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Detroit Tigers - PlayerWatch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

LHP Darin Downs threw in the bullpen Monday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field with teammates standing in as if they were hitting against him. Downs has been on the disabled list since July 7 while recovering from left shoulder tendinitis in his rotator cuff.

RHP Bruce Rondon gave up a run on a hit, wild pitch and balk in the ninth inning of a 7-3 Tigers win against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night, but he's steadily gaining the trust of Tigers manager Jim Leyland. The hard-throwing rookie reliever threw a scoreless eighth inning on Sunday in a victory against the Kansas City Royals and is helping Detroit's bullpen to become more stable of late. In his last five outings prior to Monday's game in Chicago, Rondon posted a 3.68 ERA in 7 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. He appears to have come a long way since a rough major league debut in early May that earned him a quick demotion back to Triple-A Toledo. "He's taken baby steps, you know? He's doing fine," Leyland said. "He's taken some nice steps, but he's a young guy -- so you're going to get some positive steps and then a negative step once in a while. But hopefully the positives outweigh the negatives and it lets you get over the hump."

3B Miguel Cabrera left the Tigers' 7-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning with a hip flexor strain. Cabrera said he felt it while running from second to third on a two-run single by Victor Martinez and couldn't complete the inning in the field. Cabrera, who came into the game leading the major leagues with 134 hits, is currently being labeled day-to-day. "One thing we know about Miguel, he'll be back in there as soon as it's possible," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We're not going to rush anything. We're going to wait and see. I think he's pretty sore right now. I saw him out in the clubhouse. I didn't really get a chance to talk to him, but we'll just see. And you know what, if he's got to miss a few games, he's got to miss a few games. Then you find out how tough you are."

2B Omar Infante was evaluated by the Detroit Tigers' athletic training staff prior to a 7-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field. Infante went on the disabled list July 4 with a sprained left ankle. Tigers manager Jim Leyland hopes that his starting second baseman is getting close to going on a minor league rehab assignment. "He was evaluated (Sunday) and was pretty good, but we're going to do some more evaluation (Monday) and we're hoping maybe we can get him out and have him ready for the weekend," Leyland said. "That might be wishful thinking."

DH Victor Martinez is starting to look more like the perennial All-Star hitter that he was before blowing out his knee in the winter before the 2012 season. Martinez came into a game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field hitting .397 (27-for-68) in July, with eight doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs in 17 games. Martinez then went 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the Tigers' 7-3 win on Monday night against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "He's huge," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I thought he was one of the best RBI guys in baseball two years ago. I thought he was terrific and he didn't get them by way of the home run. There'll be some home runs that come by accident, but he (gets RBIs) because he puts good swings on balls and he gets big hits off good pitchers and he gets big hits off two strikes. That's why I think he's a great hitter."

RHP Max Scherzer bumped his record to 14-1 on Monday night in a 7-3 Tigers victory against the Chicago White Sox. Scherzer was perfect through the first four innings and wound up going eight strong innings, allowing four hits and two solo home runs with no walks. "When you face a great pitcher like Sale, the one common denominator is you've got to pitch really good against him or you're probably going to get beaten ... and that's what Scherzer did for us," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

RHP Rick Porcello will take the mound first for the Tigers on Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, opposed by LHP Hector Santiago. Porcello is 6-5 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 12 career starts against the White Sox, including a win in his last start before the All-Star break, on July 10 at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Tigers won that game 8-6 and Porcello went six innings, striking out six, walking none and allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits. He threw 93 pitches, with 62 going for strikes.

CF Austin Jackson came into Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field mired in a month-long slump at the plate that appears to be getting worse. Jackson, the Tigers' leadoff hitter, came into the game hitting .204 with a .299 on-base percentage during the previous 23 games (19-for-93). He was hitting just .143 (5-for-35) with a .211 on-base percentage in his last nine games and was hitting just .091 (1-for-11) with a .167 on-base and .091 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. Against left-handed pitchers for the season, Jackson was hitting .169 (10-for-63) with a paltry .270 slugging percentage. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Jackson might start working in batting practice against Ed Hodge, the left-handed batting practice pitcher they hired from the Houston Astros. "We're hoping to maybe tell (hitting coach Lloyd McClendon) to set some stuff up for Hodge to throw at him a little bit, because overall we've just got to get him going, that's all," Leyland said. "And he'll get it going."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130723/detroit-tigers-playerwatch-1