Notes: Wilson suffers major setback
Catcher's aggravated torn muscle in forearm may end season
DETROIT -- Vance Wilson is back from his rehab stint, but he's about as far away from being back on the field as when he started.
What was hoped to be a week-long rehab assignment to get him ready to play might end up being the only playing time he has this season. Wilson, on the disabled list since the final week of Spring Training with a torn muscle in his right forearm, aggravated the injury Thursday afternoon playing long toss in what he considers a major setback that will likely require season-ending surgery.
"Kind of back to square one," he said. "Obviously, I don't know yet until the doctor gets here, but it isn't working."
It's the latest frustration for Wilson with an injury that he didn't expect to take nearly this long to heal. He first felt the discomfort around mid-March and hoped it was just a case of tendinitis. Eventually, it was diagnosed as a combination of a torn muscle and inflammation around the nerves.
Wilson rested and rehabbed until this week, when he was sent to Triple-A Toledo to hit and catch. If all went well, he was expected to be activated next week. The final step of his test was to come this weekend, when he was slated to catch five innings Friday and catch again Sunday.
Wilson was throwing on Thursday so that he could ready his arm for that start. After he felt pain, he tried to play through it at DH, since it didn't hurt him to swing the bat.
"I took a swing and miss on the first pitch of my second at-bat," Wilson said. "I could feel it even when I hit. So I hit my third at-bat, and by that point, it had swelled back up."
Wilson is expected to visit a doctor in the coming days. Asked if he felt like surgery was the next step, Wilson said he had started to prepare himself for it.
"I guess, because I've done everything [else]," Wilson said. "I've done medication, 11 weeks of rehab."
His words indicated frustration, but he feels like he at least tried.
"I can look at myself in the mirror and say, 'Everyone did what they could,'" he said. "Had I done something stupid to injure myself, [it would be different]. But I just can't throw. Everyone's helped. The trainers and doctors have been great. I came into spring in shape, even with the short winter. Sometimes things happen. We'll get it fixed."
Zaniness on Zumaya: For a brief while, it looked like Wilson wasn't the only Tiger who would be out for the year. After manager Jim Leyland was interviewed on flagship station WXYT-AM 1270, the station reported that he had indicated Joel Zumaya would miss the rest of the season.
Soon after that, Leyland called reporters into his office to clarify his remarks. He wasn't saying that Zumaya was out for the year, but he was saying that it was his approach to the injury. As a manager, he was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
"[There have been] no setbacks," Leyland said, "nothing that we heard from any medical people."
Zumaya underwent surgery in early May to repair a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger. The timetable released following surgery called for a 12-week absence, which would put his potential return in August. At this point, the finger continues to heal before Zumaya can rehab it.
While the timetable will be one factor in a return, coming back throwing hard by Zumaya's standards could be another.
"I'm not a doctor. I want to emphasize that," Leyland said. "I'm not stepping on any trainer's toes. I'm not trying to get into any confrontation with medical people, because I don't know about it. But I do know over my career that when guys have had surgeries, everybody wants to be optimistic, and I understand that. And I'm not being pessimistic. I'm just being, in my opinion, realistic.
"I think there's a chance that he might not pitch this season. Now, if we get him back, what a bonus that would be, but I'm managing figuring on not having Joel Zumaya. Now, there might be a lot of people who disagree with that, but that's what I'm looking at from a manager's standpoint."
Rogers throws side session: Kenny Rogers threw his scheduled side session during batting practice Friday afternoon in what is expected to be his final workout before an expected rehab stint at Triple-A Toledo in the coming days.
"I felt pretty good," Rogers said, "but it's like normal."
Rogers threw a simulated game on Tuesday. A rehab outing on his normal rest would fall on Sunday night, when the Mud Hens host Norfolk, though the Tigers haven't officially announced any rehab assignment yet.
Down on the farm: Eulogio De La Cruz picked up his first win since being promoted from the Double-A Erie rotation to Toledo's bullpen. His two scoreless innings of relief Thursday followed four innings from starter Corey Hamman in the Hens' 5-2 win over Syracuse.
The Tigers had De La Cruz begin the season as a starter so he could better learn to use all his pitches and spot his fastball. He went 4-5 with a 3.57 ERA over 10 starts for the SeaWolves, including two complete games, before being promoted last weekend.
Tickets going: The Tigers sold out Friday's game, their fourth consecutive sellout and eighth of the season, and they're expecting to sell out both games this weekend.
Bob Raymond, vice president of marketing and ticket sales, said the Tigers had sold over 40,000 tickets for Saturday's game as of Friday afternoon, with about 38,600 sold for Sunday. They had sold just under 30,000 for Tuesday's series opener against Milwaukee, about 31,000 for Wednesday and just under 35,000 for Thursday afternoon.
The Tigers are on a pace to surpass their franchise record attendance total of 2,704,794 set in 1984 at Tiger Stadium. They drew 2,595,937 last year for a Comerica Park record.
Coming up: The Tigers and Mets are the featured game on FOX Saturday Baseball in a 3:55 p.m. ET start at Comerica Park. Jeremy Bonderman (5-0, 3.27) will try to stretch his unbeaten streak to 11 games this season when he takes the mound opposite nasty Mets left-hander Oliver Perez (6-4, 2.80).
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.