8/27/2013 1:26 A.M. ET
If Miggy powers up, Triple Crown will be his again
By Jason Beck and Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The path for another Triple Crown for Miguel Cabrera appears to finally be clearing. If he can have another power-hitting September like he did last year, he could well run away with it.
Repeating that September, however, isn't exactly automatic.
Cabrera's 7-for-13, two-homer, five-RBI series against the Mets pushed his average back to .360, 30 points ahead of his nearest American League competitor in the batting race, Mike Trout, entering Monday. He also moved 10 RBIs up on Chris Davis for the AL lead (128). The only category left is home runs, and Cabrera (43) moved within three of Davis after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning on Monday.
Even if the season ended today, his stats would be historic. Just 14 other times in Major League history has a player batted at least .360 with 40 homers and 120 RBIs, Todd Helton being the last to do so with the 2000 Rockies. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Cabrera is just the fifth player -- and the first since Lou Gehrig in 1934 -- to bat .360 with 42 homers and 128 RBIs through his team's first 130 games. Gehrig and Babe Ruth both did it twice.
Cabrera is obliterating many of the numbers that won him a Triple Crown last year, and his final month was arguably his strongest power month that season with 11 homers after Sept. 1. That year, though, was outside his norm; his .308 average, .390 on-base percentage, .535 slugging percentage and .925 OPS for his career in September and October are his lowest of any month.
That said, Cabrera has a career trend that works in his favor. His 27 homers in 62 road games this year dwarf his home totals of 15 homers in 60 games. By contrast, Cabrera hit 28 home runs at Comerica Park last year, compared with 16 on the road. His home/road totals are virtually even over his previous four seasons in Detroit.
The Tigers play 17 of their final 32 games at home, starting with Monday's series opener against the A's.
Avila has no issues after catching in rehab game
DETROIT -- Tigers catcher Alex Avila, who's on the disabled list, was back behind the plate for Triple-A Toledo on Sunday and Monday and everything went well, a positive sign as he recovers from delayed concussive symptoms.
Avila caught for seven innings on both Sunday and Monday, going a combined 3-for-6 with a double and three walks. He was catching for Toledo on Thursday, but left after three innings due to a headache. On Saturday, Avila was hitless in three at-bats while also drawing a walk as the team's designated hitter.
"There's a strong possibility that if everything's OK and he doesn't have any symptoms, I think there's a possibility that he could return very, very soon," manager Jim Leyland said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
As a procedural move, Avila was transferred from the seven-day disabled list to the 15-day DL on Sunday, allowing him to spend more time on his Minor League rehab assignment. Players on the seven-day DL are limited to five days on an assignment.
Since Avila was placed on the DL on Aug. 11, catcher Brayan Pena is batting .366 with four runs scored and four RBIs in 13 games.
Dotel takes next step in rehab, joins Triple-A Toledo
DETROIT -- Octavio Dotel moved another step closer to rejoining the Tigers' bullpen when Detroit transferred his rehab from Class A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo on Monday.
Dotel, who has been on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation since April 20, made five appearances with Lakeland. He allowed four runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings -- though all four runs and five hits came during a single outing. In his other appearances, Dotel has given up four singles in four scoreless innings.
"He's doing OK," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We're going to see him against a little better competition now."
Dotel pitched a scoreless inning for Toledo on Monday, giving up a double and striking out two.
Leyland said Dotel is throwing around 90 mph, which is about where he was in April, but down from about 93 mph last year. However, adrenaline could be a factor once Dotel faces better hitters.
"Sometimes you can get fooled [by their speed], because when they get to a big league atmosphere they have a tendency to find a little extra mileage," Leyland said. "I don't know if that's the case or not."
According to Major League Baseball rules, a pitcher can be sent on a Minor League rehab assignment for up to 30 days. Dotel began his assignment on Aug. 7, giving him up to 10 more days. He will also be eligible for the Tigers' postseason roster, regardless if he's activated before Sept. 1.
V-Mart most likely won't catch again this year
DETROIT -- Now that the Tigers are done with Interleague Play until their final series of the regular season in Miami, manager Jim Leyland is done talking about Victor Martinez catching. He isn't ruling out putting Martinez back behind the plate again before then, but it would depend more on other players.
Specifically, he brought up the Miguel Cabrera scenario many have discussed.
"I'm not going to get into this big saga about Victor catching and all that," Leyland said Monday. "The only thing you might consider in an American League park is if you really felt it would be beneficial to DH Cabrera for a day. Then you might slip Victor in there to catch a game."
So far, that has not been an option the Tigers have seriously considered while Cabrera has been dealing with his assortment of aches and pains. Cabrera has remained at third base despite an abdominal strain and leg issues from foul balls, though Leyland has taken him out late in games that are well in hand, such as Sunday's victory over the Mets.
Tigers have five with 10 wins for first time since '84
DETROIT -- The Tigers hadn't had a team with five pitchers all reaching double digits in wins since 1984. With Rick Porcello's victory Sunday in New York, the 2013 Tigers accomplished it with 32 games to spare.
Porcello (10-7) joined the rest of Detroit's rotation with at least 10 victories. Max Scherzer got there a long time ago on his way to a 19-1 start. Justin Verlander enters his start Tuesday with 12 victories. Anibal Sanchez entered Monday's start with 11 wins, tied with Doug Fister.
The 1984 squad had four starters -- Jack Morris, Dan Petry, Milt Wilcox and Juan Berenguer -- with double-digit wins, along with reliever Aurelio Lopez. The 1980 team also had four starters with at least 10 wins, along with Lopez.
The 1962 Tigers had five pitchers with at least 20 starts and 10 wins, but two of Paul Foytack's 10 wins came in relief.
Not since 1949 had five Tigers starters all reached double-digit wins in starts. Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser headed that rotation, followed by Virgil Trucks, Art Houtteman, Ted Gray and Fred Hutchinson.
The Tigers are the first Major League team this year with five pitchers in double digits for wins. The Rays, Giants and Nationals all did it last year.
• Jose Iglesias returned to the Tigers' lineup Monday after missing two games with swelling near his left elbow.
• Toledo starter Blaine Hardy has been named the International League Pitcher of the Week for his 16 consecutive scoreless innings last week. He threw a one-hit shutout against Gwinnett last Monday.
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.