8/27/2014 7:30 P.M. ET
Kinsler's defense winning fans in Tigers' dugout
By Jason Beck and Matt Slovin / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The Tigers' 5-2 series-opening win over the Yankees on Tuesday night was notable as much for its completeness as it was for its obvious playoff implications.
As manager Brad Ausmus pointed out not too long ago, when Detroit is hitting, it seems as if the pitching is struggling. When the club is getting quality starts, the offense falls into a slumber.
And the defense, particularly the outfield defense, has left much to be desired this season. That was not the case Tuesday night as the Tigers put together a win that was sharp in all facets of the game, not least important of which was the defense.
In the seventh inning, second baseman Ian Kinsler made perhaps the most impressive play of the night. Ichiro Suzuki had what looked to be a sure base hit, but Kinsler took it away from him after a diving stop and a throw from his knees.
"Kinsler's play was outstanding," Ausmus said. "Ichiro can run. I know he's getting older, but when he wants to get down the line, he still can."
Ausmus said he's been pleasantly surprised by the defense he's received from his veteran second baseman. He even went as far as to call him "a horse."
The manager cited Kinsler's concentration on every play, as well as his appetite for grounders before games, as reasons for his success in the field this season.
"He takes a lot of pride in his defense," Ausmus said.
The extra effort doesn't go unnoticed by the pitching staff.
"I was very excited he made that play [in the seventh]," Tuesday starter Rick Porcello said. "It was a well-hit ball up the middle. I would have had [Jacoby] Ellsbury coming up with a runner on base. It was clutch."
Porcello might be surprised to see what he thought was a sure base hit turn into an out after being swallowed up by Kinsler. But he's not at all shocked by Miguel Cabrera's defense.
Porcello referred to Cabrera as one of the best fielding first basemen in baseball. Cabrera turned a spectacular 3-6-3 double play in Tuesday night's game.
"You can tell the way he's moving that the ankle bothers him," Ausmus said. "But it certainly didn't stop him on defense. He had a couple nice picks as well as the double play. He's kind of a warrior.
"You saw last year in September, when he was hurt and wanted to play. He likes being part of a team. That's part of his makeup. He's not a prima donna."
Anibal's pectoral injury confirmed by Andrews
DETROIT -- On Wednesday, Dr. James Andrews confirmed the initial diagnosis of Anibal Sanchez's right pectoral strain, according to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
Ausmus reiterated Wednesday that he hopes to have his starting pitcher back before the end of the season. That wish comes a day after Sanchez himself expressed concern over whether his regular season has come to an end because of the injury that forced him out of his last start on Aug. 8 in Toronto.
"It depends how fast I heal," Sanchez said. "It's nothing like they're going to say, 'All right, you're going to wait for two weeks or one week.' It's nothing like that. It's how fast does my body heal that area."
Ausmus also said that surgery for Sanchez, last year's American League ERA leader, has not been discussed to this point.
Sanchez suffered a setback in his recovery on Monday, the club's off-day, while throwing.
Deadline for Tigers to acquire Qualls passes
DETROIT -- Any chance the Tigers had of pulling off a trade for Astros closer Chad Qualls officially expired Wednesday afternoon, when the 48-hour window for the two teams to work out a deal passed.
The Tigers had put in a waiver claim on Qualls, whom they tried to sign last winter and then tried to acquire last month before the non-waiver Trade Deadline July 31. Qualls told Houston reporters on Tuesday he was aware of the claim put in by the Tigers, first reported by MLB Network on Tuesday morning. That followed FOX Sports' report Monday evening that Qualls had been claimed on revocable waivers.
Under waiver rules, teams have 48 hours to make a move with a player once he has been claimed. At that point, the team has to either make a trade, let the player walk on waivers, or pull him back off waivers. If he's pulled back, the team cannot trade him until the end of the season.
Thus, Qualls will remain a Houston Astro, which was his wish all along.
"I could have signed there in the offseason and obviously they tried to trade for me at the Deadline, and with me being put on waivers, why wouldn't they take another chance now?" Qualls told Houston reporters on Tuesday. "Yet again, nothing's changed. I'm going to go to work as usual and do my thing."
There was no indication the two sides were ever close to a deal.
"As far as I know, Tigers baseball stance, there's really nothing to it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, a former teammate of Qualls in Houston when he came up from the Astros' farm system, said Tuesday.
Tigers keep it local in honoring retiring Jeter
DETROIT -- Derek Jeter hates the term "farewell tour."
"You say 'tour,' it's like you're just going around shaking hands and kissing babies," Jeter said Tuesday.
Whatever the fitting name for Jeter's final season, it received a shot of poignancy Wednesday night as he was honored in a pregame ceremony at Comerica Park in his home state of Michigan.
A video tribute highlighted his high school baseball career at Kalamazoo Central -- just over two hours from Detroit. Jeter said Tuesday that he still feels close ties to Michigan, even though he was born in New Jersey.
"I grew up in Michigan," he said. "I've always told people I'm from Michigan."
The tribute allowed Jeter to close out his trips to Detroit on a high note. Tuesday, he spoke of the disappointment that came with his demotion from the Yankees in 1995, just before the club was scheduled to make a trip to Tiger Stadium, which would have been Jeter's first time playing in Detroit since high school. He also has been booed loudly, likely because of his team affiliation, in Detroit, until this week, when he was well-received.
A gift to Jeter from the Tigers' organization will ensure he'll always have a piece of that ballpark, though -- he was presented with two Tiger Stadium seats during the ceremony.
Jeter also received a $5,000 donation to his charity, the Turn 2 Foundation.
"I thought it was very nice that they involved my family and our leadership program from Kalamazoo," said Jeter. "We appreciate it a lot. It was a class act by a class organization to include them. Our foundation means a lot to us, and for them to include them, it meant a lot to us."
Joined by two former teammates of Jeter's, Tigers pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke, Detroit team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski also unveiled a painting portraying Jeter at three stages of his life: his high-school career in Kalamazoo, at Tiger Stadium, and at Comerica Park. The paintings included dirt from all three of those stops.
Tigers legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline also were in attendance for the ceremony, as was Don Zomer, Jeter's high school coach.
• J.D. Martinez said Wednesday he has no ill will towards Yankees reliever Esmil Rogers, who got Martinez's attention with a pitch at his head in the eighth inning Tuesday night.
"I have no feelings," Martinez said. "I mean, any time a team tries to throw you off like that and tries to get you to jump back, if I let it happen, that's on me, really. That's why I just try not to think about it."
Martinez said he did not hear what Rogers said to him after he flew out, but believes it was an apology of some sort.
• Tigers outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, called up from Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 1 after Detroit traded Austin Jackson to Seattle, was named to the International League's postseason all-star team, as selected by the league's manager, coaches, media and club reps. Mud Hens slugger Mike Hessman also made the team.
• Though rosters expand in less than a week for September callups, Ausmus said he has not discussed potential moves with Dombrowski yet. "Generally in a pennant race, you want to bring up guys that can help you win, but not enough to make your clubhouse feel like a sardine can."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.