9/2/2014 7:10 P.M. ET
Verlander's shoulder 'kind of fatigued,' but focus sharp
By Brian Dulik / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander remains one of the game's most feared pitchers, even though he has struggled this season.
The former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner admits his throwing shoulder has been "kind of fatigued," but says his focus is as sharp as ever.
"Baseball is my life, and I'm more at home here than anywhere else in the world," he said Tuesday in the visiting clubhouse at Progressive Field. "I'm always able to focus on that, especially when I'm on the mound, doing what I've done my whole life."
Verlander will make his 28th start Wednesday -- opposing Indians righty Danny Salazar -- in the third game of Detroit's four-game set against the Indians. He is 12-11 with a 4.68 ERA, striking out 132 in 171 1/3 innings, which are his worst statistics across the board since 2008.
Yet, Verlander says those numbers are secondary to those found in the standings. Entering Tuesday, Detroit led Seattle by 1 1/2 games for the second AL Wild Card spot and was a half-game behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
"The sole focus for me is on the Detroit Tigers," said Verlander, who is under contract through 2019. "We're in the pennant race and I'm trying to win a pennant."
Hurlers Lobstein, Ray, Ryan, Farmer called up
CLEVELAND -- The Tigers' second wave of September reinforcements arrived Tuesday, raising their roster to 33 players.
Left-handers Kyle Lobstein, Robbie Ray and Kyle Ryan and right-hander Buck Farmer were recalled from Triple-A Toledo and were in uniform against the Indians.
Lobstein started the contest, while the other three pitchers were assigned to the bullpen.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he plans on using his relievers liberally over the final 25 games, hoping to keep his veteran pitchers fresh down the stretch.
"If we can chop an inning off here and there with our starters, we'll do that," Ausmus said. "David [Price], Max [Scherzer] and Justin [Verlander] are all getting up there in terms of innings, so if the game isn't close, I'm not going to hesitate to get them out of there a little quicker than usual. We have a deep enough bullpen now that we can do that."
The four pitching callups joined four position players who were brought up one day earlier, then made late appearances in the Tigers' 12-1 win in Cleveland.
Double-A Erie right fielder Steven Moya -- the Eastern League MVP -- singled as a pinch-hitter in his big league debut, while Triple-A Toledo catcher James McCann appeared in his first Major League game as a defensive replacement.
Outfielder Tyler Collins and shortstop Hernan Perez also were recalled from the Mud Hens. Collins belted his first big league homer, a three-run shot off Indians reliever Austin Adams, and Perez recorded his initial hit of the season.
"I would have liked to get McCann an at-bat, too, but it didn't really work out," Ausmus said. "If there is any anxiety about getting your first hit, it's nice to get that out of way as soon as possible."
Miggy remains at DH, V-Mart at first
CLEVELAND -- Miguel Cabrera served as the Tigers' designated hitter for the second straight game Tuesday night, allowing him to rest his sore right ankle.
In turn, usual DH Victor Martinez played first base for the second straight day against the Indians.
Since Martinez is 35 and has chronic left knee problems, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus knows this isn't a long-term solution.
"It's going to be a balancing act from here on out because I can't run Victor out there every day," the skipper said.
"That won't be good for Victor, so it won't be good for us. There is no one else on our team that I want following Miggy in the order than Victor, but it isn't fair to make him our first baseman. This is just something else we're going to have to work through."
Cabrera, the two-time reigning American League MVP, has made 109 starts at first base, while Martinez has been the DH 99 times.
Unless Cabrera's ailing ankle unexpectedly recovers, that combination won't be an option during the Tigers' ongoing playoff push.
"The idea is to control Miggy's discomfort as much as possible," Ausmus said. "Beyond that, there isn't much more I can say."
Cabrera's batting average dropped from .304 to .302 before the game when a scoring change was made from Monday's contest. Indians right fielder Mike Aviles was awarded an error on what was originally ruled a Cabrera single.
• Tigers reliever Joakim Soria, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a left oblique strain, threw off flat ground from 140 feet before Tuesday's game.
"Soria felt absolutely nothing for the first time, which was a great sign," Ausmus said. "Because the Minor League seasons are over, though, I honestly don't know what the next step will be."
Class A West Michigan was Detroit's highest affiliate to qualify for the playoffs. Ausmus said the right-hander could make a rehab appearance there, but is more likely to "throw batting practice here."
Brian Dulik is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.