Tigers lineup getting back in order
Oakland, Calif. — A lineup that Monday looked like something from a split-squad Grapefruit League game more resembled its old self as the Tigers got ready for a rematch against the A's at O.co Coliseum on Tuesday.
Miguel Cabrera was back in his No. 3 spot after manager Brad Ausmus gave him a day off Monday to soothe an ankle that was operated on in November.
The Tigers paid the price for competing minus Cabrera, as well as starting shortstop Jose Iglesias. They were shut out on four singles in a 4-0 defeat that began a three-game trip to Oakland and will move to Anaheim, California, for a four-game series against the Angels.
The Tigers, however, still were waiting for Iglesias to heal after he badly bruised a knee in a collision with Astros first baseman Chris Carter.
Ausmus was unsure when Iglesias might return, although his layoff is expected to be brief.
"He's better," Ausmus said. "But he's not ready yet."
Set to start in place of Iglesias against the A's was Andrew Romine.
Also missing Tuesday: second baseman Ian Kinsler, who got a day of rest following an 0-for-21 dive that has dropped his average to .282.
"He's scuffling a little," said Ausmus, who discussed with Kinsler the idea of a Tuesday vacation following Monday's game. "I thought it would be a good day to get him out."
Hoping to boost Perez
Starting in place of Kinsler was Hernan Perez, who had a Monday cameo as Cabrera's replacement at first base.
"We've got to get him some at-bats and see if we can get him going," Ausmus said of a utility man whose spring has been more of a nightmare, thanks to an .074 batting average.
The Tigers made Perez a member of their bench crew when they finalized their 25-man roster at the end of spring camp.
A big reason is that Perez, who turned 24 in March, is out of minor-league options and can't be returned to the farm unless he clears waivers.
The Tigers don't like the chances of Perez escaping waiver-wire exposure. They view him still as a prospect whose skills are potentially too valuable to give away.
They also know a young player who sees big-league pitching sparingly has little chance of finding his batting stroke. Hence, the move to not only give Kinsler a break but to try and jump-start the bat of a player whose time could be nearing an end in Detroit.
Machado expected to go
Buck Farmer was scheduled to report to Anaheim today as he prepared for his Thursday start against the Angels.
Farmer, a rookie right-hander, is replacing Kyle Lobstein, who is on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. Lobstein had been filling in for Justin Verlander during Verlander's layoff because of a strained triceps.
The Tigers will need to send down a player from their 25-man roster ahead of Thursday's game. It is expected the player will be shortstop Dixon Machado, who was brought up from Triple A Toledo when Lobstein went on the disabled list.
The Tigers made the move as a stop-gap solution to losing Iglesias for what was projected to be a few days. The time coincided with days between Lobstein's last start (Saturday) and his next turn in the rotation, which was to be Thursday.
Cabrera tops first basemen
The first stage of All-Star Game voting was made public Tuesday, thanks to early returns on American League ballots.
Cabrera led all first basemen with 1,347,351 votes. Eric Hosmer of the Royals was second with 1,101,738.
Voting support for Kansas City players was overwhelming in the early phase of balloting, as evidenced by a host of Royals who led at their respective positions. Lorenzo Cain was the top votes-getter among outfielders, ahead of Angels star Mike Trout, while Alcides Escobar was first among shortstop (1,191,268). Iglesias was second (826,382).
Early voting for National League All-Stars will be revealed today.
Tigers at A's
First pitch: 3:35 today, O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
■ RH Alfredo Simon (5-2, 2.67), Tigers: Has been consistent and quite the killer with his diving split-finger pitch and 68-mph curveball. Has an overall package of pitches, including a solid-90s fastball. Has made a smooth transition from National League to American.
■ LH Scott Kazmir (2-3, 3.09), A's: One of those oldies and goodies who can make life miserable, even for a team (Tigers) that has its share of seasoned sticks. Knows how to change speeds, altitude, how to move a ball in and out. Tigers need to catch him on an off-day.