7/26/2013 7:29 P.M. ET
Hunter pulled from lineup as Achilles injury persists
By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Though he was in manager Jim Leyland's initial lineup Friday, Torii Hunter was scratched with continued soreness in his left Achilles and is day to day.
After exiting Thursday's game in the eighth, Hunter was confident he wouldn't miss any games.
"You just have to play smart until it's over with, that's all you do," Hunter said while he was still in the lineup.
Andy Dirks will replace Hunter in the lineup and in right field. Hunter hobbled around after taking the first pitch in his eighth-inning at-bat. He stayed in and grounded out, then left the game.
"In the second inning, I felt it, it was just sore," Hunter said. "In my last at-bat, I picked my leg up and stepped down to swing, and when I hit the ground, it just shook a little bit. I was a little nervous, and I just kind of rolled off of it so nothing would happen. It was a little sore."
Hunter attributed the pain to a new pair of dress shoes, and was walking around the clubhouse Friday with his lower left leg wrapped in gauze.
"It's not serious," Hunter said before doing any work on the field. "I had injuries; I've been playing for so long. I've know all the injuries, but I know this one's not going to hold me back."
Cabrera takes full BP, but sits for fourth straight game
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera progressed enough with his left hip injury to take full batting practice. He hasn't yet progressed enough to take part in a full game.
Cabrera was out of the Tigers' lineup for Friday's series opener against the Phillies, his fourth consecutive game out. Whether he's available to pinch-hit off an injury-shortened bench wasn't clear, but multiple rounds of batting practice against both left- and right-handed pitching seemed to be an attempt to figure that out.
Cabrera did not take any ground balls during BP, so anything beyond hitting seems out of the question.
"He's made real good improvement," Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said. "Obviously, we held him out today to give him a chance to do some activity. He's feeling a lot better, but he still feels he needs another day or so.
"Obviously, you'd rather lose Miguel Cabrera for two or three games than two or three weeks. It's important for us to make sure that he's right before he comes back."
Don Kelly was initially in the Tigers' starting lineup at third base, but was scratched shortly after batting practice began, with Ramon Santiago taking his place. That switch was not health-related, according to a Tigers spokesperson. With only one healthy position player on the bench other than backup catcher Brayan Pena, it's likely manager Jim Leyland wanted Kelly available to insert in the infield or outfield.
Infante halts rehab after ankle flares up in Class A game
DETROIT -- Omar Infante was back in the Tigers' clubhouse Friday, but he might have been as far from returning from the disabled list as he was a few weeks ago. Instead of returning from the DL, Infante was waiting for another examination on his sprained left ankle after it flared up Thursday in his rehab start for Class A West Michigan.
Infante played four innings before leaving the game. He was originally expected to play six. The ankle flared up earlier in the game on the basepaths after he singled in his first at-bat.
"It was pain, same as in the past," Infante said. "I can hit good. It's just I can't run hard. That's when I felt it yesterday. I tried to run home and I felt pain."
Infante later said he also felt the ankle in the field when he would range to his left. He fielded only one ground ball, so there wasn't much opportunity to test it.
"When I move to the left side, I'm feeling it there," Infante said.
Infante originally hoped to spend the weekend rehabbing with Triple-A Toledo. Instead, his rehab is shut down until he can move around at game speed without pain.
That might take more than a few days.
"One more week, two more weeks, I think I'll feel better," Infante said.
Thursday marked Infante's first game at second base since July 3, when Colby Rasmus' takeout slide in Toronto left Infante with a shin contusion and ankle damage. The latter was originally expected to be a secondary injury compared to the shin, which took a direct hit on the slide. While the swelling vanished from the shin within a few days, Infante's ankle has proven tougher to heal.
Delmon returns to Detroit after prolific postseason
DETROIT -- Delmon Young is back in Detroit for the first time since the World Series, which he helped Detroit reach with his Most Valuable Player performance in the American League Championship Series.
"It's cool you know, come back here get to see all the guys again, and it's just good to be back here," said Young, who hit .313 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 13 postseason games.
Young signed a one-year deal with the Phillies in January and is thrilled that he doesn't have to be any team's regular designated hitter, though he will fill that role at Comerica Park on Friday night.
"DH-ing is very boring, especially if you don't get a hit," Young said. "You go try to critique and analyze your swing and change it three or four times before your next at-bat. So it's fun to be back in the field, especially right field."
Along with his postseason accolades, Young hit .267 with 18 home runs and 74 RBIs last season with the Tigers. Whether those numbers and his clutch hitting in the postseason will earn him cheers from the Comerica Park crowd, he isn't quite sure.
"I don't know," Young said. "I'm just trying to come here and put some wood on [Tigers starter Doug] Fister. It would be nice that happened, but if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm just excited to actually be back here."
Downs feels fine after 10-pitch inning at Class A
DETROIT -- The one bit of good news on the injury front for the Tigers on Friday came from lefty reliever Darin Downs. His shoulder felt fine after his 10-pitch rehab inning Thursday for Class A West Michigan.
Downs' next step will be a trip to Triple-A Toledo, where he's expected to make a relief appearance Sunday night. The Mud Hens are home through next week, so he'll have ample time to get in his innings before returning from the disabled list.
Downs went on the DL almost three weeks ago with tendinitis in his left shoulder. Once he got rolling with his throwing program out of the All-Star break, it didn't take him long to get back to game action.
"I'm taking it day by day, whatever they say," Downs said. "I just tell [the medical staff] how I feel."
• The Tigers have not yet decided whether they'll use the two off-days coming up next week to shuffle their rotation, according to Leyland. Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander are expected to start in the two-game series against the Nationals, but Leyland said they haven't determined a pitching order for next weekend's three-game set with the White Sox.
• FOX Sports Detroit will debut its Batting Practice Cam show on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, providing live coverage of batting practice for both teams prior to the 7:08 p.m. game against the Phillies. The Batting Practice Cam show will air on Fox Sports Detroit Plus.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.