Zumaya nears return to one-inning outings
Reliever was working multiple frames to round arm into form
SEATTLE -- Joel Zumaya's ability to pitch multiple innings has been a huge reason why the Tigers' bullpen has had so much success this season. But those two-inning -- and sometimes longer -- outings from Zumaya could be nearing an end, shifting back toward the single-inning role he had in years past.
"I think it's worked out pretty good," said manager Jim Leyland, "but at some point, you want to get it down to one inning if you can, maybe four outs or something like that."
The multi-inning role Zumaya became accustomed to was a way for Leyland to work his arm sensibly, stretching out his arm rather than trying to heat it up on frequent days. Twelve of the right-hander's 17 outings this season lasted longer than three outs, and two other appearances saw him enter in one inning and continue into the next. Eight of Zumaya's outings lasted at least 25 pitches.
Impressively, Zumaya has maintained his velocity throughout the season. His average fastball velocity of 99.1 mph is far and away the highest in the league, according to fangraphs.com, but several of his triple-digit fastballs have come after his first inning of work in recent outings.
It was all part of the Tigers' plan for Zumaya to get his arm in shape after three consecutive injury-shortened seasons. The next step is to settle him back into a more traditional one-inning role.
"To be honest with you, early on, I think it was probably pretty good for him," Leyland said. "Because he hadn't pitched in a while, I think it was pretty good for him to get out to the mound. I don't think that's any different right now, but I'd say shortly we want to just go one inning if we can."
Eye wide open: Jackson returns to lineup
SEATTLE -- Two days after Austin Jackson's left eye was swollen shut, it was hard to tell it was ever puffy. And what was feared to be a longer absence for the Tigers' rookie leadoff man became a return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Mariners.
Jackson was back atop Detroit's batting order and back to his usual upbeat self, not that he ever really got down. He lost some vision range out of his left eye when he took a Ramon Troncoso fastball off his helmet Saturday at Dodger Stadium, but he didn't lose his sense of humor.
Once he went out walking around downtown Seattle, he lost the swelling. The only obvious sign anything happen is the scar above his eyebrow where his helmet crashed into his head.
"I don't know if it was walking around during the off-day to get some blood flowing," Jackson said. "I don't know. But once I got in from walking around downtown, it just opened up a lot."
Jackson underwent some final tests Tuesday afternoon to make sure he didn't have any concussion symptoms before being cleared to play.
With Miggy out, Magglio assumes cleanup role
SEATTLE -- Miguel Cabrera's absence Tuesday created a domino effect up the Tigers' lineup, culminating in Magglio Ordonez batting cleanup for the first time since last June.
Johnny Damon, who batted leadoff Saturday and Sunday, moved down to third with Austin Jackson back atop the batting order. Ramon Santiago batted second for the fourth consecutive game. Don Kelly replaced Cabrera at first base and batted seventh.
"We're obviously improvising," said manager Jim Leyland, "because Cabrera's out."
Cabrera went home to Miami after Sunday's win over the Dodgers to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He's expected to rejoin the team back in Detroit for Friday's series opener against the A's.
As much of a force as Cabrera has become in the Tigers lineup, it's easy to forget that Ordonez was Detroit's everyday cleanup hitter for nearly four years, even after Cabrera first arrived. Not until the tail end of the 2008 season did they switch.
Back then, however, the Tigers had Carlos Guillen hitting higher in the order. These days, Guillen is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo with hopes of returning in the coming days to play second base.
Damon batted third in a game earlier this year when Leyland gave Ordonez a rest, and he produced an RBI double. He batted third twice last year as a member of the Yankees.
Santiago, who had a three-hit game in the second spot Saturday against the Dodgers, said he enjoys the two-hole quite a bit.
"Second is special for me," Santiago said. "I can bunt it, bunt the runner over to third base if I get a chance, maybe hit or just pull the ball to the right side. You can do the job [to move runners] without a hit. You don't have to get a hit all the time. I like to move the runner over, the fundamental things."
Pair of makeup dates announced
SEATTLE -- The Tigers had an off-day Monday, but their two rainouts so far this season are back on the schedule.
Detroit will make up its May 7 postponement at Cleveland with a day-night doubleheader on Saturday, July 17, at Progressive Field, and the Tigers will make up their May 17 postponement against the White Sox as part of a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday, August 3, at Comerica Park.
Tickets for the May 17 postponement will be honored for the first game of the twin bill, scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. ET. The regularly scheduled game will be the nightcap at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The same goes in Cleveland, where tickets for the postponed game are good for the afternoon affair at 1:05 p.m. ahead of the regularly-scheduled game at 7:05.
Both the Tigers and White Sox have an off-day on Aug. 2, but the Tigers will be coming home from a road trip, having finished a series at Boston on Aug. 1. Eliminating the off-day would have left the Tigers playing 27 consecutive days, which would've required a vote of the players to have been approved.
Guillen hits three doubles in rehab start
SEATTLE -- Carlos Guillen not only played his first full game at second base Tuesday for Triple-A Toledo, he had a pretty full game at the plate, hitting three doubles and scoring twice in a Mud Hens victory at Syracuse.
Guillen helped turn a double play at second in an errorless game after playing six innings there Monday night. His 3-for-5 performance improves his batting record to 5-for-14 through four games of his rehab assignment.
The Tigers have not so much as hinted at a timetable for Guillen to return, though it isn't expected to be anywhere near the 30 days they can have Guillen rehab. He has been on the disabled list since April 23, when he pulled his left hamstring running the bases.
Guillen's rehab, however, isn't just about showing he's healthy. He's also getting reacquainted with second base, a position he hasn't played in a regular-season game since 1999 -- but a slot he's slated to play regularly once he returns.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.