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Detroit — Chad Bell didn't run hurdles in high school.

But he sure fooled us — and saved an already-sore Miguel Cabrera from any more pain.

In the fourth inning of Sunday's 9-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Logan Morrison hit a grounder to deep first base. Cabrera decided to take it himself, but Bell was running over just in case, and Morrison was lumbering down the line, too.

"That was three big humans making its way down the line," Bell said, laughing.

Cabrera ended up sliding feet-first into the bag, and a quick-thinking Bell showed some hops leaping high over Cabrera's head.

It was some quick thinking on a play that appeared heading for disaster.

"I was just making sure I didn't touch Miggy, that was the main thing," said Bell, a Tigers reliever who threw 4⅔ innings in the loss. "Make sure to avoid him."

Cabrera stayed on the ground for a bit, with a typical Cabrera grin.

He then went over to Bell, and the two walked off the field together. Crisis averted.

"I just said, 'Are you OK?'" Bell said. "That was it.

"I was just like, 'You better walk off normal. You're fine.'"

That was one of several impressive defensive plays by the Tigers in defeat. Cabrera had another one, and Dixon Machado had a couple at shortstop.

Trade talk

The trade deadline is a month-and-a-half away, and at some point the Tigers will have to start playing better, for an extended period of time, if they want to keep the band together.

Not that it's talked about much in the clubhouse.

"It's been overstated," Avila said, talking about the media. "That's what everybody talks about every day.
"That's the case with every team. That's the reality of baseball and the industry nowadays.

"If you don't understand what the consequence of not winning is, then again, what are you doing here? You win, you continue on. When teams don't win, that's when changes are made."

Interesting, Avila could be a trade chip, having a renaissance year at the plate, while still a plus defender behind it. He had two more hits and a walk Sunday, and now is batting .326 with an on-base percentage of .443.

And yes, he could be traded, even with his father as the general manager. Baseball is a business, bloodlines be damned.

Realistic assessment

Buck Farmer wasn't making any excuses, even though there was potential for awkwardness before the game when Anibal Sanchez walked into the clubhouse.

It was announced before the game that Sanchez would rejoin the rotation and start Monday, meaning for a bit, the Tigers had six starters.

Farmer had a dud last time out and had to know another one could cost him his spot — which it ultimately did. But he said that had no effect on how he pitched.

"No, I mean every day's a different opportunity," Farmer said. "It didn't matter.

"All it comes down to is I didn't do my job. That's it."

On deck: Mariners

Series: Four games, Monday-Thursday, Safeco Field, Seattle

First pitch: All four games at 10:10

TV/radio: All four games on FSD, Monday also on ESPN, Thursday also on MLB Network/all four games on 97.1

Series probables: Monday — RHP Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 9.00) vs. RHP Sam Gaviglio (3-1, 3.41); Tuesday — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 5.35) vs. LHP Ariel Miranda (6-3, 4.17); Wednesday — RHP Justin Verlander (4-4, 4.50) vs. LHP James Paxton (5-2, 3.23); Thursday — LHP Daniel Norris (4-4, 4.42) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-7, 6.30)

Scouting report

* Sanchez, Tigers: This is it — the Sanchez return to the rotation. It's been a rough few years for the veteran, but he's getting another shot. Time's running out to get many more.

* Gaviglio, Mariners: He won't overpower you, this former fifth-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals. And he gives up a fair share of homers, nine in 34.1 innings so far in 2017.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/tonypaul1984

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