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Detroit Tigers - TeamReport

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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - INSIDE PITCH

The Tigers, a team in need of late-inning bullpen help, are making an interesting low-risk move in the minors.

Detroit, 7-3 winners over the White Sox on Monday, is having newly re-signed former Tiger Jeremy Bonderman, a starter throughout his career, pitch out of the Toledo Mud Hens' bullpen.

Bonderman worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, including a strikeout, last Friday night in his first appearance for Triple-A Toledo.

The Tigers signed Bonderman to a minor league contract July 14 after he was designated for assignment by Seattle and cleared waivers. He was 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA for the Mariners.

GM Dave Dombrowski said Bonderman will work out of the bullpen for the time being.

The move couldn't have been a surprise to Bonderman, 30, who returned to baseball this season after missing two years due to arm and shoulder problems. Detroit had attempted to sign Bonderman last winter when it learned of his interest in returning to the game, but he chose Seattle because he lives in the state.

With five solid starters at this time, and lefty Jose Alvarez available in Toledo, the Tigers have no need for a starter. The need is bullpen help, particularly of the veteran kind.

Bonderman is a fastball/slider pitcher and attempts by Detroit to add a third pitch failed over the years. He went from Class A in 2002 to the Tigers in 2003 with just one return to the minors, a 14-game 2009 stint in which he made 11 relief appearances. Overall he was 67-77 with a 4.89 ERA in nine seasons with the Tigers.

He tended to lose it quickly with Detroit and when he did he got hit hard, another good reason for a switch to the bullpen.

Bonderman is coming off Tommy John surgery in April of 2012 and Detroit might be gambling he'll get more arm strength in his second season back from the operation. Consistency with his slider was an issue with Seattle and working shorter bursts might help that.

He's not on the 40-man roster, which isn't that important, and Bonderman might have been signed more for next year than this, but Detroit has nothing to lose signing a known commodity.

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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 54-44

STREAK: Won two

PAST 10 GAMES: 5-5

NEXT: Tigers (Rick Porcello, 6-6, 4.80) at White Sox (Hector Santiago, 3-5, 3.30)

PLAYER NOTES:

--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."

--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.

--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.

--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."

--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.

--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."

--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."

--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."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When he came in from scoring, his hip was acting up pretty good and the trainers talked to him. He tried to go back out there, but it was obviously just too much discomfort." -- Manager Jim Leyland on 3B Miguel Cabrera, who left Monday's game early.

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MLB Team Report - Detroit Tigers - ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:

--3B Miguel Cabrera (hip) left the game July 22 early. He is currently being labeled day-to-day.

--2B Omar Infante (sprained left ankle, left shin contusion) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He was eligible to come off the disabled list July 19 but was running only about half-speed. "I pretty much knew he wasn't going to be ready," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's not ready, and I have no idea when (he will be)." The Tigers had hoped Infante would be ready by July 22 because Detroit was scheduled to face five left-handed starters in its next six games. But not being able to run full speed has kept Detroit from letting him make tune-up game appearances, although the organization hopes he's ready by mid-week.

--LHP Darin Downs (left shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list July 7. He has been throwing light bullpens at Detroit's spring training base in Lakeland, Fla., but no timetable has been set for his return.

--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. Time is running out on a possible return to the Tigers by next month. Dotel has been doing some long tossing and may try to start throwing bullpens again after building up some arm strength.

ROTATION:

RHP Justin Verlander

RHP Max Scherzer

RHP Doug Fister

RHP Rick Porcello

RHP Anibal Sanchez

BULLPEN:

RHP Joaquin Benoit (closer)

LHP Drew Smyly

LHP Phil Coke

RHP Luke Putkonen

RHP Bruce Rondon

RHP Al Alburquerque

RHP Evan Reed

CATCHERS:

Brayan Pena

Alex Avila

INFIELDERS:

1B Prince Fielder

2B Hernan Perez

SS Jhonny Peralta

3B Miguel Cabrera

DH Victor Martinez

INF Ramon Santiago

OUTFIELDERS:

LF Andy Dirks

CF Austin Jackson

RF Torii Hunter

OF Don Kelly

OF Matt Tuiasosopo

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