6/11/2014 8:24 P.M. ET
Castellanos seems to have regained hitting stroke
By Joe Popely / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos could easily have lost enough faith in himself and be playing for Triple-A Toledo right now. The Tigers, already missing their starting shortstop because of injury, were weak offensively on the left side of the infield through the first two months because of Castellano's ineffectiveness at the plate and a platoon at shortstop.
Castellanos hit just .217 in the month of April, but started to find some success when the calendar turned to May. With a hot first week of the month, he worked his average up to .248 on May 10, but watched it plummet to .233 on May 31. Castellano's unwavering belief in himself, however, is starting to pay off. He seems to have rediscovered his stroke in June, during which he's hitting .462 with a .654 OPS in seven games.
"I mean, to be honest, I never really lost confidence," Castellanos said. "In the big leagues, everybody's going to go through growing pains. It's tough up here, so it's just a learning curve. It's something I'm going to have to adjust to and just continue to learn every day. The one thing I've realized is the moment you think you have it figured out up here is the day you get knocked back down. So, you've always got to be learning."
Castellano's strong self-confidence was also helped by the Tigers allowing him to play every day and work through the struggles.
"It's an experience that will make him a better player for sure. We've talked about how the league was going to adjust to him and he would have to adjust back, and I think you're seeing him adjust back," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's adjusted mechanically with his hands and spreading his feet out.
"The one thing I will say about Nick, which is a tough attribute to teach, is Nick believes he can hit, and he believes he can hit anybody. I think that's the one thing that he's held fast to and it's helped him get through that rough patch."
Castellanos' hitting struggles early in the season could have also been tied to playing a less familiar position. After playing 183 games at third from 2010 through part of 2012 across the lowest three levels of the Minor League system, Castellanos played the majority of his games at Double-A Erie in 2012 in right field, and in 2013 played all 130 games at Toledo in left field.
Castellanos said that he's feeling more comfortable at the position, and is thankful he has first-base coach Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glover, and defensive coordinator Matt Martin at his disposal. Like his manager, though, he knows he still has plenty to learn.
"Yeah, he's done a good job, especially for a guy who hasn't really played there. But he's still learning the position," Ausmus said. "Make no mistake, he's still unsure at times where he should be positioned. I think sometimes the speed of the game ratchets up on him, but overall he's done a solid job."
Miggy slotted as DH for Tigers
CHICAGO -- For the second consecutive game, Miguel Cabrera was the Tigers' designated hitter on Wednesday night as he nurses a tight left hamstring. In fact, manager Brad Ausmus fielded the exact same lineup he wrote out before Tuesday's postponed game.
Despite the fact that Cabrera got an unexpected day off, Ausmus wanted to be cautious with the two-time Most Valuable Player.
"Yeah, I just think it's better to have him DH, give him another day," Ausmus said. "He said it felt even better again today, but that's all right. We can give him another day to DH and see if the leg is ready to go tomorrow, play first base."
One reason Ausmus slotted Cabrera at DH on Tuesday was because of the forecast of wet conditions that ended up postponing the game. Some showers may occur during Wednesday night's game, but that had little to do with the decision to DH Cabrera again.
"Yeah, could be rainy," Ausmus said. "You might get a shower here or there, but I decided we don't want this lingering and if we can get Miggy in the lineup without having him fatigue that hamstring, then we should do it until he feels like he's at or near 100 percent."
Makeup doubleheaders dot second-half slate
CHICAGO -- After making it through the month of May without one, the Tigers endured their fourth weather-related postponment of the season on Tuesday night.
Detroit had three games postponed because of weather in April. The Tigers will make up the April 3 postponement of a home game against the Royals on June 19, which cancels an off-day -- meaning the team will play 12 straight until its next day off. Other April postponements from games against the Indians (April 15) and at the Twins (April 27) will be made up with doubleheaders on July 19 and Aug. 23, respectively.
The July 19 doubleheader comes two days after the All-Star break, so the team will at least be well-rested, while the second twin bill is two days before an off-day. The grind of the second half is only made more taxing by such makeup games, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus doesn't seem overly concerned about it.
"I mean, we just kind of deal with it as we come," Ausmus said. "We have an off-day lost next week, then all of a sudden we gain an off-day essentially yesterday, which it does help certain things. It helps bullpen arms, it allows most of our starters to be pushed back a day, but then months down the road we're looking at long stretches of games or doubleheaders where we need to have a sixth starter. So we deal with it as it comes up.
"Generally, when you play in the northern part of the country and you don't have a roof, you're going to have to deal with that."
Plus, Ausmus would rather see games get called early, like on Tuesday, than have to wait around in uncertainty.
"Absolutely. I mean, I would rather have that for sure," Ausmus said. "I think the players probably appreciate that, too, rather than hanging out, maybe playing, maybe not playing, maybe finishing it, maybe not finishing it. I think it's best for everyone really if it's going to be the type of night to just bag it, and we'll make it up at some point in the future."
• In the wake of Tuesday's rainout, Wednesday's originally scheduled starter, Drew Smyly, will start Friday at Comerica Park against the Twins. Anibal Sanchez moves back a day to take the hill Saturday.
• Entering play Wednesday, Miguel Cabrera needs one home run to tie Matt Williams (378) 68th on the all-time list.
• Double-A starter Kyle Ryan was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He allowed six hits in a shutout on Saturday, his only start of the week.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.