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Detroit Tigers – PlayerWatch

April 11, 2012|Reuters 3B Miguel Cabrera is off to a hot start in defense of his league batting title. Cabrera was walked twice, once intentionally, and had a double in two official at-bats Tuesday. Cabrera was also partially responsible for Detroit’s first run. He was at bat in the third inning with runners on first and third when a changeup by LHP Matt Moore bounced in the dirt and got past C Jose Molina, allowing Austin Jackson to scoot home. 2B Brandon Inge went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout Tuesday in his first rehab game for Class AAA Toledo. Inge, sidelined by a groin strain, served as the designated hitter Tuesday. He is scheduled to play a few innings at second base Wednesday and play seven innings Thursday. He could rejoin Detroit in time for its series this weekend against the White Sox in Chicago. C Gerald Laird gave C Alex Avila a good day off (in the cold against a tough left-hander), and manager Jim Leyland noted the backup catcher “is a perfect fit for us.” Laird threw a runner out trying to steal to end the seventh and chipped in with an RBI single in the three-run eighth that firmed up Detroit’s 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. 2B Ramon Santiago was scratched from Tuesday’s starting lineup due to an illness that is running through the Detroit clubhouse. “I’ve had it for three days,” manager Jim Leyland said, “but I don’t have to play.” Santiago, scheduled to hit eighth, was replaced by Danny Worth, who was dropped to ninth in the order behind C Gerald Laird. RHP Jose Valverde returned to form Tuesday after seeing his streak of 51 consecutive successful save chances end in Detroit’s season opener. Valverde was ill most of the weekend and might have been suffering from the early effects of his illness in the opener. He worked a three-batter ninth Tuesday to close out Detroit’s 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. 1B Prince Fielder drove 3B Miguel Cabrera home from second base with a single to right-center in the eighth inning. Earlier, he had flied softly to left after Cabrera was intentionally walked with runners at first and third and two outs. “The thing I like,” manager Jim Leyland said of both Cabrera and Fielder, “is that those aren’t just two guys who hit home runs. They’re good hitters. That’s what I like.” LHP Adam Wilk will be brought up Saturday to start for Detroit at Chicago against the White Sox. The identity of the player who will be removed from the roster to make room for the rookie won’t be announced until Friday. Wilk was one of five left-handers in contention for a Detroit rotation spot during spring training but was sent down before the last week to get more innings. He made one start for Class AAA Toledo, pitching five innings of one-hit, shutout ball with six strikeouts. He pitched briefly for the Tigers last season, posting a 5.40 ERA in five relief appearances. RHP Max Scherzer will be moved up a day to pitch Friday in Chicago, according to manager Jim Leyland, as Detroit doesn’t want two rookie lefties working back-to-back in the rotation. Scherzer, sent home before Tuesday’s game because he was ill, pitched Sunday but was ineffective. His normal day to pitch would be Friday. The move will allow Leyland to have an experienced right-hander working between LHP Drew Smyly, making his major league debut Thursday, and LHP Adam Wilk, who is being brought up to take the place of injured RHP Doug Fister in the rotation. RHP Rick Porcello is one of the keys to Detroit’s season, and manager Jim Leyland has been pumping him up all spring. “I think Rick Porcello is going to have a real good year for us,” Leyland said after the pitcher allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings Tuesday against Tampa Bay. “I’ve said that all winter. He’s matured right before our very eyes.” Porcello noted the 42-degree weather and occasional snow bursts were something he pitched in at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey.

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