7/31/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
Sanchez's strikeout rate has gone down since injury
By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez pitched his way into the Tigers' record book with a 17-strikeout game in April. The same man outpitched Stephen Strasburg with a one-strikeout game on Tuesday.
Whether the latter is a product of Sanchez's pitching or hitters' approach to him is up for debate.
What had been a torrid strikeout pace for Sanchez before he went on the disabled list last month has cooled. He had nine games with eight strikeouts or more over his first 12 starts, but hasn't topped six strikeouts in five starts since his return from a right shoulder strain.
"I think that's a good thing," manager Jim Leyland said Wednesday morning. "I think he got a little strikeout conscious for a while. We tried to get him away from that. We're hoping he gets sharper each start back."
Tuesday's mastery against the Nationals came almost entirely on balls put in play. Beyond the strikeout total, Sanchez recorded just six strikes on swings and misses, according to baseball-reference.com. Half of those came on his slider, with just one on his fastball, according to data from MLB.com's Gameday app.
The six swings-and-misses marked Sanchez's third-lowest total of the season, trailing his season-opening start in Minnesota and his injury-shortened start on June 15.
Both of those outings featured more strikeouts than Tuesday, in large part because Sanchez had more called strikes. His 10 called strikes on Tuesday marked his second-lowest total of the season, behind only his May 18 start in Texas that lasted just 2 2/3 innings.
At one point, Leyland said Wednesday morning that Sanchez's control hasn't been as sharp since his return from the DL. He quickly amended that, though, to acknowledge a flip side to the argument and a debate he has had with pitching coach Jeff Jones.
"I really can't figure out whether his control hasn't been quite as good, or whether they're just not swinging at as many balls as they did before," Leyland said. "I don't really know the answer."
Scouting reports evolve over a season. That same fastball from Sanchez that Nationals hitters shrugged off on Tuesday has induced 83 swings and misses out of the strike zone this season, according to STATS.
Tigers hold Miggy from lineup with abdominal strain
DETROIT -- The Tigers kept Miguel Cabrera out of their lineup in Wednesday's 11-1 win over the Nationals as he recuperated from the left abdominal strain he aggravated Tuesday night.
Cabrera told MLB.com Wednesday morning that he was feeling better than he did Tuesday night, when he had to leave the game against the Nationals in the eighth inning. By sitting him ahead of Thursday's scheduled off-day, however, the Tigers give him two days of rest to get him ready for their divisional clash with the White Sox beginning Friday night at Comerica Park.
Cabrera said "maybe" when asked about playing Friday.
"I feel better," Cabrera said after Wednesday's game. "Hopefully we can get this out of the way quick and try to be 100 percent Friday."
Cabrera was scheduled to take part in Dancing with the All-Stars, a Thursday night fundraiser benefiting Jack's Place for Autism. Cabrera said he'll attend and might sing, but he won't dance.
Cabrera has been dealing with aches and pains for about a month, from a left hip flexor and sore back to the abdominal issue. The injuries seemingly cooled Cabrera a bit from the torrid pace of the season's first three months.
The abdominal strain is something that shouldn't keep Cabrera off the field long term, but might force him to miss a day here and there when he aggravates it. Moving side to side shouldn't be a problem, but charging in and running at full speed -- as he did on Chad Tracy's infield grounder on Tuesday -- could.
"It's the type of thing that's something he's going to feel, and as long as he's able to work through that, he's OK," head trainer Kevin Rand said. "If he can't, he'll take a breather."
Cabrera finished July batting .288 for the month with seven home runs and 17 RBIs. He continues to lead the Majors with a .359 average on the season, while his 99 RBIs had him tied with Baltimore's Chris Davis entering the day. Cabrera's 32 home runs ranked second behind Davis.
In all three categories, Cabrera is actually ahead of his pace from his Triple Crown numbers last year. Whether he can keep on that pace at less than full strength will be something to follow over the final two months of the season.
Ramon Santiago, who moved over from second base to replace Cabrera at third Tuesday night, started in his place Wednesday against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Santiago had a two-run double, walked twice and scored twice in the win.
Jose Iglesias, acquired late Tuesday night in a three-way trade from Boston for Avisail Garcia and Brayan Villarreal, has shown he can play third as well. His availability there, however, depends on Jhonny Peralta's status once Major League Baseball completes its Biogenesis investigation.
Peralta facing possible suspension
DETROIT -- After the Tigers traded for shortstop Jose Iglesias on Tuesday, it appears the team is prepared for a potential lengthy suspension involving shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
According to the New York Daily News, Major League Baseball officials told the Major League Baseball Players Association that the league plans to suspend nine players who allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs in connection to the Biogenesis investigation.
"I don't hear nothing yet," Peralta said. "I try to play this game. I'm still here, I don't worry about nothing, I try to play this game today."
Reports say Peralta, who was batting sixth and playing shortstop in Wednesday's game against the Nationals, was among the players given the option of a 50-game suspension without appeal or risking a longer suspension if he appealed to an arbitrator. Peralta, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, declined to say whether he would appeal a possible suspension.
"I don't have a comment yet about that," said Peralta, who was 1-for-4 with a walk and a run in Wednesday's 11-1 win over Washington. "I try to see what's better for everybody and see what can happen."
The announcement of suspensions could come on Friday as MLB and the union try to reach agreements to avoid numerous grievance hearings, according to The Associated Press.
"I don't try to put a lot of attention on it," Peralta said. "I try to play baseball every day and try to come here ready to play every day and try not to worry about everything that people say."
Peralta is enjoying one of the better seasons of his career, with a .307 batting average, 10 home runs and 53 RBIs in 101 games. But he said he would be disappointed if he has to stop playing.
"It's difficult to wait and everything like that," Peralta said. "Nobody wants to wait to see what'll happen. But whatever happens right now, I need to see what can happen and try to move on."
Tigers' Minor Leaguer suspended for PEDs
DETROIT -- The Tigers saw a suspension come down for performance enhancing drugs, but it didn't involve any Major League players. Minor League right-hander Juan Alcantara received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for metabolites Stanozolol, which is on the list of banned substances in the Minor League Drug Treatment and Prevention program.
Major League Baseball announced the suspension in a press release on Wednesday afternoon. By rule, suspensions for Minor League players begin immediately and cannot be appealed.
Alcantara, who turned 19 on Tuesday, posted a 4-1 record with a 2.33 ERA in eight starts this year for the Tigers' Dominican Summer League team. He struck out 38 batters in 38 2/3 innings with 12 walks and 35 hits allowed.
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.