Improved Galarraga working on slider
Two off-days leave Tigers righty's next start up in air
LOS ANGELES -- The good news for Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga out of Saturday was that he continued to pound the strike zone and live with the results. He did not try to nibble off the corners and hope the Dodgers would chase, which was partly to blame for his struggles last year.
Saturday, however, was a lesson in the difference between strikes and quality strikes. A few sliders he threw weren't nearly as good as the others, and the Dodgers didn't miss them.
"I think he's definitely better than he was last year," manager Jim Leyland said, "but the mistakes that he made were with his breaking ball, and he's going to have to run the ball in on some people."
Both home runs -- Casey Blake in the second inning, then Matt Kemp in the fifth to knock Galarraga out of the game -- came on sliders.
"I left a couple sliders up and I paid for it," Galarraga said. "I think I made good pitches, a lot of good pitches, but I made some mistakes."
Galarraga was, however, particularly pleased with his fastball, which topped out at 93 mph with both life and command. Blake DeWitt's two-run triple came off the fastball, but Galarraga considered it a good one.
Galarraga said he'll continue to work on his slider before his next start, whenever that is. The soonest that could come is Saturday, thanks to two scheduled off-days for the Tigers this week.
Cabrera to miss Tigers' series in Seattle
LOS ANGELES -- Miguel Cabrera will miss the Tigers' upcoming two-game series at Seattle to be with his wife in Florida for the birth of their second child.
It leaves a big void for Detroit to fill against the Mariners. But as manager Jim Leyland pointed out, it's a loss the team can completely understand.
"We're going to be playing a little bit short, but for the right reason," Leyland said. "I wish him the best of luck, obviously, with the child and everything."
Cabrera's wife, Rosangel, is scheduled to have labor induced on Tuesday near their home in Miami and give birth to their second daughter. Because the Tigers play Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon in Seattle, it would be just about impossible for Cabrera to return in time for Wednesday's series finale.
Instead, Cabrera will rejoin the team back in Detroit for the start of their upcoming homestand Friday night.
Cabrera hit his 10th home run of the season in Sunday's win over the Dodgers. His 40 RBIs lead the Major Leagues, and his loss will leave the Tigers tinkering the middle of the lineup. With Carlos Guillen on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo, Detroit doesn't have a proven run producer to fill in. They could conceivably give rookie Brennan Boesch a chance in the cleanup spot, or they could move Johnny Damon down in the order.
Both Tigers utility players, Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn, have experience playing first base. So it appears unlikely the Tigers will make a short-term roster move to add a position player.
"I've got plenty of options," Leyland said. "I'm not worried about that. You don't like that bat being out of there for a couple of days, but I've got a couple guys who can play first base. I'm not worried about that part of it. You worry about losing that offense for a couple days -- like I said, all for the right reason.
"We'll make the best out of it. Hopefully everything works out for Miguel and his wife. We'll move forward."
Leyland celebrates son's graduation from LA
LOS ANGELES -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland was heading to Dodger Stadium while his son Patrick was picking up his diploma Sunday morning, but the proud papa was able to talk over the phone before the game.
Patrick Leyland is on track to attend the University of Maryland and play on the Terrapins baseball team, but he's also a potential prospect for next month's MLB Draft. He bore the scars from a tough slide as he made a way through commencement, a leg injury from practice that required several stitches to sew up.
The elder Leyland plans to return home on Thursday's scheduled off-day and attend Patrick's graduation party.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.