8/3/2013 6:12 P.M. ET
Leyland not surprised by rise of AL Central
By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Now that three teams in the American League Central are rolling, Tigers manager Jim Leyland has a message for all those who doubted the quality of the division when the Tigers were the only team in it with a winning record: I told you so.
"I told everybody all year about it, but they didn't listen to me," Leyland said.
If the season ended today, the Tigers would still be the only team from the division to make the postseason. Both Cleveland and Kansas City, however, have suddenly joined the thick of the Wild Card race, the Indians sitting just a half-game behind the Orioles and Rangers entering Saturday.
The Indians had an eight-game winning streak that ended Friday night in Miami. The Royals had a nine-game winning streak that sustained the same fate Friday in New York to the Mets. That left the Tigers entering Saturday with the longest winning streak in the AL, having won six in a row to find secure footing over .500.
"It doesn't surprise me," Leyland continued. "It must surprise you guys, because everybody else thought this was just a piece-of-cake division. It's not. I tried to tell everybody that all year. These are good teams."
The flip side, of course, is that the White Sox have played a part in all of those winning streaks. They entered Saturday having lost eight in a row and 11 out of 12, all to the Tigers, Indians and Royals.
Even so, Leyland found some kind words for them.
"I'll tell you what, I think right now the Chicago White Sox have three of the best left-handed pitchers in the league with [Jose] Quintana, [Hector] Santiago and [Chris] Sale," Leyland said. "And [Danks] has been a real good pitcher. He's just coming back from some health issues. They'll make some noise before this thing's all over."
Cabrera out of lineup again Saturday
DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera was out of the Tigers' lineup once again on Saturday after he was a late scratch from Friday's lineup when he felt some discomfort after running.
Cabrera didn't participate in pregame batting practice or any other drills on the field prior to Saturday night's game against the White Sox. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner missed four games last week with a left abdominal strain and has been bothered by a left hip flexor and sore back for about the past month.
Manager Jim Leyland, who doesn't usually expand on details with injured players, only said Cabrera will not be playing in Saturday's game.
Jose Iglesias will play third base and left fielder Matt Tuiasosopo will bat third in Cabrera's spot. The Tigers have a 6-1 record without Cabrera in the lineup this season.
Cabrera aggravated his abdominal injury on a slow ground ball in Tuesday's game against the Phillies and exited after the seventh inning. He sat out of games on Wednesday and Friday while the team had a day off on Thursday.
Perez's locker cleared as Tigers await word on Peralta
DETROIT -- Jhonny Peralta told MLB.com on Saturday that he hasn't heard anything from Major League Baseball on a possible suspension coming out of its Biogenesis investigation.
A New York Post report Saturday said players have been notified about potential suspensions and have until 6 p.m. ET on Sunday to decide whether to settle or appeal.
Meanwhile, Hernan Perez's locker at Comerica Park was empty on Saturday, a day after the Tigers optioned him to Double-A Erie to make room for Jose Iglesias on the 25-man roster. Perez could potentially be recalled to take Peralta's spot on the roster if Peralta is suspended and doesn't appeal.
The locker cleaning doesn't necessarily mean Perez isn't sticking around for the time being. The Erie SeaWolves are in New Britain, Conn., through Sunday and begin their next homestand Tuesday night, so Perez could still wait to report. He just can't work out with the Tigers for now.
Iglesias OK with spotlight of wearing No. 1 uniform
DETROIT -- If Jose Iglesias doesn't want to deal with all the buzz that donning uniform No. 1 comes with the Tigers, he can have manager Jim Leyland's number 10. Maybe. Someday, at least.
For the foreseeable future, however, Iglesias is wearing No. 1, the same number worn by the great Lou Whitaker. And that's fine with him.
"To me, it doesn't really matter," Iglesias said Friday. "I mean, I like No. 1. I hear it's a special number, and I'm glad to have it."
Leyland was half-kidding when he talked about offering No. 10 to Iglesias during his pregame press session Friday afternoon. Iglesias wore No. 10 with the Red Sox.
Leyland isn't all that attached to it, even though it's the number he was worn for most of his managerial career. He wore No. 14 his first year managing the Pirates in 1986, a number he hated because his older brother wore that number playing football in high school. Leyland took No. 10 a year later after former Pittsburgh utilityman Mike Diaz changed numbers.
"I wore a lot of different numbers," Leyland said. "In fact, my first number in the big leagues was 28 [while coaching with the White Sox]. And we acquired Sparky Lyle, and I'm proud to say that he offered me $1,000 for No. 28. I said $2 might do it.
"I gave it to him. I didn't want no $1,000. Here, take the number. What do I care? I wore 11 in Florida."
It's not that easy these days. Because of merchandise sales and jersey productions, Major League Baseball requires advance notice when a player intends to change jersey numbers.
"There's a legal thing right now, licensing and everything," Leyland said. "People have done it, but it's a real sticky thing now because of jerseys that have been made up and are being sold and stuff like that."
In other words, it's more trouble than it's worth as long as Iglesias doesn't mind. Tigers fans might have to get adjusted, but they had to do the same when Gary Sheffield -- an established veteran who knows the history of the game -- joined the team in 2007 and asked for Alan Trammell's No. 3. Trammell said soon after that he had no problem with Sheffield wearing his old number.
"I guess he'll just have to wait until I'm gone," Leyland said.
For the record, just six numbers have been retired by the franchise: 2 for Charlie Gehringer, 5 for Hank Greenberg, 6 for Al Kaline, 11 for Sparky Anderson, 16 for Hal Newhouser and 23 for Willie Horton. Major League Baseball retired number 42 across all clubs in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, though players who were wearing it at the time -- such as Mariano Rivera -- were allowed to keep doing so.
Hunter, Porcello earn Tigers' July honors
DETROIT -- So much for the stranglehold Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer seemingly had on Tigers Player and Pitcher of the Month selections. Torii Hunter and Rick Porcello won the honors for July after standout performances that went a little under the radar amidst the star focus.
Hunter beat out Victor Martinez for Player of the Month with run production that ranked among the best in the league for July. He hit .374 (37-for-99) with 21 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
While Scherzer's unbeaten season came to an end, Porcello went 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four July starts, allowing six earned runs over 26 innings with 16 strikeouts.
• Omar Infante, recovering from an ankle injury, has said running at full speed has given him the most trouble. Before Saturday's game, he ran around the bases, took ground balls and participated in batting practice, though Leyland said he's not yet ready for a rehab assignment.
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.