Detroit — Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wasn't buying the theory that Orioles pitcher Evan Meek grooved the pitch to Derek Jeter in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium Thursday that resulted in a storybook walk-off single.
"The people who think it was grooved have no understanding of how difficult it is to get a hit, even if you know what's coming," he said. "To me, it's ridiculous. Baltimore is trying to get home field advantage in the playoffs. Grooving a pitch and losing a game? I don't see it happening.
"Even if it was grooved, he still had to hit it and then hit it somewhere no one is standing. It's kind of ludicrous."
Joba Chamberlain, Jeter's former teammate and close friend, also pooh-poohed the notion.
"I'm pretty sure they aren't trying to give up three runs and lose the game," he said. "That stuff, it just gives people something to talk about."
Chamberlain talked to Jeter on Wednesday and said the strain of his final days as an active player were starting to get to him.
"He was going crazy," Chamberlain said. "It was all adding up for him. I just wanted to thank him for everything he's done for me. But it was getting tough for him. You can't really know how he feels because you're not going to go through what he's gone through.
"I can only imagine. It had to be pretty tough."
Chamberlain got emotional as he watched his friend take his final lap around Yankee Stadium Thursday.
"I called it (the walk-off) before the game," he said. "I knew something like that would happen. That's the way his career has gone. It wouldn't be written any other way."
No contract talk
Chamberlain is on a one-year deal with the Tigers, but his pending free agency is about the last thing on his mind these days.
"I want to win a World Series; I couldn't care less about myself," he said. "It has nothing to do with me. I've won one before, now I want to win one again. This team is great. We have a great nucleus of guys, guys who have been around the game a long time and never won a World Series."
Chamberlain, Phil Coke and Miguel Cabrera are the only Tigers who have World Series rings.
"I am not worried about myself," he said. "My job is to get the ball to Joe (Nathan). I don't care too much about what else happens…If you go on the field and you are healthy and you pitch and you give your team a chance to win, everything else will take care of itself."
Around the horn
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes declined a chance to pitch out of the bullpen against the Tigers this weekend, leaving a potential bonus check of $500,000 on the table by doing so.
He needs one more out to complete 210 innings this season, which would activate the bonus. He was set to get there last Wednesday but a rain delay forced him out of his start. Hughes, nobly, said it wouldn't be right to make a token appearance, especially risking injury to do so.
…Victor Martinez's 32 home runs are tied for the second most by a switch hitter in Tigers history. Tony Clark set the franchise mark of 34 in 1998.
Chris McCosky on twitter @cmccosky