09/28/11 8:10 PM ET
Tigers' Division Series roster decisions made
By Jason Beck and Chris Vannini / MLB.com
Leyland said the opponent could change things, but it is pretty much finalized. Leyland and other members of the organization met on Monday to discuss the roster.
"We pretty much have our roster done," Leyland said. "Knock on wood, you can't ever have it finally done because you don't know how the game plays out tonight. ... Our thought process is pretty much all done."Division Series rosters must be finalized by 10 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Players' individual honors important to Leyland
DETROIT -- Jim Leyland insists he hasn't wavered on his opinion about the Most Valuable Player Award.
He doesn't think pitchers should be eligible, but since they are, Justin Verlander would get his vote for MVP.
But another Tiger -- this one a position player -- has moved into consideration for the award. Miguel Cabrera was hitting .456 (31-for-68) since Sept. 6 and put himself in the driver's seat for the American League batting title, leading with a .343 average entering the season's final day of games.
"He's just a special hitter," Leyland said. "I think you've really seen him at his best this last three weeks. He's on an absolute mission. I don't think I've ever seen him better. His concentration level is the best I've ever seen."
Leyland was asked if he would pull Cabrera out of the game at some point on Wednesday if he was assured the batting title. Leyland said he didn't think he would do it for a batting title, but he did have a piece of paper that listed every scenario for Cabrera, Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and Texas' Michael Young.
But don't expect Leyland to pull Cabrera if the Tigers are in a tight game, as a chance at home-field advantage obviously is more important.
"I'm going to do what I think is right," Leyland said. "If he has a chance to win the batting title, if I have anything to do with it, he will win the batting title. But we have to win this game tonight."
Tigers not questioning Angels' motives
DETROIT -- When the Angels announced on Tuesday that they would be scratching Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver from their starts Tuesday and Wednesday against the Rangers, the strongest reaction came not from California, but Michigan. It did not come from Comerica Park.
While the conspiracy theories have run wild whether the Angels scratched two of their top three starters to get back at the Tigers after tempers flared between the two clubs in a Weaver showdown with Justin Verlander on July 31, Detroit manager Jim Leyland is taking the Angels' explanation of innings workloads at face value.
"It doesn't bother me at all," Leyland said. "I wouldn't pitch Verlander after 250 innings if it didn't mean anything. They're taking care of their players, just as I would with mine."
As for the impact it has on the Tigers' playoff chances, Leyland is philosophical.
"We should've won one more game," Leyland said.
Verlander, who won the American League ERA title and the AL pitching Triple Crown with Weaver's scratch, wasn't going to argue it.
"They may just be wanting to give him a little rest," Verlander said. "He may be a little tired. You don't know. He's had a tremendous year. Obviously, I would've liked to have seen him pitch and beat Texas for us, that would've been nice."
Verlander to savor season after playoffs
DETROIT -- Justin Verlander had a perfect scenario in his mind of how Jered Weaver's final start of the season would play out.
"In a perfect world," Verlander said, "he would've gone out and beat the Rangers and given up a few runs."
The first part would've given the Tigers a much-needed Rangers loss to clinch home-field advantage for the Division Series. The last part would've still allowed Verlander to clinch the American League ERA title.
He got the latter, but by default. Once the Angels were eliminated from Wild Card contention, they scratched Weaver from his scheduled start for Wednesday's regular-season finale. With that, Verlander clinched the final part of his pitching Triple Crown, topping Weaver in ERA, 2.40 to 2.41.
At some point, Verlander will be able to revel in the fact that he's the first AL pitcher to win the Triple Crown -- ERA, wins and strikeouts -- since Johan Santana did it for Minnesota in 2006, and the first Tiger since Hal Newhouser in 1945. That time is not now.
"I see what's going on," Verlander said. "I know where I stand and the numbers that I've put up, but that's not on the forefront of my mind. First and foremost is winning and getting into the postseason, which we've done, and then hopefully winning the World Series. That's what's on the forefront of my mind now. Once the season's over, then I'll kind of let it soak in.
"Do I see the numbers? Do I know what's going on? Yes. But I don't let myself really think about it now."
Guillen heads to Florida to continue rehab
DETROIT -- While Tigers players arrived at Comerica Park on Wednesday with bags packed for New York, Carlos Guillen was already gone ... to Florida. That's where he's taking his rehab for his strained right calf.
If it wasn't already abundantly clear, Guillen's trek made it official that he won't be on the roster for the American League Division Series. But it doesn't rule him out from the rest of the postseason if the Tigers advance, according to head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.
Guillen will work out at the Tigers' Spring Training complex in Lakeland. He has started jogging, Rand said, and will progress with a running program from there. He started taking batting practice at Comerica Park this week.
If Guillen progresses to the point where he can play, it doesn't guarantee he'll be added to the playoff roster for the ALCS or World Series. But it will give manager Jim Leyland an option for a switch-hitting bat off the bench.
Boesch expects to be ready for Spring Training
DETROIT -- Brennan Boesch was wiggling his right thumb around on Wednesday like he was warming up for a video game. But he admits he isn't good at video games. For somebody just coming off thumb surgery, though, simply moving the thumb around is a good feeling.
In Boesch's case, it's also a sign he's ahead of schedule in his recovery.
"It's ahead of where the doctors said I would be," he said.
Boesch underwent surgery on Sept. 6 to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. After spending a couple weeks with the thumb splinted, he was able to remove that and start mobility exercises. At some point next month, he's expected to start rehab exercises again.
The timetable calls for him to be ready well before players report to Spring Training in February. He's hoping to have as close to a normal offseason as he can.
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.