DETROIT -- While Drew Smyly was preparing for his first Tigers start in six weeks, the man for whom Smyly was filling in was going through a workout to prepare for the next time his rotation spot.
Doug Fister, scratched from Saturday's start with an adductor strain in his right groin, isn't ready to say yet that he'll be ready for next Saturday. After his latest workout, though, his chances seem better.
"Today was a real good day for us," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "We've got some steps to take yet, but by the same token, I think he was very encouraged by how things went today."
Fister, for his part, said he's approaching his situation on a day-by-day basis. On Saturday, went through a core workout before airing out his arm playing catch.
"It's a little tight, but no soreness," he said of his injury.
The Tigers do not have to keep Smyly around as a precaution. Though players optioned to the Minors usually have to stay for 10 days before they're eligible to be called up again, there's an exception when they're replacing someone who has been placed on the disabled list. Fister has not yet been placed on the DL, so if he's not ready for next Saturday, the Tigers can put him there and then call up Smyly.
Miggy at DH gives Tigers' lineup new look
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera was back at designated hitter for the Tigers on Saturday night, and there's every expectation he'll be there again for their next game Sunday afternoon.
"I doubt very much whether Cabrera will play third base before [next week's series at] Kansas City," manager Jim Leyland said.
However, Leyland said, don't expect Cabrera to get a day off anytime soon unless his sore right ankle worsens to the point that it affects him at the plate.
The move continues to cause a shuffle in the Tigers' lineup, forcing Detroit to essentially sacrifice an outfield hitter for a utility infielder at third base. After Ramon Santiago manned the hot corner Friday, Jeff Baker started there Saturday, hoping to take advantage of the .337 average from opposing right-handed hitters against Angels starter Dan Haren.
Despite the splits, Leyland said he had been hoping to get Brennan Boesch in the starting lineup against Haren. If Cabrera had been at third base, shifting Delmon Young to DH, that would have happened.
Instead, Young started in left field for the second straight night. Andy Dirks shifted to right, and Boesch was out of the lineup for the sixth time in the Tigers' last seven games. Leyland said Boesch will start on Sunday against Angels righty Ervin Santana. Unless Cabrera somehow starts at third base, Young will be out of the lineup.
Infante motivated to improve timing after play
DETROIT -- Credit Torii Hunter with the hard slide on Omar Infante at second base to break up a double play and extend Friday's sixth inning for Howard Kendrick's two-run double. That didn't stop Infante from beating himself up.
"It's a tough play, because I catch the ball and see [Hunter] and throw the ball to first base. But I have a chance," Infante said. "If my throw's good, I make the out."
Infante checked the replay later to see the timing on Hunter's collision and when he released the ball.
"When I see the replay, I see after I throw, he [slid in] to me," Infante said.
Tigers infield coach Rafael Belliard saw the same replay, and the same timing. Though Infante got rid of the ball quickly, he released it so soon that it sailed wide on him.
Both Infante and Belliard said that he could have avoided the slide by running towards the throw and coming across the bag for the out. He'd be throwing across his body and against his momentum, but he'd have a clean look.
"I have to go to the ball," Infante said. "When I wait, I stay back. That's why when I stay back, it's hard for me to throw. Sometimes I have to alter my body."
That's a play he said he needs to practice.