mauer, 1B (4-for-23, double, 4 walks, 6 K’s)
  4. Torii Hunter, RF (8-for-23, double, HR, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  5. Kennys Vargas, DH (1-for-5, walk, K)
  6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B (6-for-12, double, walk, 3 K’s)
  7. Oswaldo Arcia, LF (0-for-3, 2 K’s)
  8. Kurt Suzuki, C (5-for-23, 3 doubles, HR, 10 K’s)
  9. Jordan Schafer, CF (0-for-3)

P: Phil Hughes

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers at Rays

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Rajai Davis makes his second consecutive start in center field, though Brad Ausmus said Davis and Anthony Gose will play roughly the same number of innings. “The coin fell on Rajai starting today,” Ausmus said.

Other than that, it’s an Opening Day lineup. Look for the regulars to get a couple at-bats or three innings before giving way to other guys. By the late innings, we’ll probably see a good number of minor leaguers. Thirteen of them made the trek over from Lakeland.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. Alex Avila, C
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Alfredo Simon

RAYS

  1. John Jaso, LF
  2. Steven Souza Jr., RF
  3. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Desmond Jennings, DH
  7. Logan Forsythe, 2B
  8. Rene Rivera, C
  9. Kevin Kiermaier, CF

P: Matt Andriese

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Rays

With the exception of James McCann behind the plate and Rajai Davis leading off in center field, this is an Opening Day lineup for the Tigers. The Rays also sent a decent number of regulars over from St. Petersburg, having broken camp from Port Charlotte a couple days ago.

TIGERS

  1. Rajai Davis, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. Victor Martinez, DH
  5. J.D. Martinez, RF
  6. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  7. James McCann, C
  8. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Anibal Sanchez, Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque, Joe Nathan

RAYS

  1. Kevin Kiermaier, DH
  2. Steven Souza Jr., RF
  3. John Jaso, LF
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Brandon Guyer, CF
  7. Tim Beckham, 2B
  8. Jake Elmore, SS
  9. Bobby Wilson, C

P: Jake Odorizzi, Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen, Jeff Beliveau

Dombrowski: Tigers aren’t actively pursuing relievers

The Tigers currently have 24 active players in camp, if you don’t count Justin Verlander and Bruce Rondon as active. They can have 25 active players on Opening Day. Barring a drastic change, the Tigers won’t be adding someone from outside the organization to fill the 25th spot.

The topic came up after the Tigers optioned Kyle Ryan and Blaine Hardy to Triple-A Toledo Friday night, followed by a report from FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the Tigers were close to acquiring a relief pitcher. The news apparently reached Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski.

“Someone told me this morning that somebody wrote that we were close to getting a reliever,” Dombrowski said later. “I said, ‘Well, I wish they’d call me on that.’ … I don’t know where that would even come from. But whoever said that, hey, if they’ve got somebody that would help us, we’re open to phone calls.”

He was kidding, but he also said they were open to listening. At this point, though, he said nothing’s happening.

“I don’t know what the next phone call will bring at this time. You never know what’ll happen. But we’re not actively doing anything,” Dombrowski said. “But if somebody picks up the phone and says we’ve got such-and-such, the season doesn’t start until Monday. You’re always open-minded, but I’m not close to it or have an open discussion on it. ..

“You can always get better. Let’s face it, there’s no club that’s perfect. But I would be really surprised if that happened at this point.”

Nesbitt, Krol make Opening Day roster, final spot TBD

The Tigers’ Opening Day roster is one step shy of being set. Their bullpen appears to be set for now.

With Friday’s moves to option left-handers Kyle Ryan and Blaine Hardy to Triple-A Toledo, and assign non-roster infielder Josh Wilson to minor-league camp, Detroit put rookie right-hander Angel Nesbitt and young lefty Ian Krol on the squad heading north for next Monday’s season opener. That didn’t necessarily determine that Hardy and Ryan will open the season as Mud Hens.

The moves bring the Tigers’ camp roster to 26 players, including injured Justin Verlander and Bruce Rondon. Both will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, which leaves 24 active players still in camp. Who fills the last spot depends on Verlander’s work in the coming days.

Verlander is tentatively on track to start next Sunday at Cleveland, but that depends on how he progresses with his right triceps strain. He’s scheduled to stay in Florida and throw off a mound Saturday or Sunday, then face hitters on Tuesday.

If Verlander falls off that timetable, or feels lingering soreness, the Tigers will need a starting pitcher to take his place. That would most likely be left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who has been identified as the “sixth starter” and would have a favorable matchup against an Indians lineup loaded with left-handed hitters.

If Verlander progresses as hoped, the Tigers are expected to still place him on the DL and use the spot on an extra reliever for a few days. Since the DL move can be backdated to March 28, the day after Verlander left his start against the Blue Jays, he’d still be eligible to come off the DL on April 12.

Whichever way they decide, they have to do it when they place Verlander on the DL. By rule, a player sent down out of camp must have 10 days in the minors from the start of the season before he can be called up, unless he’s replacing a player who’s going on the DL. By that rule, the Tigers could even recall Hardy or Ryan to fill Verlander’s spot if they want.

The Tigers aren’t expected to make their decision until Sunday at the earliest. Dombrowski said they could technically wait as late as Tuesday to make a move and still backdate the move to have Verlander eligible to return for his tentatively scheduled start.

Tigers to place Verlander, Rondon on 15-day DL

Justin Verlander is heading to the disabled list for the first time in his career. Bruce Rondon will open the season to the DL for a second consecutive year.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced the moves Thursday morning. Verlander will be placed on the 15-day DL with a right triceps strain. The move will be backdated to March 28, the day after he left his start against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

By backdating the move, the Tigers will be able to activate Verlander from the DL next Sunday, the first day the Tigers need a fifth starter.

“Essentially, he doesn’t miss a start,” Ausmus said.

Whether he’s able to make that start remains to be seen. The Tigers are optimistic Verlander will be able to throw a side session this weekend in Lakeland.

“The arm will let us know,” Ausmus said.

Verlander’s arm has been tricky to judge ever since he left the March 27 outing. The injury was initially called a triceps cramp, and team officials said they expected him to make his final Spring Training start.

That would have been today. While Verlander threw on flat ground for a second consecutive day, he has not yet gotten back on a mound.

“It’s still kind of a day-to-day thing,” Ausmus said.

Verlander was originally slated to start the second game of the regular season next Wednesday against the Twins. Anibal Sanchez will move up a day to make that start. Shane Greene, who was scheduled to make his Tigers debut April 11 in Cleveland, will move up to start the opening series finale against Minnesota next Thursday.

Rondon heads to the DL one day after being scratched from a scheduled relief outing with a sore right shoulder. An MRI exam taken Wednesday afternoon showed tendinitis in Rondon’s biceps.

While the Tigers can get through their rotation for the first six games without Verlander, thanks to next Tuesday’s off-day, putting together a bullpen without Rondon is another task. His healthy return was seen as a huge factor in the Tigers bullpen after he missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery.

Rondon diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis

Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon is considered day-to-day after an MRI exam showed tendinitis in his right shoulder, pitching coach Jeff Jones said Thursday morning.

The diagnosis came after Rondon was scratched from a scheduled relief appearance Wednesday against the Astros. Rondon, who struck out the side in order Tuesday, was scheduled to pitch a second straight game, one of the final hurdles towards being ready for Opening Day, but woke up with a sore shoulder.

A bout of tendinitis would make an Opening Day return seem difficult if not impossible. Still, considering the injuries the hard-throwing right-hander has had to overcome the last year and a half, it’s arguably good news compared to what the injury could have been.

The shoulder injury is not believed to be related to the sore neck that sidelined Rondon for a few days last week. It’s also not related to the elbow injury that led to season-ending Tommy John surgery about a year ago at this point.

If Rondon isn’t ready for Opening Day, his absence opens up a relief spot for somebody else. If manager Brad Ausmus wants a right-hander who can fill the Rondon type of situational role, rookie Angel Nesbitt is a likely candidate, having impressed with a mid- to upper-90s fastball and slider.

On the other hand, Ausmus hasn’t ruled out the idea of carrying three left-handed relievers, which would allow him to keep both hard-throwing southpaw Ian Krol and converted starter Kyle Ryan.

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