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Detroit Tigers - PlayerWatch

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

RHP Doug Fister will take the mound first for the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park against the Philadelphia Phillies, who will start LHP Cole Hamels. Fister has never faced the Phillies in his five-year major league career. Fister is 2-0 in his last four outings, but has posted a combined 5.63 ERA during those starts with six home runs allowed.

LHP Darin Downs pitched Thursday for the first time during his minor league rehab assignment with Class A West Michigan. Downs, who has been on the disabled list with rotator cuff tendinitis since July 7, pitched one scoreless inning without giving up a hit, recording one strikeout.

RHP Joaquin Benoit was not available to close for the Tigers on Thursday afternoon in a 7-4 loss in the series finale against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Benoit was needed the previous two games despite coming into each game in non-save situations to finish off the Detroit victories. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he didn't want to burn out Benoit by overusing him. He also bristled when asked if he'd hesitated to bring Benoit in on Wednesday to preserve the 6-2 win, after doing virtually the same thing on Tuesday. "When my team gets me six runs and I'm the manager, I can't let that game get away without my best guy out there," Leyland said. "That's what I believe. Other guys may differ on that, but I don't (mess) around with, potentially (Adam) Dunn and (Paul) Konerko and all those guys coming up, in a band box. I've got to win that game."

RF Torii Hunter left the Tigers' 7-4 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Thursday afternoon with soreness in his left Achilles tendon. After the game, he told reporters that a new pair of dress shoes were the cause of the issue and he expected to play on Friday in the opening game of a series at home against the Phillies. Hunter went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer Thursday. "It was definitely those (dress) shoes," Hunter said. "I'll be fine (Friday). It was just a little sore. I played through it the whole game. It happened this morning, but I'm fine. I come ready to play. I'll be in there (Friday). Don't worry about it. Everything's fine."

2B Omar Infante started his minor league rehab stint Wednesday night at Class A West Michigan by going 1-for-3 and getting hit with a pitch in the ninth. Infante, who was the designated hitter, was scheduled to play second base for West Michigan on Thursday night and then head back to Detroit to assess the next step in his comeback from an ankle injury. "He's coming back to Detroit tomorrow for sure," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We just don't know if he's going to be playing for the Tigers or going down to Toledo (for another minor league start)."

SS Jhonny Peralta went into Thursday afternoon's game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field leading American League shortstops with 27 doubles, a .302 batting average, a .357 on-base percentage and a .457 slugging percentage. Peralta, who went 1-for-4 in Detroit's 7-4 loss in the series finale against Chicago, is not saying much about his name being included in baseball's ongoing investigation into steroid allegations involving the Biogenesis lab in Miami. The same investigation prompted Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun to agree to a 65-game suspension for the rest of this season, but no further information has leaked out yet about Peralta -- who continues to decline comment when asked about the situation.

RHP Justin Verlander had a rough afternoon statistically Thursday against the Chicago White Sox in a 7-3 Tigers loss at U.S. Cellular Field. He allowed seven runs, all earned, on 11 hits and walked two more. Still, Verlander wasn't too disheartened about it. He ran his fastball back up to 99 mph a couple of times, close to the 100 mph mark that he's known for throwing, and his curveball looked a little sharper at times. A four-run fourth inning also did him in, after Andy Dirks couldn't come up with a liner to left field with one out that sparked the rally. A mechanical adjustment he made recently has also made him a little more unpredictable in the short-term, although Verlander thinks it will help down the road. "I feel like today, as funny as it sounds, was a step in the right direction," Verlander said. "I thought the stuff was the best it's been all year. I was just a little erratic with it, as I kind of expected."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130726/detroit-tigers-playerwatch-0