9/18/2013 12:24 A.M. ET
Scherzer finally passes 200-inning plateau
By Bobby Nightengale / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Max Scherzer has approached 200 innings pitched in a season for the last three years, but it wasn't until he threw seven innings in Sunday's game that he was able to push past the plateau in 2013.
"That's a big milestone for me," Scherzer said. "I've always come up short."
Scherzer battled shoulder soreness at the end of last season, and had a couple of starts pushed back to regain his health, finishing with 187 2/3 innings. In 2010, he finished 4 1/3 innings short after a rainout cost him an outing to end the year.
This season, Scherzer has thrown 201 1/3 innings, going at least six innings in all but four of his 30 starts.
"To be able to get 200 innings is an important plateau, because that's just a sign of a pitcher pitching deep into a game and giving your team a chance to win," Scherzer said. "That's something I haven't necessarily accomplished with the 200 innings, but obviously this year I've pitched well and deep into games."
Scherzer reached 1,000 career innings pitched on Sunday and did so with 71 wins and 1,045 strikeouts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other pitcher in Major League history who had as many wins and strikeouts as Scherzer through his first 1,000 innings was Pedro Martinez (71 wins and 1,075 strikeouts).
V-Mart getting rare start at catcher on Thursday
DETROIT -- In the past, manager Jim Leyland said the only scenario in which Victor Martinez would start at catcher in an American League park this season would be to allow Miguel Cabrera to serve as the team's designated hitter.
That will be the case on Thursday, as Martinez will make his third start behind the plate this season after catching two games against the Mets in August. Due to National League rules, the Tigers didn't have the luxury of a designated hitter.
Leyland didn't give a specific reason for Martinez's next start behind the plate, but it will limit Cabrera's activity in the day game after playing the night before, and Alex Avila will get a rest after starting in each game since Sept. 10.
Another factor could be Mariners' starter James Paxton, who will be making his third Major League start. In Triple-A this season, the left-hander has held lefties to a .221 batting average with no home runs and 36 strikeouts in 161 at-bats, compared to giving up a .294 average to righties.
Ramon Santiago will likely fill Cabrera's spot at third base, while Matt Tuiasosopo will earn the start in left field. Tuiasosopo played his first game in more than a week on Monday, going 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter when the Mariners changed pitchers.
The Tigers will face two left-handers over their next six games: Paxton on Thursday and White Sox ace Chris Sale on Saturday.
Tigers bullpen depleted on Tuesday vs. Mariners
DETROIT -- The Tigers were without three key members of the bullpen on Tuesday due to injuries and the need to give some guys rest.
Left-hander Drew Smyly had pitched in three of the team's last four games, throwing 60 pitches over 3 1/3 innings, and will be unavailable until Thursday.
Closer Joaquin Benoit had also thrown in three of the past four games, though with a much lower pitch count, but also wasn't expected to pitch on Tuesday.
"[Benoit] didn't really throw many pitches last night or the day before, eight [on Sunday] and 12 [on Monday], but I really think you have to be really careful with him," manager Jim Leyland said. "You get greedy, you might lose. I try to watch him."
Bruce Rondon is battling tenderness in his elbow after throwing multiple pitches above 102-mph to strike out Red Sox slugger David Ortiz on Sept. 2. Rondon said his elbow is feeling better and he's expected throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.
Phil Coke started the eighth and recorded one out in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over the Mariners, Jose Alvarez followed with 1 1/3 innings and Jose Veras recorded the final out in the ninth in a non-save situation.
The Tigers also had Jeremy Bonderman available after recovering from tendinitis and inflammation in his right thumb. He hasn't thrown in a game since Sept. 4.
Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.