06/19/10 1:36 AM ET
Bad hop forces Cabrera out of game
Laird scratched from lineup; Jackson misses fourth game
By Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com
"Miguel got hit where it's not very comfortable and was dizzy," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I just didn't want to take any chances."
Leyland said he expects to have Cabrera back in the starting lineup Saturday.
Catcher Gerald Laird, who was listed as starting on Friday afternoon, was a late scratch. He missed the game with a stiff neck. He was listed as day-to-day.
Leyland said Laird's neck had been sore for several days, but never so sore that he couldn't play. Actually, Leyland thinks it might have helped from the plate.
"It worked out pretty good the other night, because he didn't pull off the ball," Leyland said. "He got three hits. The other day it was playable, and he was able to stay on the ball real good, because he wasn't able to move his neck. That sounds corny, but I'm dead serious. I think it helped him a little bit. But tonight it got so bad he couldn't hardly move."
Joining Cabrera and Laird on the bench was center fielder Austin Jackson, who missed his fourth straight game after experiencing back spasms and exiting early in Sunday's game against the Pirates. He has experienced similar back spasms in the past and doesn't expect to miss too many more games.
"I don't think there's a reason to rush it if it's not feeling right," Jackson said. "It's one of those things where it needs time to heal. There isn't really a rush. It's a long season."
The injuries left Leyland with very few options on the bench Friday. Luckily, third baseman Brandon Inge hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth to prevent potential extra innings.
"We were pretty short tonight, without Jackson," Leyland said. "We were in a bind really. When you take Miguel out, you only really have one player left. You are going to play four or five innings with one player, and that's not real comfortable."
Porcello ready to return after break
DETROIT -- Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello will return to the mound Saturday after being skipped in the rotation the last time around.
After Porcello surrendered eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings against the White Sox on June 9, and with the off-day Monday, Tigers manager Jim Leyland opted to give the right-hander some extra time to regain control of his sinker, which was hanging up in the strike zone.
"He's been doing fine, but we won't know until you see him pitch in a game," Leyland said. "We'll see tomorrow when we put live hitters up there. But he's been doing very well."
Porcello hasn't carried the success of his first year into his sophomore campaign. Last season, he was a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year candidate with a 14-9 record and a 3.96 ERA in 31 starts. This season, he holds a 4-6 record with a 6.09 ERA.
"The first couple months it was frustrating, definitely," Porcello said. "But I think I'm at a point now where I've accepted the fact that I'm going to struggle. I'm not going to go through my entire career without having rough patches. But you learn from it."
During his bullpen sessions, Porcello didn't work solely on his mechanics. He worked on improving his mentality when he's on the mound, too.
"I feel good now," he said. "I feel confident. It's almost like one of those things where you go out there and you have nothing to lose now. I'm just going to go out there and pitch and try to help us win. I don't really care about numbers or ERA at this point. I just want to go out there and pitch well enough for us to win."
Returning Jackson ready to face friends
DETROIT -- On Friday, the Tigers got their first look at Dontrelle Willis since the club traded the left-handed pitcher to the D-backs this month. They'll see another familiar face in Arizona colors Saturday, when the Tigers' hitters square off against Edwin Jackson.
Jackson was traded from the Tigers to the D-backs in a three-way deal this offseason that brought then-Arizona starter, Max Scherzer, to Detroit. Jackson holds a 3-6 record with a 5.18 ERA in 14 starts this season, but he has given up only a combined six runs in his last three starts, all of which resulted in no-decisions.
Last year, Jackson went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts for the Tigers -- numbers that manager Jim Leyland compared to Jekyll and Hyde.
"He was unbelievable the first half, and not as effective the second half," Leyland said. "But Edwin has tremendous stuff. He's going to want to go out there and show some people over here. I'm sure Edwin is going to bring his 'A' game, and he had a lot of success pitching here. I think it's going to be fun to go out and compete against him."
Jackson still throws the same pitches, but he doesn't expect there to be an advantage for either side when he takes the mound. The Tigers may know his stuff, but he remembers their tendencies at the plate, too. All in all, he's looking forward to trying his hand against his former teammates.
"It's always fun when you get to face friends," Jackson said. "It makes it like high school all over again. It's a competition, and competition is supposed to be fun. It will definitely be good times. But they aren't friends when you're on the mound. Even though they are friends, I still want to get friends out."
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.