8/23/2014 3:08 A.M. ET
Tigers' pursuit of Cuban outfielder falls short
By Jason Beck and AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers were indeed deeply interested in signing Cuban center fielder Rusney Castillo, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed Friday. He also confirmed that they made a contract offer that was in the neighborhood of others, but not comparable to the six-year, $72 million offer he agreed to with the Red Sox.
If the Tigers were a finalist in the end, however, Dombrowski said they didn't know about it. Their contact with Castillo's agents at Roc Nation Sports, Dombrowski said, ended on Monday.
"They wanted our best offer right off the bat," Dombrowski said. "We made them a best offer at that point. It was, without getting into specifics, in a rumored area of various offers that were out there. They called us back this past Monday and told us that we were out, that we were not even in the neighborhood of clubs that were going to sign him, that they had substantial offers better than ours."
Thus, Dombrowski said, "If we were second place, there's a big difference in the first place."
That doesn't mean they didn't want to be involved. As rumors continued about the Tigers interest, Dombrowski said he was starting to wonder if he should be waiting by the phone.
"They told us we were out and then I kept reading the rumors that kept saying we were in it," he said. "And I kept seeing the dollar amounts and it was like, 'Well, we're not very far off that dollar amount, so maybe we're in this thing and we don't know we're in this thing.' But nobody called us back.
"I mean, I kept waiting for a phone call that somebody might say, 'Hey, we changed our mind. Do you want to get back in it?' But they never did."
The Tigers had been interested in Castillo before trading away center fielder Austin Jackson, according to Dombrowski -- after all, Castillo's showcase workout took place the week beforehand -- and would've remained interested if they hadn't made the trade. Beyond Jackson's pending free agency after next season, the Tigers' need for offensive talent, Castillo's skill set and the Tigers' observations of Castillo in international tournaments in past years made them interested.
Their interest, Dombrowski said, was for 2015 and beyond. With his lack of game action in more than a year, they did not consider him an option for a playoff drive.
"Our guys saw him in the workouts," Dombrowski said. "He was drained after workout time periods, so he was not even in baseball playing shape to really get to that point to thrust him in the middle of a pennant race."
Romine makes appearance on mound vs. Twins
The Tigers' pitching staff took a beating Friday night in the 20-6 loss to the Twins, but at least their eighth-inning man had an acceptable excuse for allowing three runs on four hits in one frame.
That's because their eighth-inning man was shortstop Andrew Romine.
With the Tigers trailing 17-6 entering the bottom of the eighth, manager Brad Ausmus called upon Romine, who had never pitched an inning in either the Majors or Minors.
"He took one for the team," Ausmus said. "He picked us up, really. Didn't really matter how he pitched, we just were hoping that he could get through three outs without an injury or overextending himself."
Romine, who threw 27 pitches -- 15 of them strikes, saved the Tigers' bullpen a bit, but in the process served up back-to-back homers to Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe after surrendering a leadoff double.
But the Twins couldn't get anything else across on him, and he even picked up his first big league strikeout, getting Kurt Suzuki looking for the first out.
Dombrowski: No options elsewhere outside of roster
MINNEAPOLIS -- Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski's assessment of their August trade market might well have doubled as a message for his struggling hitters: If Detroit's offense is going to turn around, it's going to have to come from the guys they have now.
"Our guys have to hit better," Dombrowski said Friday afternoon from Target Field ahead of the Tigers' series opener against the Twins. "You can't keep going and getting players all the time. After a point, they've got to hit. They've got to do what they need to do.
"It's hard to score runs right now. We've faced some good pitching, but sometimes your other guys have to rise to the occasion too."
Andy Dirks' season-ending hamstring injury does not appear to have changed that approach. Dombrowski confirmed that they're no longer counting on Dirks' return.
"We had hoped Dirks would be back," Dombrowski said. "He's not going to be back. But the reality, is I don't know where you're going to find a bat to help your lineup. Runs are tough right now. It's hard to find hitters right now."
In August, players have to clear waivers in order to be traded, which makes deals tougher to pull off than they are in July.
The comments came on the heels' of the Tigers' 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay, where David Price threw a complete-game one-hitter in defeat thanks to an unearned run and a lack of run support by Detroit hitters against Alex Cobb and the Rays' bullpen.
Anibal starts throwing, reports being pain-free
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers likely have a couple weeks to go before they can return Anibal Sanchez to their rotation. His first throws Friday, however, gave them some encouragement.
Sanchez, out for the past couple weeks with a strained right pectoral muscle, made about 40 throws off flat ground -- essentially playing catch -- and said he had no discomfort.
"Definitely a really good sign that I don't feel any pain," Sanchez said. "Everything felt free. I let it go on a couple throws at the end and I didn't feel anything, either. Now I just continue to work and be back soon."
Sanchez will throw again between games of Saturday's day-night doubleheader -- again off flat ground, this time more throws.
Joakim Soria, who also has been on the disabled list for close to two weeks, is also scheduled to throw Saturday. He has been sidelined by a left oblique strain.
"He can be activated on Monday," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio. "I'm not sure he'll be activated right then, but he's very close."
Another reliever reporting improvement, Dombrowski said, is long man Luke Putkonen, out since mid-April with elbow inflammation.
"He's getting pretty close," Dombrowski said. "For him, we're pleasantly surprised. And really, in the back of my mind, I was not planning on him being back. That one's going well for us."
Putkonen could make a Minor League rehab appearance or two in the Tigers' system -- either at one of the upper levels as their seasons end, or for Class A West Michigan during the playoffs.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.