Healthy Maybin hopes to provide a spark for Tigers

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Tigers outfielder Cameron Maybin returns to the team after a wrist and shoulder injury kept him out until Monday.

Detroit — The Tigers mostly are an active bunch on social media. They get the local daily newspapers delivered to the clubhouse. They almost always know what’s being said about them, and their manager.

Cameron Maybin? Not so much.

The newest addition to the roster, joining the team Monday after spending the first several weeks of the season on the disabled list, said he hasn’t concerned himself with the team’s recent troubles.

Instead, he’s just been focused on getting healthy — which, let’s be honest, took a while.

“Absolutely, it was way longer than I think we all expected,” Maybin said ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Minnesota Twins. “Things you can’t control, you go with the punches. I’m here now.

“No better time than now, I guess.”

He could say that again, if he was actually aware of that comment’s potential double meaning.

Detroit has lost 11 of 13 games to fall five games under .500 and 7.5 games out of first place. It’s been a combination of bad pitching and bad hitting, a pretty lousy combination.

Maybin, 29, a first-round pick by the Tigers in the 2005 draft who helped them land Miguel Cabrera in a blockbuster trade, was reacquired this offseason in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.

A wrist injury early in spring, followed by a shoulder injury later at Toledo, kept him out until Monday, when he was to bat seventh and play center field.

The Tigers would like him to provide a spark. He hopes to, too — kind of like he did his second game in the major leagues, in August 2007, when he took pitcher Roger Clemens deep at old Yankee Stadium.

“The beauty of this game is, what have you done for me lately?” Maybin said. “And I haven’t done anything for this team lately.

“We gotta make some new memories.”

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Maybin will get the bulk of the starts in center field, especially since it was Anthony Gose — and not Steven Moya — sent down to make room after Sunday’s game.

Justin Upton could get some starts in center field, too, though given his lack of experience there, the Tigers probably would prefer he get those starts in center fields less spacious than Comerica Park’s.

The Tigers have a chance to turn the ship around the next couple weeks, with their next 12 games against the Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s. They also get a couple days off in that span, after having two off-days since the middle of April.

Maybe a little bit of a roll will get the media off the back of the manager — and the team. Not that Maybin knows what you’re talking about.

“I don’t really keep up with what’s going on. I don’t, really. I’m sorry. For real, I haven’t. I don’t even watch too much TV,” Maybin said. “You know again, they always say misery loves company. With all the social media outlets, it’s a lot of negativity. I don’t have social media. I don’t really watch news. Every time you turn on the news, it’s something tragic or people talking bad. Very seldom do you hear a lot of praise, you know?

“I try to stay away from it. I’m a Netflix guy, you know, I am a Hulu and Netflix guy. I watch ‘Empire,’ ‘Atlanta Housewives,’ stuff like that.”

Maybin returns to Detroit with a career .251 batting average, .313 on-base percentage and .366 slugging percentage over nine seasons spent among the Tigers, Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres and, last season, the Braves.

Last season was his best in terms of homers (10) and RBIs (59). He stole 23 bases, well below his career-best of 40 in 2011.

He won’t make the difference between winning and losing. He just wants to make a difference.

“It’s gonna take everybdoy in here,” said Maybin, who is making $8 million this season — $2.5 million of which is being paid by the Braves. “Hopefully I can bring a little bit of fun in here. No matter what happens, you gotta enjoy the game.

“I’m excited to be back here and just do what I can do for this organization.”

Around the horn

Ausmus caught the big brawl between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays, and said he'd never seen a punch like the one Rougned Odor landed on Jose Bautista.

The fight stemmed immediately from a hard slide by Bautista, but probably carried over from last year's playoffs, when Bautista hit a big homer against the Rangers — and followed it with a bat flip for the ages.

Bat flips used to be a sign of disrespect, but in this Bryce Harper "Make Baseball Fun Again" era, the debate is on.

"Bat flips have become a little bit a part of the game now," Ausmus said. "It's a fine line. There's different views on it than there was 10 years ago. It's a little more accepted.

"I do think you should, in general, respect the team you're playing."

... Ausmus said Shane Greene (blister) could throw another bullpen session Tuesday or Wednesday, and if that goes well, he could be ready to be sent out on a minor-league rehab stint.

... Tigers and Twins TV man Jack Morris — who won World Series with both clubs — turned 61 on Monday.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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