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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH
Detroit got a much-needed win -- and an unneeded scare.
The Tigers gutted out a 7-6 victory Tuesday night over the Toronto Blue Jays but got a wakeup call in the ninth inning when Ramon Santiago took over on defense at third base in place of Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera had capped a six-run second inning with a three-run home run, his seventh home run in his last eight games.
It's manager Jim Leyland's policy never to take Cabrera out for defense and never to get him out of a close game.
The only time Cabrera hasn't been on the field this season was earlier this season when his back stiffened up on him and Santiago replaced him, which apparently was the case Tuesday.
"The first inning, my diving (play on the) right side," Cabrera said of an RBI single hit to him seven batters into the Blue Jays' first. "I felt a little something in batting practice. Before the game it was tight. It's not a big deal."
He smiled and nodded and down when asked if he'd play Wednesday.
Leyland has said he was going to give Cabrera a day off at some point before the All-Star break and Wednesday would be an appropriate time -- except for the big hole it puts in the lineup.
The manager confirmed Cabrera's take on the back soreness.
"From the first inning on," Leyland said, "when he made that diving play and his back kind of stiffened up. Then when he tried to get out of the way of that (inside) pitch it kind of bothered him a little bit. He got it out of line a little bit. I think he'll be fine."
It was very noticeable on Cabrera's last at-bat, in the eighth, when he appeared to be wincing on a couple of pitches.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won one
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Tigers (Max Scherzer, 12-0, 3.10) at Blue Jays (Josh Johnson, 1-2, 5.21).
--RHP Max Scherzer will try to become the first pitcher to go 13-0 to start a season since RHP Roger Clemens in 1986 when he faces the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday in the third game of a four-games series at Rogers Centre. Scherzer has earned a victory each of his last five starts. Scherzer is the first pitcher to start 10-0 without recording a complete game. "He's obviously been tremendous and a couple times we obviously scored at the right time," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's been as good as it gets."
--C Alex Avila (right forearm contusion) was activated from the disabled list and started Tuesday against the Blue Jays, going 1-for-3 with two RBI. Avila spent eight games on a rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Toledo, where he worked with hitting coach Leon (Bull) Durham to help him solve a two-year hitting drought. "He worked with Bull every day," manager Jim Leyland. "Sometimes they saw results during the game, sometimes they didn't." Avila was 3-for-20 with six strikeouts in his first five games with Toledo but for the next three games was 5-for-13 with one home run and four RBI.
--RHP Anibal Sanchez (shoulder strain) is expected to return to the rotation to start against at Cleveland on Saturday. His rehabilitation start at Lakeland, Fla., on Monday was limited to 23 pitches after he took a line drive off his left leg. "He felt really good," manager Jim Leyland said. "And the report was he threw the ball outstanding. We're probably just going to have to watch the pitches." The Tigers were hoping Sanchez would reach 60 pitches on Monday. "It wasn't nearly as many as we would've liked, but he felt great," Leyland said. Sanchez has been out since June 16. LHP Jose Alvarez, who is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in four starts, could be demoted to make room for Sanchez.
--RHP Rick Porcello has been suspended for six games by Major League Baseball after it was ruled that he was intentionally throwing at Tampa Bay INF/OF Ben Zobrist in the bottom of the first inning Sunday at Tropicana Field. The Tigers are appealing the suspension. The incident came a day after Rays closer RHP Fernando Rodney threw a pitch high and tight to 3B Miguel Cabrera. Porcello and manager Jim Leyland declined to comment on Tuesday. After Sunday's game, Porcello said the pitch "got away from me."
--3B Miguel Cabrera (back stiffness) was replaced in the ninth inning. He injured the back on a diving play in the first inning, but manager Jim Leyland said he should be fine.
--2B Omar Infante hit an RBI double in the second inning of Tuesday's 7-6 win over the Blue Jays to give him a hit in seven consecutive at-bats. He struck out in the third inning to end his 7-for-7 streak, struck out again in the fifth but led off the eighth with a single and scored the winning run on an infield single by RF Torii Hunter.
--RHP Doug Fister allowed six runs to equal his season high in his first two innings but did not factor in the decision of Detroit's 7-6 win over Toronto on Tuesday. He still was able to pitch six innings for the 13th time this season. "He didn't have very much luck in that first inning and then he settled down and pitched very well," manager Jim Leyland said. "He settled down and had a couple of quick innings there, which helped. He ended up doing a heck of a job. He could have caved in a little bit, but he didn't cave in. That was huge for us."
--LF Matt Tuiasosopo (left side strain) has been taking batting practice with no pain and has his eye on a short rehab stint before the week is over. "I did the whole gauntlet," he said. "I've felt perfect the past couple days." Tuiasosopo is eligible to rejoin the Tigers on Sunday in Cleveland. He may join Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "From the first inning on, when he made that diving play and his back kind of stiffened up. Then when he tried to get out of the way of that (inside) pitch it kind of bothered him a little bit. He got it out of line a little bit. I think he'll be fine." -- Manager Jim Leyland, explaining how 3B Miguel Cabrera was injured Tuesday.
MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT
--3B Miguel Cabrera (back stiffness) was replaced in the ninth inning July 2. He injured the back on a diving play in the first inning, but manager Jim Leyland said he should be fine.
--C Alex Avila (deep contusion, left forearm) went on the 15-day disabled list June 17. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on June 23. He's expected to be activated July 2.
--RHP Anibal Sanchez (strained right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 16. Sanchez pitched three simulated innings June 27, then made a rehab appearance for Class A Lakeland on July 1.
--LF Matt Tuiasosopo (left side strain) went on the 15-day disabled list June 21. He is scheduled to start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo on July 3.
--RHP Octavio Dotel (right elbow inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 8. Dotel has been unable to progress beyond light throwing or minimal mound work while working out at the club's spring training base in Lakeland, Fla.
RHP Justin Verlander
RHP Max Scherzer
RHP Doug Fister
RHP Rick Porcello
LHP Jose Alvarez
RHP Joaquin Benoit (closer)
LHP Drew Smyly
LHP Darin Downs
LHP Phil Coke
RHP Luke Putkonen
RHP Bruce Rondon
RHP Al Alburquerque
1B Prince Fielder
2B Omar Infante
SS Jhonny Peralta
3B Miguel Cabrera
DH Victor Martinez
INF Ramon Santiago
LF Andy Dirks
CF Austin Jackson
RF Torii Hunter
OF Don Kelly
OF Avisail Garcia