Kyle Lobstein to 15-day DL with shoulder soreness

The Tigers have another void to fill in their rotation as they prepare for a week-long West Coast trip. Left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who has filled in capably for Justin Verlander since the start of the season, is headed to the 15-day disabled list with a sore left shoulder, the team announced Sunday morning.

Lobstein gave up three runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings Saturday against the Astros. He walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning and escaped before three consecutive singles chased him from the game in the sixth. After the game, he called it “probably my worst stuff so far this season,” though his velocity wasn’t markedly different than his other starts this year.

“I didn’t feel the greatest warming up,” he said after the game, “but that’s gonna happen. Sometimes throughout the season you just gotta find out how to focus in and change how you’re feeling in between the bullpen and the game. Unfortunately it didn’t really work out today.”

Turned out he was dealing with shoulder issues before Saturday.

“He had complained of shoulder soreness here and there, nothing major,” Brad Ausmus said. “In the back of my mind, I thought something might be wrong. His velocity has been down almost all year. Jonesy and I talked to him this morning and [Lobstein] said that his shoulder bothered him a little bit during the winter. He started throwing and that it went away in Spring Training for a few weeks and then came back. I don’t know if it was toward the end of Spring Training or the start of the season, but he admitted that it hasn’t been right.”

For the season, Lobstein’s fastball is averaging 86.1 mph, according to fangraphs, down from 88.4 during his late-season stint last year. His cutter is also down a couple miles per hour.

Lobstein is 3-5 with a 4.34 ERA over eight starts, but has given up three runs or less in six of those outings.

For now, the Tigers have filled Lobstein’s roster spot with infielder Dixon Machado, who gives the Tigers some depth for now with Jose Iglesias day-to-day with a bruised left knee. Buck Farmer will fill Lobstein’s spot when it comes up Thursday night against the Angels. They’ll need to make another move at that point, likely sending out Machado but possibly putting Iglesias on the DL if he isn’t right by then.

“With Iglesias being down a day or two, we figured what would probably benefit us the most is just to have an extra infielder available,” Dave Dombrowski said. “He’s done very well for us and well deserving of a promotion at this time. He’s played well in Triple-A.”

Iglesias leaves with left knee contusion

Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias left Saturday’s game against Houston with a left knee contusion after a knee-on-knee collision at first base. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Iglesias had the makings of a big day with another highlight double play in the first inning and infield singles in the third and fifth. On the first single, however, he banged knees with Astros first baseman Chris Carter as he ran out a dribbler down the first-base line.

Iglesias stayed in the game, but looked hobbled running home on Anthony Gose’s ensuing double. He singled again two innings later without a play at first base, but again looked gimpy on his way to second base when Jose Altuve threw over Marwin Gonzalez and into left field. Manager Brad Ausmus noticed and came out with athletic trainer Matt Rankin.

Hernan Perez pinch-ran for Iglesias and replaced him at shortstop.

Saturday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Astros


Twenty-five years after the Tigers traded Matt Nokes to the Yankees for Lance McCullers, they’ll face McCullers’ son today. The younger McCullers is making his second Major League start. He’ll face a lineup that includes Tyler Collins as the DH, moving Rajai Davis back to the bench for a day.

J.D. Martinez, meanwhile, assumes his daily place in the cleanup spot. As he said last night, the spot in the lineup makes no difference to him, even though he has heated up since moving up.

Reminder: Though today is a 4:08 p.m. ET start, it’s still a Fox Sports Detroit game, not Fox Sports 1.

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

84tigerslogoTIGERS

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

P: Kyle Lobstein

astrosoldlogoASTROS

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B
  2. Jonathan Villar, 3B
  3. George Springer, RF
  4. Evan Gattis, DH
  5. Preston Tucker, LF
  6. Chris Carter, 1B
  7. Jason Castro, C
  8. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
  9. Jake Marisnick, CF

P: Lance McCullers

Friday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Astros


Collin McHugh is off to a good start for Houston this year, but he also has some reverse splits going – a .292 average and four home runs from right-handed hitters, compared with .232 and one homer from lefties in about the same number of at-bats. That partly explains Rajai Davis’ start as the designated hitter, his first start at DH since Sept. 12, 2013 as a Blue Jay against the Yankees.

“It wasn’t a huge deciding factor,” said Brad Ausmus, who noted McHugh’s career splits are fairly even. “It’s just Rajai needs to play at times.”

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

tigerroarlogoTIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (1-for-3, K vs. McHugh)
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  7. Rajai Davis, DH
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Alfredo Simon

astrosanniversarylogoASTROS (career numbers off Simon)

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B (2-for-3, double, walk)
  2. Luis Valbuena, 3B (3-for-13, double, HR, 3 walks, 2 K’s)
  3. George Springer, RF
  4. Evan Gattis, DH (1-for-2, double, K)
  5. Preston Tucker, LF
  6. Colby Rasmus, CF (1-for-4, double, 2 K’s)
  7. Chris Carter, 1B (1-for-2, walk)
  8. Jason Castro, C (1-for-2)
  9. Marwin Gonzalez

P: Collin McHugh

Rondon hits 99 mph in first rehab outing (updated)

Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon hit 99 mph on the radar gun at Fifth Third Field Thursday night in the first outing of his rehab assignment for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. That in itself was a good sign, though the command has a little ways to catch up.

Rondon gave up a run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning in his first game action since suffering biceps tendinitis in the final week of Spring Training. His fastball generally sat at 97-98 mph on the stadium radar gun, including a 98 mph pitch he spotted for a called third strike for his first out, before topping out at 99 on his final hitter.

“He looked like he had good velocity,” Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish said. “He looked like he was healthy. As far as commandwise, he looked like he hadn’t been out there in a while.”

Rondon was scheduled to throw 20-25 pitches. He was lifted after 22 pitches, 14 for strikes.

“You look at him throw and the stuff is there,” Parrish said. “It’s a matter of locating.”

Rondon battled to keep his fastball down, though it had enough life to remind fans of the power arsenal he displayed in Detroit two seasons ago before Tommy John surgery shut him down last season. His first pitch came in at 96, but Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes – who began his own rehab assignment Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo – lined it into left field for a single in his fourth and final at-bat.

Rondon induced three swings and misses, two on offspeed pitches, another on a riding fastball. That pitch went to Brad Glenn, who turned on a hanging slider on the next pitch for an RBI double.

“He threw some really good ones tonight,” Parrish said.

As long as Rondon feels fine, he’s scheduled to throw another 20-25 pitches for the Mud Hens on Sunday night, then follow the Hens on the road in Louisville, Indianapolis and Columbus. He’s tentatively scheduled to throw back-to-back outings late next week, then pitch an extended outing of likely an inning-plus, for a total rehab assignment of around two weeks.

Rondon’s return would be a major boost for a Tigers bullpen that could use a power strikeout arm, even if he doesn’t necessarily assume a set role. Joba Chamberlain has handled the bulk of eighth-inning work since Joakim Soria took over at closer. Angel Nesbitt has assumed a bigger role while Al Alburquerque works back into a consistent form after early-season struggles.

“You look at his arm and you think what he’s capable of,” Parrish said. “Guys that have that kind of arm, if you can throw strikes, you’re pitching the eighth or ninth inning in the big leagues.”

That was Rondon’s career trajectory two years ago. The hope is to get him back on that path; his last Major League outing was in September 2013.

Thursday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Astros

A lot of people have asked why the Tigers are starting this series with a day game. It’s Space Day at Comerica Park, bringing school field trips out. Also, the Thursday day game has apparently become a regularity here. The only Thursday night game at Comerica Park this season happens Aug. 20, when the Texas Rangers arrive for a four-game series.

It’s a quick turnaround for the Astros, who flew up from Houston immediately after their win yesterday afternoon. It’s also quick for the Tigers, who do day games after night games plenty of times but also had to do their start-of-series meetings this morning.

“We just get up earlier,” Brad Ausmus said. “It’s like cramming for exams when you have two finals in one day.”

Jose Iglesias gets the day off after the night game. With Scott Feldman’s reverse splits so far this season, Rajai Davis also gets a start, landing Tyler Collins on the bench for the day and getting J.D. Martinez a game at designated hitter.

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

tigerslogoTIGERS (career numbers off Feldman)

  1. Anthony Gose, CF (1-for-3)
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (1-for-6)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (9-for-18, 2 doubles, 2 HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  4. J.D. Martinez, DH (1-for-3)
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Nick Castellanos, 3B (1-for-3)
  7. Rajai Davis, RF (4-for-16, triple, 3 K’s)
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Andrew Romine, SS (1-for-1, walk)

P: David Price

astroslogoASTROS (career numbers off Price)

  1. Jose Altuve, 2B (3-for-11, 3 K’s)
  2. Luis Valbuena, 3B
  3. George Springer, RF (1-for-8, HR, 6 K’s)
  4. Evan Gattis, DH
  5. Chris Carter, 1B (2-for-14, double, 2 walks, 5 K’s)
  6. Colby Rasmus, LF (5-for-25, 2 walks, 6 K’s)
  7. Jonathan Villar, SS (1-for-6)
  8. Hank Conger, C
  9. Jake Marisnick, CF

P: Scott Feldman

Wednesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Brewers

  
Though right-handed batters are hitting Kyle Lohse a bit harder this year with a .289 (28-for-97) average and .864 OPS compared with .218 (19-for-87) and .682 against lefties, Tyler Collins is back in the lineup at DH. Other than James McCann, it’s the same lineup. Likewise, not much change on the Brewers side, either, except for Elian Herrera at second base over Hector Gomez.

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

84tigerslogoTIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B (3-for-7, double, HR, walk, 2 K’s)
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B (4-for-13, double, 2 HR, 2 walks, 2 K’s)
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF (1-for-7, walk, 2 K’s)
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF (2-for-3, 2 HR, K)
  6. Tyler Collins, DH
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Shane Greene

brewersglovelogoBREWERS

  1. Carlos Gomez, CF
  2. Gerardo Parra, RF
  3. Ryan Braun, DH
  4. Adam Lind, 1B (0-for-3, K vs. Greene)
  5. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
  6. Khris Davis, LF
  7. Luis Sardinas, SS
  8. Elian Herrera, 2B
  9. Martin Maldonado, C

P: Kyle Lohse

Game 40: Anibal Sanchez’s home runs by the numbers

Anibal Sanchez has given up three home runs before. He did it last month in Pittsburgh, in fact. He had never given up three homers in an inning.

On Tuesday, he gave up home runs to three consecutive batters, nine pitches apart.

“Today is one of those days when everything happens so fast, you don’t realize what happened,” he said afterwards.

The home-run trend this season, by contrast, has been long developing, though it seemed to be done until Tuesday. He gave up seven home runs in Spring Training, then five homers in a two-start span in mid-April. He then gave up only one home run over his previous five outings.

Now, here are the numbers he’s looking at:

  • His nine home runs allowed this season match his total from 2013, the year he won the American League ERA title. He’s also nearly halfway to his career-high of 20 homers allowed in 2011 and 2012.
  • His six home runs at Comerica Park have him on track to threaten the single-season record of 16, set by Jason Johnson in 2004 and matched by Armando Galarraga in 2008.
  • His two three-homer games are one off the Tigers season high in the Comerica Park era, last accomplished by Max Scherzer in 2011. Others to do it include Hideo Nomo in 2000, Dave Mlicki and Jose Lima in 2001, Nate Robertson in 2006, Mike Maroth in 2007 and Galarraga in 2008.

Brad Ausmus believes at least part of the problem is leaving pitches up when he’s out of the stretch. Still, five of the nine homers he has allowed have been solo shots.

“It’s been clearly something that is uncharacteristic for Sanchie,” Ausmus said. “The long ball wasn’t an issue last year, but this year has been a little bit of a different story. Now, we’ve also seen some outstanding starts from Sanchie, but when he doesn’t have his command down in the zone, his offspeed pitches especially, that’s when they hit him.”

His next start will further the challenge. The Astros lead the Majors in home runs with 57.

“Everything I need to fix, I will do,” Sanchez said. “Everything I need to make me strong for the next one, I’ll do. I’m not going to stop today, I’m not going to stop tomorrow, I’m going to continue working. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I know in the season, it’s early now, but whatever I have to do to go to the mound like I used to, I’ll do.”

Ausmus: Tigers met with V-Mart postgame for DL move

The decision to put Victor Martinez on the 15-day disabled list, Brad Ausmus said, came out of a postgame meeting Monday night that included Tigers brass, including owner Mike Ilitch. It also included Victor Martinez, who pleaded his case to avoid the DL.

The decision, however, had already been made.

“He was upset,” Ausmus said. “He wasn’t upset in an angry way; he was upset because he didn’t want to go on the DL. He’s got a warrior mentality, and he fully wanted to show he teammates that he could play through pain, but I think it finally came to the realization to him that it was more than just pain — it was an injury that had to be taken care of. …

“As emotional as it was, Victor, he’s a good person, so I think he understood it. He didn’t want to have to go on the disabled list, but I think deep down he understands why.”

When Ausmus got the managerial job a year and a half, he talked about the difficulty of cutting players and dashing players. This didn’t compare quite like that, but it wasn’t easy either.

“It was difficult. And it wasn’t a short conversation. We spoke for while. Sometimes you’ve got to. I’ve got kids, and sometimes you’ve got to give them bad news. Victor’s obviously not my kid, he’s much too old, but he’s a great person, and I care about him. It’s hard to give good people bad news, news they don’t want to hear.”

Asked if Ilitch had anything to say, Ausmus said, “I would keep any conversation with Mr. Ilitch to myself.”

Here’s what else we know coming out of Ausmus’ pregame session Tuesday:

  • Martinez aggravated the injury at the top of his left knee – not the meniscus area, but above it – against Kansas City at the start of the last homestand. He was coming off an encouraging series in Chicago before that. From that point on, his at-bats seemed to regress. “We kept seeing signs that he was getting better, and still being able to play,” Ausmus said. “By the end of the game last night, we just felt like we’ve slid too far backwards, and he needed to be off the field,” Ausmus said.
  • When Martinez had four days out of the lineup, he had a cortisone shot in his knee. Monday was the test to see if it made a difference. “Watch the video, he ran as well as he has run all year down that line,” Ausmus said. “It’s just when he hit the bag, it grabbed him just similarly to the way when he jumped out of the way of certain pitches. He’s probably no worse today than he’s been on any other day. It just looked bad after he hit the bag.”

Tuesday’s lineups: Tigers vs. Brewers

Just recalled Tyler Collins gets the first start in the post-VMart lineup against Brewers right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who’s allowing a .205 (18-for-88) average to right-handed hitters this season compared to .270 (17-for-63) against left-handed batters. Bryan Holaday, meanwhile, catches Anbal Sanchez again after his eight innings of one-run ball last Thursday against the Twins.

The Brewers, meanwhile, bring in Gerardo Parra, who had Sanchez’s numbers when Sanchez was in Miami.

tigerpitcherlogoTIGERS

  1. Anthony Gose, CF
  2. Ian Kinsler, 2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez, RF
  5. Yoenis Cespedes, LF
  6. Tyler Collins, DH
  7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
  8. Bryan Holaday, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

P: Anibal Sanchez

swingingbrewerlogoBREWERS (career numbers off Anibal Sanchez)

  1. Carlos Gomez, CF (2-for-3)
  2. Gerardo Perra, RF (8-for-14, 2 doubles, 2 K’s)
  3. Ryan Braun, DH (3-for-7, walk, K)
  4. Adam Lind, 1B (0-for-3)
  5. Aramis Ramirez, 3B (2-for-9, 2 doubles, 2 K’s)
  6. Khris Davis, LF
  7. Luis Sardinas, SS
  8. Hector Gomez, 2B
  9. Martin Maldonado, C (0-for-2)

P: Jimmy Nelson

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