07/19/11 9:35 PM ET
Detroit signs draft picks Westlake, Collins
By Jason Beck and Chris Vannini / MLB.com
Detroit announced their deal with sixth-round selection Tyler Collins, the National Junior College Athletic Asssociation Player of the Year from Howard College in Texas. He batted .488 (105-for-215) this spring with 34 doubles, 19 homers and 82 RBIs.
Later Tuesday, the Tigers completed an agreement on a contract with Aaron Westlake, the slugging first baseman from Vanderbilt who put on a three-homer show at the College World Series. He was Detroit's third-round pick, making him the highest selection to sign to date. Baseball America reported that the two sides have agreed to a $310,000 bonus.
Teams have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 15 to sign their draft picks. The Tigers have signed 27 of their 50 selections so far, including Westlake.
Sizemore back in Detroit, on visitor's side
DETROIT -- The Tigers didn't trade Scott Sizemore to Oakland over Memorial Day weekend thinking he was done as a prospect. Detroit manager Jim Leyland felt like Sizemore could eventually be a Major League hitter, but felt he couldn't get there now.
It's unlikely the Tigers saw Sizemore getting there this soon. Two months and a position shift later, he's back, this time on the visiting side at Comerica Park.
Sizemore's reunion was cut short when he exited the game in the fourth inning after taking a fastball to his left jaw and neck. He was taken for X-rays, which proved negative, and has been deemed day-to-day.
"It's not much different," Sizemore said Tuesday before batting practice. "I still felt like I was confident in everything I was doing here [in Detroit]. I don't know, maybe [it's] the change of scenery, different organization, different mindset, different brand of ball, kind of. It's just different in Oakland than it is here."
Sizemore's position is obviously different. The A's traded for him with the thought of converting him to third, where he played for a stretch as a Tiger last July after Brandon Inge went on the disabled list.
"I always thought, 'He'll hit,'" Leyland said. "But it's different, too, because he's playing third base."
Sizemore also has a different role in the lineup. When the Tigers called him up in early May, they did so with the goal of having him replace Will Rhymes in the second spot. With the A's looking for offense, Sizemore has spent most of his time in the middle or bottom half of the lineup. On Tuesday, Sizemore batted fifth for the ninth time in 32 games, more than anywhere else in the order.
But more than anything, Sizemore just seems to have found a fit. Despite a 2-for-24 slump over his last six games entering Tuesday's series opener, Sizemore carried a .264 (29-for-110) average as an Athletic, with four home runs and 15 RBIs. With three more hits, he'll match his total from 48 games as a Tiger last year. He already has topped his numbers in home runs and RBIs.
"He's fit in great here," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "For a guy that's changed positions and had to go in and play third every day, a lot of times separating your offense and defense can be difficult, but he's been terrific. Each and every day at third he's that much more comfortable, and he's swung the bat consistently for us. Even in times when he hasn't gotten his share of hits, he makes productive outs. To be able to do that and learn a new position at the same time is a credit to his focus and his confidence."
It's arguably a better position for a hitting prospect to find himself. When Sizemore became Detroit's Opening Day starter last year, he was the successor to All-Star Placido Polanco. When he took over the job again this past May, he was tabbed as the potential spark plug for what was then a dormant offense on a team under pressure to win now.
In Oakland, he's another player getting a chance. He isn't necessarily a player looking for revenge the next couple days, but he'd like to make an impression.
"It's sad to leave Detroit, but I'm just glad I'm getting an opportunity elsewhere," Sizemore said. "Yeah, I feel like it's been going pretty well so far."
Jackson leads off lineup against A's
DETROIT -- Austin Jackson hasn't played since July 10 and hasn't been in the starting lineup since July 7, but it appears his left wrist has improved enough, as he was in Tuesday's lineup against the Athletics.
His wrist was taped, something he said would likely happen for the rest of the season. He was in Friday's original lineup, but was scratched prior to the game. On Tuesday, he went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, including a big one-out hit to start a six-run rally in the fifth inning.
Jackson has been dealing with inflammation in his left wrist for about two weeks. He came out of the game in the third inning on July 7 and entered as a defensive replacement in two games afterward. His wrist still isn't 100 percent, but it is good enough to play, and more importantly, avoid the disabled list.
"It felt good yesterday when I came here on the off day and took some swings and did some treatment," Jackson said. "I'm in the lineup tonight so I'm going to [batting practice] and I think that's really where I'll get the best read. That's the only real way you can simulate a game taking full swings. Right now, it feels good."
The Tigers decided to give Jackson rest after the All-Star break, hoping the wrist would improve enough that he could avoid the DL. Over the break, Jackson saw a hand and wrist specialist in Houston and got an anti-inflammatory shot. He also is taking medication to keep the inflammation down.
"I think that was the main thing, that I still had inflammation in there, so that's the reason I wasn't feeling any better," Jackson said. "I think we'll continue to do treatment every day on it, the anti-inflammatory medicine, making sure it's good and loose before I do any activity, I definitely think that it helps."
Purcey glad to reconnect with former team
DETROIT -- David Purcey was a member of the Athletics for less than two months, but it was still nice for him to catch up with some of his former teammates Tuesday as the Athletics came to Detroit.
"The guys on the team were great," Purcey said of Oakland. "It's good to see them. I already saw them when I got here, ran into a couple of them on the way in and said hi. We just caught up about things that have happened, having the kids, and some of the guys over there have had kids. It's been a good time."
The Tigers traded for Purcey on May 27. He didn't give up an earned run in his first eight appearances with Detroit, but has struggled recently. Purcey began the year with the Blue Jays, but was designated for assignment and eventually traded to the Athletics, where he gave up three earned runs in 12 2/3 innings pitched.
Purcey credited Oakland pitching coach Ron Romanick with helping him turn things around.
"He helped me straighten up a little bit and clean up my lines a little bit toward the plate," Purcey said. "He helped me out a lot. It'll be good to see him. I haven't seen him yet, but hopefully I'll get to go out there and say hi to him."
Prospect Turner getting extra rest in Double-A
DETROIT -- For a while, Jacob Turner looked like a legitimate candidate to start for the Tigers on Wednesday, as he had been moved up in the rotation to line up with that spot. Now, he won't be starting for Double-A Erie on Wednesday, either.
The Tigers have decided to skip their top pitching prospect for a turn, citing his busy stretch last week between appearances at the All-Star Futures Game Sunday in Phoenix, the Eastern League All-Star Game Wednesday in New Hampshire and his moved-up start Friday out of the break.
It isn't his first such break. The 20-year-old right-hander had nine days' rest in mid-June. He'll get the same total by the time he's scheduled to return to the mound for Erie next Monday.
The Tigers haven't definitively said Turner is on an innings count this year in his second professional season, but they're keeping an eye on it.
"We are monitoring his work load," Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila wrote in an e-mail.
Thomas to get elbow re-examined
DETROIT -- Brad Thomas is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday for a follow-up exam on his left elbow as what has already been a strange summer injury saga continues.
Thomas went on the disabled list with elbow inflammation in mid-May. He was in the middle of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo in late June when he reported more elbow discomfort.
Dr. Andrews found no damage to Thomas' elbow and cleared him to pitch, according to the team, and he finished out his rehab assignment before Detroit designated him for assignment over the All-Star break. However, Thomas told the Toledo Blade that the consultation was not a declaration that he was pain-free.
"When Dr. Andrews looked at the MRI, he asked, 'How is this guy even throwing?'" Thomas told the paper. "But I wanted to get back and help my mates up there [in Detroit]. When I talked to the Tigers about this a month ago, I said it would take four to six weeks for me to get back if [the doctors] went in and cleaned that up. I just need to get this fixed."
Thomas said he's still feeling soreness in the elbow, and he can't pitch through it anymore.
"I was fighting through that to go up to Detroit, and I just can't go through that pain," he told the paper. "I need it fixed."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.