Notes: Back injury hampers Polanco
Second baseman unsure if he can play in All-Star Game
DETROIT -- Placido Polanco played nine years in the Majors before his first All-Star Game selection. The fans voted him as a starter this season, so it would be a shame if he couldn't participate in Tuesday's game.But Polanco said he isn't sure if he can play after he left Saturday's game with a minor back injury. "I have no idea [if I can play]," Polanco said. "It's a day-to-day situation, but I feel better today. A little bit better." He hurt his right latissimus dorsi, a wing-like muscle of the upper back under each arm, on a swing in the fourth inning on Saturday. He remained in the game until Omar Infante replaced him after the seventh inning. The injury isn't considered serious, but manager Jim Leyland said he worried that the long plane ride to San Francisco could cause the injury to flare up. "[The trainers] are going to work like crazy on him this morning," Leyland said. "Not for today's game, but just to get him comfortable on the plane. Hopefully he'll be OK for Tuesday, because this is a big moment for him." Polanco said he plans to wear a hot pad on his back during the plane ride to alleviate the soreness. "If I can, I can play," Polanco said. "I thought it was going to be worse [this morning], but I feel a lot better today." Other ails: Leyland also gave regulars Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez the day off on Sunday. "Magglio definitely needs a day off," Leyland said. "His heel is not good." Ordonez and Rodriguez both played the entire game in Saturday's four-hour, 28-minute, 3-2 win over the Red Sox in 13 innings. The long game didn't have a factor in the decision to sit Ordonez, though it did for Rodriguez, who delivered the game-winning hit. "If we had played a two-hour game, [Ordonez] would have been off today," Leyland said. "Pudge would have played today, but not after 13 innings. "I'm lucky [All-Star Carlos] Guillen could play. Thank God, because I was a little short. It is what it is." Marcus Thames started in right field in place of Ordonez, while Mike Rabelo started his second game in three days for Rodriguez. Infante started at second base for Polanco. Rotation set: Leyland set his rotation for after the All-Star break. Andrew Miller will pitch the first game out of the break. The rest of the rotation will go as follows: Jeremy Bonderman, Kenny Rogers, Justin Verlander and Nate Robertson. This allows Leyland to use his preferred setup, with the lefty Rogers sandwiched between hard-throwing righties Bonderman and Verlander. Quotable: "He's obviously not Polanco. Or he'd be starting and Polanco would be Infante." -- Leyland, on utility man Infante Meeting Trucks: Verlander has socialized with countless people since his no-hitter on June 12 at Comerica Park against the Brewers, including a visit with President George W. Bush at the White House. His no-hitter was the first for a Tigers pitcher in Detroit since May 15, 1952. On Sunday, he got to meet Virgil Trucks, the man who threw the last no-hitter in Detroit. Trucks, who turned 90 in April, traveled from Calera, Ala., to present Verlander with a commemorative award prior to the Tigers' game against the Red Sox. Joe Ginsberg, who was the catcher for Trucks' no-hitter, was also there to present Rodriguez with an award for his part in the historic outing. Just a reminder: Get your recorders ready. Anyone who missed Verlander's no-hitter the first time around has a second chance to view the game. FSN Detroit will replay the game in its entirety on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Lucky night: Leyland had a hard time sleeping after Saturday's nerve-wracking game. So he wandered over to a casino to help unwind. It proved to be a smart decision. "I went to the casino and won $1,750 and went to bed," Leyland said. "[I was] in bed by 2 [a.m. ET] and I was up by 7:30 [a.m.]. I don't sleep much." Up next: The Tigers are off until Thursday, with Tuesday's All-Star Game in between for Leyland and five players. They resume play in Seattle with Miller (4-2, 3.31 ERA) going against Felix Hernandez (5-4, 3.72 ERA) and the Mariners. First pitch is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. ET.
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.