Tigers await word on Alfredo Simon's return
Anaheim, Calif. — The Tigers were still uncertain Friday about Alfredo Simon and his status as Simon dealt with a family emergency in the Dominican Republic.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he was aware of reports that Simon's father had died but that Simon had not yet notified the club. Simon, a righthanded starter for the Tigers, flew hurriedly to the Dominican Republic following Tuesday night's game against the Athletics to be with his gravely ill father and his family.
Kyle Ryan, a left-hander who arrived Wednesday as Simon's replacement, will remain with the team until Simon returns, Ausmus said.
"All of that remains up in the air," Ausmus said. "He (Ryan) is lined up to start if we need him."
Simon remains on bereavement leave. He has not pitched since May 22.
Ian Kinsler can appreciate people wondering just what happened to a Tigers offense that early on was so devastating and lately has been a dud.
That's because Kinsler's flameout has been at the heart of a team's May miseries.
Kinsler busted out of an 0-for-22 nosedive Wednesday with a double. But it has been his only hit since May 21. His batting average has fallen from .318 on May 18 to .278, where it rested entering Friday's game against the Angels.
"He's battling his tail off," Ausmus said. "He is a baseball gamer.
"He's gonna be fine. If we start worrying about Ian Kinsler, we've got problems."
Ausmus was still trying Friday to squeeze from Hernan Perez the brand of at-bats a team insists he'll bring, at least eventually, to a big-league game.
Perez started at third base Friday as Nick Castellanos moved to designated hitter against Angels left-handed starter Hector Santiago.
"He's a much better hitter than he's shown," Ausmus has said of Perez, several times, in recent days.
Perez's batting average Friday was a ghastly .067. The Tigers have been caught with a 24-year-old infielder who is out of minor-league options and who can't be returned to the minors unless he clears waivers.
The Tigers have continually viewed Perez as having skill and upside they don't care to donate to another club.
But they have also been caught in a Catch-22 situation with Perez, who needs regular at-bats to sharpen his hitting and who has been unable to get regular work because of his status as a fill-in player.
James McCann, the Tigers' impressive rookie catcher, had hit safely in 15 of his last 22 games (.333) and was batting a sturdy .290 on the season.
... AlAlburquerque's string of consecutive scoreless relief appearances sat at 12 games entering Friday, spanning 13 innings. The 12-game stretch is the longest since Alburquerque had another dozen-game scoreless string in 2014.
... The Tigers continue with a stretch of 14 games against American League West teams. The run continues Tuesday at Comerica Park when the Tigers begin a three-game home series against the Athletics.
Tigers at Angels
Time: 10:05 p.m., Angel Stadium of Anaheim
TV/radio: FSD, MLB/1270, 97.1
RHP Shane Greene Tigers (4-3, 4.27): Had a couple of rough outings in late April and early May but has otherwise been consistent and rugged on opposing batters. Defense let him down in a Memorial Day start against the Athletics. If he's low in the zone, a tough pitcher.
RHP Jered Weaver (3-4, 4.06): Has a notoriously low-throttle fastball, especially compared with his previous life. But has been throwing effective innings for the Angels. Tigers tend to have trouble with soft-tossers. Weaver's craft is heavy on finesse.