Minneapolis — Tigers reliever Jeff Ferrell hasn’t gone back and looked at the video. That terrifying “freak accident,” as he calls it now, doesn’t haunt his dreams or keep him up at night.
But the screaming line drive hit by Oakland’s Ryon Healy that struck him behind the right ear on Sept. 18 is still very much in the back of his mind.
“I try not to think about it,” said Ferrell, who on Friday was finally cleared from the concussion protocol. “I am trying to put it past me. Obviously, it was a freak accident and I hope it never happens again.”
Ferrell has thrown bullpens and kept his arm in shape, but he is on the fence about how quickly he wants to get back on the horse and face hitters.
“I don’t know what the plan is,” he said. “I mean, once I get through the first outing, it will definitely help me smooth things over. Right now it is still in the back of my mind a little bit. Getting back on the mound that first time will help.”
On the other hand, getting away for a full offseason and coming back fresh in spring training has its appeal, as well.
“Yeah, it would be nice to kind of go home and put it past me,” Ferrell said. “Then next year I know for sure I’m completely healthy, everything is healed and everything is good to go from there.”
Manager Brad Ausmus believes it will serve Ferrell well to face a hitter before the end of the season, but he’s not sure if it will happen.
“I can’t guarantee that he will get back out there,” Ausmus said.
Nine for Romine
Ausmus has the flow chart ready. The plan for getting utility man Andrew Romine to play nine positions in the same game is set.
“I’m not going to announce it, though,” Ausmus said. “Romine doesn’t want to know ahead of time, so I can’t tell you guys.”
Ausmus has targeted Sunday for the feat, but the forecast is showing heavy rain in the area.
“If there is an overwhelming chance Sunday could get rained out, we could do it tomorrow,” Ausmus said.
Romine has already played eight positions this season, including pitcher. Romine said he believes he will only pitch to one batter, and it will likely be later in the game because it would cost the Tigers the designated hitter.
Catcher is the only position he hasn’t played in a big-league game. Romine said he wanted to catch a full inning, but Ausmus indicated on Thursday that wasn’t likely.
If he pulls it off, Romine will become the fifth player to play all nine positions in a game in major league history, and the first since Shane Halter did it with the Tigers in 2000.
Ausmus said he planned to talk to Miguel Cabrera before the game to determine whether or not he could or wanted to play in either of the last two games.
“I just want to find out how he feels about finishing out the year,” Ausmus said.
Cabrera, not in the lineup again Friday, has missed the last five games and has been diagnosed with two herniated discs in his back. He has not done any baseball activity since being shut down.
Around the horn
Before he got the Royals’ Melky Cabrera to ground into a game-ending double play Thursday night and save the Tigers’ 4-1 win, closer Shane Greene called catcher Bryan Holaday to the mound. “Doc came out and I said, ‘Hey man, I’m on you; I’m thinking too much,’ ” Greene said. “So he just put his fingers down and I threw the pitch.”
… Third baseman Jeimer Candelario (left wrist strain) was back in the lineup Friday against right-hander Kyle Gibson. He still cannot swing right-handed.
… Outfielder Tyler Collins (ribs) won’t take any more swings this season, Ausmus said. He would be available to play the outfield or pinch-run.
… In the three-game series against the Royals, starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris allowed two runs or less. That’s the first time this season Tigers’ starting pitchers have allowed two runs or fewer in three consecutive starts.