7/28/2013 1:25 A.M. ET
Santiago gets rare opportunities at plate, field
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Infielder Ramon Santiago, a switch-hitter, was only 1-for-12 against left-handed pitchers before Tigers manager Jim Leyland put him in the lineup against a lefty on Friday.
Santiago responded with a double and a walk, which led to the Tigers' 2-1 win over the Phillies.
"[Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon] said that pretty much all along that he was swinging the bat a little better from the right side," Leyland said. "Obviously when Omar is here, he is going to play because Omar is a right-handed hitter."
While his numbers haven't shown success, Santiago agrees with Leyland that he's improving as a right-handed hitter, which he hopes will make him a more versatile player.
"I really did better last year," Santiago said. "I played winter ball and right-handed I was raking in the Dominican. I don't play much against lefties here, but like the skipper says, me and [McClendon] have been working hard in the cage. It's been a hard year offensively, but at the same time, I keep my mind positive and will keep working."
Santiago also played third base on Friday, a position he's only played 16 times in the past two seasons over a span of 130 games.
"I had a couple hard hit balls over there," Santiago said. "I said, 'Man! Miggy is doing an unbelievable job catching all those balls.' It's not easy."
Hunter returns following sound pregame drills
DETROIT -- Outfielder Torii Hunter returned to the Tigers' lineup on Saturday night after missing Friday's game due to ongoing soreness in his left Achilles.
Hunter went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in a 10-0 victory over the Phillies.
Hunter did a series of drills on the field at Comerica Park around 3 p.m. ET with head athletic trainer Kevin Rand watching, and says that he didn't have any problems.
"It feels great," said Hunter, who started in right field and hit second against the Phillies. "I went out there and did everything possible. Cuts, kareoka, side shuffles, sprints, stop-and go, everything and it felt good."
Although Hunter did a similar test of drills on Friday, he wanted to be smart about not aggravating the situation.
"It was just sore," Hunter said. "It wasn't any pain or anything. When you lift weights, and the next day you're sore, that's how I felt."
Hunter entered Saturday second in the American League with 18 RBIs in July and is third with 17 runs scored to go along with a .349 batting average and six home runs.
Infante off baseball activities for at least week
DETROIT -- Although the Tigers hoped infielder Omar Infante would be able to rejoin the club this weekend, his recent setback may delay his return to mid-August.
Doctors told Infante that he wouldn't be able to participate in baseball activities for one-to-two weeks after his most recent examination, while he works to rehab and strengthen his sprained left ankle.
Infante played four innings on Thursday in a rehab start for Class A West Michigan before leaving the game. He was originally expected to play six innings.
"One more week, two more weeks, I think I'll feel better," Infante said on Friday.
Infante, on the 15-day disabled list, has been out since July 3, when he sustained the injury on a hard slide by the Blue Jays' Colby Rasmus.
• Manager Jim Leyland says there will be no change in the Tigers' starting rotation despite off-days on Monday and Thursday. That will allow Doug Fister to open the series against the White Sox on Friday, while Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello are scheduled to follow on Saturday and Sunday.
• Entering Saturday, Tigers relievers had allowed 32 stolen bases this season, the most in the Major Leagues. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff single against Joaquin Benoit in the ninth inning on Friday before stealing second and third.
"Certain guys just don't hold runners very good," Leyland said. "There's a lot of closers in the history of baseball that are pretty slow home, [Jose] Valverde was one of them. But that doesn't always come into play because he was 49-for-49 [in save opportunities] at one point."
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.