6/26/2014 9:05 P.M. ET
Joba clinging to lineup-card superstition
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Tigers relievers don't usually have a lot to do in the early innings of games. Some of them hang out in the dugout before venturing out after an inning or two. Some go out early and goof around in the bullpen. Joba Chamberlain sticks around the dugout these days and takes out the lineup card just before first pitch.
It's a duty usually reserved for the manager or a coach, which makes the sight of Chamberlain and his scraggly beard trotting out to home plate an odd one. Since he started doing it last week, though, the Tigers went on a winning streak.
Often, bench coach Gene Lamont was taking out the lineup card. In the midst of the Tigers' struggles last week, Chamberlain asked him if he could do it.
"I was like, 'Hey, let me take it,' because usually a coach takes it," Chamberlain said. "Let me try it out. [Lamont] said if we don't win today you take it out tomorrow. And we didn't win."
He brought out the lineup card for last Thursday's series finale against the Royals, and the Tigers ended their skid. That started a winning streak that had reached six, entering Thursday.
"Hey, so far, so good," Chamberlain said. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
It's a superstition that has become a social activity for Chamberlain. His visits are usually followed by a chat with the umpiring crew. Sometimes, it's just conversation. Other times, it's a joke.
"I'll drop a joke in there every once in a while," he said. "I mean, I've been around long enough so I kind of know all the umpires."
Said manager Brad Ausmus: "I know he usually tries to have a joke ready. I asked him a couple times what the joke was."
Chamberlain said he brought out the lineup card one time during his seven-year tenure with the Yankees. It happened last season, he said, and he brought it out with Andy Pettitte.
Tigers catch World Cup fever
ARLINGTON -- The Tigers hadn't arrived at the ballpark until well after Team USA's World Cup game against Germany had ended. They were still talking about it.
The Tigers had picked teams for the World Cup before the tournament started. Team USA, according to Max Scherzer, had fallen to Venezuelan pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
Victor Martinez has been following the World Cup closely, spotted frequently in the clubhouse with a Neymar Brazilian jersey. He's also a Barcelona fan who follows Messi passionately. Martinez himself grew up playing futbol in Venezuela before baseball became his career.
He sees the USA's elimination matchup with Belgium as a potential upset.
"You know what," Martinez said, "I think they have a chance."
V-Mart talks admiringly about Beltre
ARLINGTON -- The kissing motion that Victor Martinez seemed to make in Adrian Beltre's direction on his way around third base Wednesday on his fifth-inning home run, and the accompanying glare from Beltre, brought up questions about the relation between ex-teammates. Yet the admiring words Martinez said after the game suggested an abundance of respect.
"I had a chance to play with him, and I'll tell you what, I have a big amount of respect for him," Martinez said. "He shows up every day ready to play baseball, ready to beat everybody. The way he goes about his business, he's a role model for everybody, a great player all around.
"He's a guy who goes out there and gives it a fight. You don't go out and get 2,500 hits easy in the big leagues.
Beltre and Martinez were teammates in Boston in 2010 -- Martinez acquired from Cleveland the previous summer, Beltre signed as a free agent that winter. Both moved on as free agents the next season -- Martinez to Detroit, Beltre to Texas.
Reed headed back to Triple-A Toledo
ARLINGTON -- Evan Reed is headed back to Triple-A Toledo. The right-handed reliever, designated for assignment by the Tigers last week to make room for Chad Smith, cleared waivers and had his contract outrighted to the Mud Hens on Thursday.
Reed spent most of last season in Toledo, save for a few stints in Detroit. The 28-year-old cracked the Tigers' Opening Day roster this year by showing an effective breaking ball to go with his upper 90s fastball, but struggled over the past month or so.
Reed had been designated for assignment previously, which is how the Tigers acquired him from the Marlins at the start of last season. Since this was his first time being outrighted, however, he did not have the option of declining the assignment and becoming a free agent. He will have that option if he is put back on the roster and outrighted again.