ARLINGTON -- A day after manager Jim Leyland said he had to discuss what to do about the team's starter for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, he erased any speculation about Justin Verlander possibly starting on short rest.
"He's pitching Game 5," Leyland said prior to a 7-3 loss on Monday in Game 2. "That's a slam dunk. That is the end of the conversation."
Rick Porcello, who pitched two perfect innings in relief of Verlander in Game 1 on Saturday night, will start Game 4 on Wednesday as previously planned. Verlander, who threw 84 pitches in the series opener, will get his regular four days' rest before starting Thursday.
Not even a must-win scenario in Game 4 will change that.
"What people don't realize is, you've got to win four games," Leyland said. "Nobody might believe this -- the public, the TV people might not want to and everybody else -- but let me tell you something: At this point, from what I've seen, pitching Justin Verlander on the fifth day is two-fold. It's the best thing for Justin Verlander, and it's the best thing for the team. Trust me when I tell you that.
"In my heart, it is a no-brainer. It might read better if I said I changed my mind. Everybody would love it. But it's not the best thing for him, and it's not the best thing for this team. He needs the day. That is a no-brainer."
Leyland: Rainout benefited Tigers, too
ARLINGTON -- The decision to postpone Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on what turned out to be a dry Sunday evening raised countless eyebrows.Jim Leyland's were not among them -- partly because the Detroit manager has been around long enough to know the unpredictability of the weather, but mostly because he totally dismissed the notion of gamesmanship, with some interpreting the unexpected off-day as giving the hometown Rangers an advantage. In the postseason, decisions to postpone and suspend games ultimately rest with Major League Baseball, but many believed that Texas got a boost by the rainout. The idea behind that: the Rangers' bullpen got a chance to catch its breath after contributing 4 1/3 innings of one-hit ball on Saturday. The Rangers' bullpen was sharp again on Monday in a 7-3 win, combining for 8 1/3 shutout innings, with four hits scattered among five hurlers. Still, Leyland stressed prior to the game that Detroit benefited plenty from the off-day. "It's just as much an advantage for us," Leyland said. "We weren't that sure about [Game 2 starter Max] Scherzer, and he got another day's rest. I think this works in our favor." Scherzer started Game 2 on three days' rest after he appeared in relief during Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Yankees. He allowed two runs in the first inning Monday, but he righted himself to pitch into the seventh. Scherzer was cruising until the final batter he faced, Nelson Cruz, led off the seventh with a homer. Cruz later clubbed the first official walk-off grand slam in postseason history.
The extra day also gave Detroit's decision-makers, both baseball and medical, an extra day to evaluate Delmon Young's condition.Had the game been played Sunday, it is very unlikely Young would have gotten the green light with his strained left oblique. The Tigers would have been rushed into an alternative for replacing Magglio Ordonez, who had come out of Saturday's game with a broken ankle -- a decision with which the club would've been stuck for the balance of the ALCS. Young played the first six innings on Monday, but he exited in favor of Don Kelly. "I disagree with everybody that says [the delayed Game 2] is a big advantage for the Rangers, because of their bullpen," Leyland said. "I disagree with that totally. "I'm not saying it's a big advantage to us, either, but I don't think it's more of an advantage for them. I think it works just as well for us as them."
Magglio likely headed for surgery on ankle
ARLINGTON -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland watched Magglio Ordonez moving around more like his old self in recent weeks and thought Ordonez had a chance for a good stretch run. Leyland read Ordonez's comments about feeling as good as he has all year, and he thought he had a veteran hitter heating up at the right time.
When head athletic trainer Kevin Rand told Leyland in the middle of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series that Ordonez was done with a re-injury to the right ankle he fractured last year, it hit the veteran skipper hard.
"He's got to be down in the dumps," Leyland said Monday morning. "There's a lot of emotion that's going on with the Magglio situation right now, obviously, for all of us. My heart aches for him. From a selfish standpoint, No. 1, he was swinging well. And who knows, maybe that's why the first time up, maybe he couldn't even push off then? I don't know.
"My heart aches for the guy. I talked to him last night. The poor guy's in a boot. It breaks your heart, but what are you going to do?"
For now, it appears Ordonez will remain with the team for the ALCS as a spectator, either in the dugout or in the stands. Rand said Ordonez is scheduled to visit with foot/ankle specialist Dr. Arthur Manoli once the team returns home to Detroit. They club will send the results of the exam to a couple other doctors and determine the best course from there, which almost certainly will be another surgery.
The fracture is in the exact same place as the last one. Because the first break was vertical, rather than horizontal, the wear and tear of running and putting weight on the foot didn't help the healed fracture. Instead, the stress almost worked to slip it apart.
Rand said Ordonez didn't feel the fracture on any one particular incident. Ordonez felt some soreness during pregame batting practice, but he didn't feel serious pain until the game. Once the first of two downpours stopped the game, Ordonez went to Rand.
"Whenever he pounds down on it, it's like a split," Rand said. "He's got screws holding that, and the fluid in his joint pushing up has separated that, caused it to be separated again."
It took Ordonez nearly a full year after the first surgery to play like his old self. He'll now have to decide whether he wants to go through that rehab process again. He'll turn 38 years old next January, but his play down the stretch made him look far younger, so he knows the rewards if it works.
Before the injury, Leyland said, Ordonez had indicated to him and the team that he planned on playing next year.
"I asked him at one point this season, 'Do you plan on playing next year?' And he said, 'Yes,'" Leyland said. "Since then, it might have been Dave Dombrowski that he told. He was talking about maybe playing another two to three years. But I was not involved in that.
"Now, what this will do, I don't know."
Zumaya, Aretha will headline Game 3 pregame
ARLINGTON -- Injured Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya, former Tigers great Darrell Evans and Motown legend Aretha Franklin will be the headliners in pregame ceremonies Tuesday night when the American League Championship Series heads to Detroit for Game 3 at Comerica Park.
Zumaya, a rookie relief sensation on the 2006 AL champions, will deliver the game ball to the mound. It'll be Zumaya's first trip to Comerica Park this season, having missed the entire season with elbow issues following surgery last summer. He has been throwing at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in hopes of making a comeback next season. He'll be a free agent this winter.
Evans, a slugger on the 1984 World Series champions, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was the primary designated hitter for the '84 Tigers, hitting 16 home runs with 63 RBIs. It marked his only championship during a 21-year Major League career that included 414 home runs.
Franklin, the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has been a part of Tigers ceremonies in the past, including Opening Day.
The gates to Comerica Park will open at 6 p.m. ET for the 8:05 start.
Boesch visits specialist for one-month checkup
ARLINGTON -- Tigers slugger Brennan Boesch will see a hand specialist for a checkup on his surgically repaired thumb and potential clearance for the next step in his rehab. A return to the Tigers this postseason, however, appears out of the question.
Boesch will visit this week with Dr. Michael Graham, who performed surgery to repair a torn ligament in Boesch's thumb in September. It's a scheduled checkup that coincides with the one-month mark since his surgery.
So far, Boesch's rehab has gone well.
"Right now, his range of motion seems to be back to 75 percent," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said Monday. "Now, we'll start working on strength once we get clearance."
That's a long way from playing shape, though, despite Boesch's hope last week that he could at least be an option for the Tigers to add to the World Series roster, should they reach.
Guillen hitless in instructional league game
ARLINGTON -- Carlos Guillen went 0-for-3 with two groundouts Monday in Florida instructional league play for the Tigers, the first game action for the switch-hitting veteran infielder since he strained his right calf last month.
Guillen is scheduled to play in games all week in hopes he could be available to rejoin the Tigers should they advance to the World Series. From a health standpoint, Monday was an encouraging start, with Guillen serving as the designated hitter.
"He did hit a couple ground balls, and he ran down the line really well," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "No issues there."
Guillen likely wouldn't return as an option at second base, with no time to get his legs into game shape. More likely, he would be a pinch-hitting possibility off the bench.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Tom Singer is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow @Tom_Singer on Twitter.him on Twitter at @bryanhoch. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.