Notes: Rogers working his way back
Tigers left-hander doesn't want to push himself too hard
DETROIT -- Kenny Rogers would love to be back pitching tomorrow. But he can't say he would do it if he had his way, because what he's doing now is his way.
Rogers continues to do his rehab work and progress with his pitching, eyeing a return by the All-Star break. Yet as much as he wants to push his timetable, he's trying to guard against pushing too hard, too fast. He knows he has to, because each progression is based on his feedback about how his arm feels.
"That's up to me," Rogers said Friday. "That's up to my body and what I feel. You go by what you feel like you can handle. I'm trying to do that at the right pace.
"You want to go faster than you're supposed to. Earlier on I was thinking I could pitch right now; I felt great. Now I've increased the effort and the work, and I've got a little fatigue in there, which is normal. You just have to adjust and let everything happen at the right time."
The worse fate than fatigue, of course, would be re-injury, though it wouldn't quite be the same coming off surgery to repair two arteries in his shoulder. The arteries are fine, but beyond trying to regain strength in his shoulder, Rogers also is waiting for his arm to heal at the points of incision where doctors went into the shoulder for the procedure.
He also has some swelling in the shoulder, but that's still to be expected.
"If I screw up, we're all going to know," Rogers said. "I'm trying to make sure I don't go overboard, but I feel pretty good. My workload's getting higher -- just trying to build up the strength in the arm."
Asked if he hopes to return by the end of next month, Rogers left it open.
"I never put a date on anything," he said. "I don't want to limit myself, or if it didn't happen, then be disappointed. I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I would love it to be tomorrow. If it's not, I don't want to feel like I'm doing a disservice to anybody. I'm pushing as hard as I can, but I do have to have in the back of my mind that too hard is not an option. It's not worth doing it."
Rodney out another day: One pitcher who wasn't back as expected Friday was reliever Fernando Rodney. He played catch Friday afternoon with assistant athletic trainer Steve Carter and still felt some lingering stiffness.
At this point, it's not being viewed as any more serious than it was before, but it appears to be a day-to-day matter.
"Maybe a couple days more to get ready," Rodney said. "I'm feeling good. I threw today, and I feel loose. My arm feels loose, but I still feel [tight] a little bit."
Congrats to Smoltz: Michigan native John Smoltz became the first Major League pitcher to record 200 wins and 150 saves in his career when he posted a victory Thursday. For manager Jim Leyland, a longtime admirer of Smoltz back to their days as opponents in the National League, it's another addition to what he considers to be Smoltz's Hall of Fame resume.
"He's the best big-game pitcher I've ever seen," Leyland said. "Great competitor, but most of all, great stuff. Tremendous athlete. I've seen enough of him. We might see him this year."
The Tigers meet the Braves for a three-game series next month in Atlanta.
Triple play at Triple-A: Toledo third baseman Mike Hessman followed up his grand slam by starting a triple play in the eighth inning, helping the Mud Hens hold on for a 7-6 win Thursday at Columbus.
The Hens' second triple play in as many years and ninth in franchise history started with a ground ball by D'Angelo Jimenez. Hessman stepped on third and fired to Jack Hannahan at second, whose relay to Chris Shelton beat Jimenez to first.
Coming up: The Tigers are on FOX television for the second time in three Saturdays, this time with a 3:55 p.m. ET start against the Indians at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.68 ERA) will try for his fifth straight win when he takes the mound opposite C.C. Sabathia (6-1, 3.51 ERA), for whom Cleveland has won nine times in his 10 outings this season. The game is slated to be broadcast in Michigan, Ohio, parts of New England (including Boston), Baltimore and the upper Midwest (including Minneapolis).
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.