Tigers place Simon on bereavement leave

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Oakland, Calif.

— The Tigers got a sad surprise late Tuesday evening when starting pitcher Alfredo Simon left the team to be with his seriously ill father in the Dominican Republic, knocking Simon from Wednesday's start against the A's at O.co Coliseum.

Simon is officially on bereavement leave and will be replaced by Triple A left-hander Kyle Ryan. But it is not certain if Ryan's flight will arrive in time for Wednesday's game (3:37 p.m., Detroit time).

If the schedule does not cooperate, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said after Tuesday's 1-0 victory over the A's that he would be calling on relievers from his bullpen to start and complete Wednesday's game.

Blaine Hardy and Tom Gorzelanny, both left-handers, can pitch multiple innings, as can right-hander Alex Wilson.

"It could be a bullpen day," Ausmus said, acknowledging that there was a "small window" for Ryan's flight connections to put him in Oakland ahead by an early-afternoon start time.

Ryan, 23, pitched in six games for the Tigers in 2014 and made one start. This season for the Toledo Mud Hens, he is 0-5 with a 4.67 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He has allowed nine earned runs in his last two starts.

More like it

A lineup that on Monday looked like something from a split-squad Grapefruit League game on Tuesday more resembled its old self.

Miguel Cabrera was back in his No. 3 spot in Ausmus' batting order after Cabrera was given a day off Monday to soothe an ankle that was operated on last November.

Cabrera was 1-for-4 Tuesday, which included a deep fly ball to the track in right-center field that was snagged by Sam Fuld.

The Tigers, however, were still waiting for Jose Iglesias to heal after he badly bruised a knee in a collision Saturday with Astros first baseman Chris Carter.

Ausmus was unsure Tuesday when Iglesias might return, although his layoff is expected to be brief.

"He's better today," Ausmus said. "But he's not ready yet."

Andrew Romine replaced Iglesias and had two of the Tigers' six singles. He also made a throwing error in the second when he tried to cut down Stephen Vogt, advancing from second to third on a ground ball, and hit Vogt with the relay, leaving runners at the corners with one out.

David Price, however, got out of that mess as he did others.

Also missing: 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."

Hernan Perez filled in for Kinsler and hit the ball hard three times. But he was put away three times as his batting average dropped to .069.

Double jeopardy

Double plays have been a Tigers trademark in 2015, and one they would appreciate shedding.

In that spirit, Ausmus had his baserunners sprinting Tuesday night. Four times the Tigers tried to either steal a base or, just as strategically, stay out of a double play. It worked only once, when Anthony Gose stole second in the first and moved to third on a bad throw by A's catcher Josh Phegley.

He subsequently scored on Rajai Davis' sacrifice fly.

"We're trying to do some stuff and avoid these double plays that suck the wind out of you," Ausmus said after Tuesday's game.

"We're trying to do something to get it going. It didn't always work tonight, and I don't know if it's something we'll do for the long term, but tried to do it tonight."

Farmer's flight

Buck Farmer was scheduled to report to Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday as he prepared for a Thursday start against the Angels in Anaheim.

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 anticipated the player will be shortstop Dixon Machado, who was brought up from Triple A Toledo when Lobstein went on the DL.

The Tigers made the move as a temporary 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's series opener against the Angels.

Cabrera tops

The first stage of All-Star Game voting was made public Tuesday, thanks to early returns on American League ballots.

Miguel 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 of the Royals was first among shortstops (1,191,268). Jose Iglesias of the Tigers was second (826,382).

Early voting for National League All-Stars will be revealed today.