7/11/2013 12:19 A.M. ET
Alburquerque hits rough patch in past two outings
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- After seven consecutive scoreless outings, it seemed Al Alburquerque couldn't do anything wrong in his role as the setup man. In his last two appearances, however, he's struggled to get hitters out.
Alburquerque allowed three earned runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning against the White Sox on Tuesday, and three earned runs on one hit and two walks in one-third of an inning on Monday against the Indians.
"Command appears to be one of his bigger issues, and then maybe letting up because he's concerned about his command, but I don't know," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
According to BrooksBaseball, Alburquerque didn't allow a hit on the 63 sliders he threw in his seven scoreless appearances, with one hit allowed on 30 sinkers. In his last two outings, he's given up two home runs on eight sinkers and three singles on 23 sliders, though Leyland doesn't suspect that Alburquerque is losing trust in any of his pitches.
"No I don't think so, he just didn't throw the ball good. I don't know whether he didn't throw the ball velocity-wise because he's concerned about getting it over or not. I can't answer that question," Leyland said.
Miggy declined Derby invitation because of soreness
DETROIT -- Despite an offer from American League captain and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano to participate in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby at Citi Field next week, Miguel Cabrera chose to decline because of an ailing hip and back.
Manager Jim Leyland and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand talked to Cabrera on Tuesday and recommended that he didn't take part in the event.
"We made the decision together," Cabrera said. "We've been talking the last few days. One day it's good, one day it's bad. It's my hip more than my back. We need to be careful. If something happened, it would be bad for the team."
Cabrera hit his 29th home run and the 350th of his career in the eighth inning against the White Sox on Tuesday night. Leyland, however, thought it was the smart choice to avoid the Home Run Derby, where the amount of swings can make it a grueling experience.
"He's not 100 percent, and I think that would be pretty ridiculous to go up there and take a whole bunch of swings trying to hit a home run with his back the way it is," Leyland said. "Even though he's fine, he can play, but he's not 100 percent."
Leyland said Cabrera's injuries have flared up momentarily with certain movements, but he doesn't expect Cabrera to deal with soreness for the rest of the season.
"I think it's a matter of what you can handle, and the best part about it is he's got a manager that if he needs a day or two off, he's gonna get it," Leyland said. "But I don't think this is something that's going to linger, I don't really see that, I'm not getting any vibes like that from the trainers or Cabrera."
Download the official MLB.com Home Run Derby Game, featuring 24 sluggers from the 2010-12 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. Available for free in the Apple App Store.
Rondon appears more confident, comfortable
DETROIT -- Bruce Rondon struggled in his first three appearances with the Tigers in April and May before being sent back to Triple-A Toledo. In his return, he's shown improved command and results.
The Tigers recalled Rondon from Toledo on June 28, and he's allowed three earned runs and two walks in 5 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.
"He looks much better than the first time I saw him," manager Jim Leyland said before Rondon allowed two runs, including his first big league homer, in one inning of Wednesday night's 8-5 victory over the White Sox. "I think he's settling in a little bit, hopefully getting a little confidence. I like the way we're going to use him right now, I think that's got a chance to work for us."
While Rondon hasn't been called upon to close games like he was in his first time with the team, that doesn't mean he hasn't pitched in big situations.
"I thought the one game in Toronto [last Wednesday] was a huge game for our team, because Rondon got out [Jose] Reyes and [Jose] Bautista, and I thought that was a stepping stone, maybe," Leyland said.
Possible Peralta suspension hangs over Tigers
DETROIT -- Major League Baseball is expected to suspend as many as 20 players at some point after next week's All-Star break for their connection with Tony Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, according to an ESPN report.
Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has been linked to Biogenesis, according to reports, but it is unclear if he is in danger of a suspension. Manager Jim Leyland declined to elaborate if a backup plan is in place if Peralta were suspended.
"I'm not getting into that," Leyland said. "That's not for managers to discuss in my opinion. I'm not going to discuss it. That's a lot higher up than me."
If MLB does levy suspensions, players who appeal would remain active while their cases are ongoing.
Peralta was named to the American League All-Star team and is batting .303 with seven home runs and 42 RBIs.
Former Marine to represent Tigers at All-Star Game
DETROIT -- Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine announced Cory Gritter of Rockville, Md., as the Tigers representative in the Tribute for Heroes campaign on Wednesday.
The campaign is a national initiative around the All-Star Game to recognize veteran and military service members for their work. Gritter served as a Marine scout sniper before sustaining significant shrapnel wounds from an IED explosion during a mission in Afghanistan. After spending three years recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, he has founded a cyber security company to help transitioning veterans find careers. He has volunteered with Toys for Tots, and he recently completed the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for Hire Our Heroes.
Tigers All-Star Justin Verlander was on a guest panel of players and retired service members who helped select the finalists.
Gritter will be included in the All-Star Week festivities and will be honored during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16 on FOX beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Leyland pondering Darvish's All-Star replacement
DETROIT -- American League All-Star manager Jim Leyland said he was relaxed and basically home free after turning in his picks for the roster Saturday morning.
However, it's never as easy as it sounds.
The Texas Rangers are placing All-Star pitcher Yu Darvish on the 15-day disabled list with a strained trapezius muscle in his right shoulder.
"When I came in, I had a message from [Rangers manager] Ron Washington that Darvish was on the disabled list," Leyland said after Wednesday's 8-5 victory over the White Sox. "Since it's a pitcher, it'll be my pick, and I'll just have to go back to my laptop and what do you call it, the iPad, and go to work."
According to MLB rules, if a position player is injured, he is replaced by the player who finished with the highest amount of votes on the players' ballot. But if a pitcher is injured, Leyland has his choice of a replacement.
"I'm sure they're going to want it pretty quick but at the same time, you've got to give me a chance to do some more homework," Leyland said. "I know kind of the order we have them, so it won't be too hard, but I'll get the iPad out."
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.