Tigers feeling jet lagged with quick turnaround

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Detroit — Body clocks weren’t keeping the best of time Thursday at Comerica Park.

The Tigers were in a different time zone, on an upside-down sleep schedule, and still were obliged to ditch the drowsiness and take on the Yankees in a make-up game at Comerica Park.

“It’s not ideal, but every team has a couple of days like this,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, whose team had arrived in Detroit just after dawn Thursday following an overnight flight from Anaheim, Calif.

“You don’t like to do it regularly. But you suck it up.”

Thursday’s game was mandated after the Tigers and Yankees were rained out of an April 10 duel that was to have been an ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” production.

With the Yankees not scheduled for any subsequent series in Detroit in 2016, there was no choice but for each team to accept open-date contortions that led to Thursday’s rearrangement.

One player got a reprieve from Wednesday night’s red-eye flight. Matt Boyd was Thursday’s starter and flew home Wednesday in a bid to get him a full night of Eastern Daylight sleep ahead of his Yankees assignment.

Kinsler’s gets respite

Ausmus opted to start Mike Aviles at second base Thursday and allow Ian Kinsler a break.

“We had a late arrival and he hasn’t had a day off,” said Ausmus, explaining why the regular leadoff man was given a breather.

Sanchez ’pen plan

Ausmus said there were no immediate plans to push Anibal Sanchez into a game as he shifts to a bullpen role. Sanchez started Tuesday against the Angels and will get something close to the same amount of rest he normally would enjoy between starts.

Ausmus said an emergency situation could alter plans. But initial thoughts are that Sanchez won’t pitch until this weekend against the White Sox.

Zimmermann back

Jordan Zimmermann makes his first start tonight in nearly two weeks. He strained a groin muscle in his May 22 start against the Rays and had to depart early in what turned into a 9-4 Tigers victory.

The injury didn’t require time on the disabled list. But it interrupted what had been a steady spring of repeat successes for a first-year Tigers pitcher.

Voices changing

The customary Tigers play-by-play radio announcer, Dan Dickerson, will miss Friday's game against the White Sox and Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays because of family and graduation responsibilities.

He will be replaced Friday by FSD telecaster John Keating. Ken Kal, who is on sabbatical during the Red Wings offseason, will fill in for Dickerson on Monday.


twitter.com: @Lynn_Henning

On deck: White Sox

Series: Three games, tonight-Sunday, Comerica Park, Detroit

First pitch: 7:10 Friday, 4:10 p.m. Saturday, 1:10 p.m. Sunday

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Series probables: Friday — Carlos Rodon (2-4, 4.24) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (7-2, 2.52). Saturday — Chris Sale (9-1, 2.29) vs. Mike Pelfrey (0-5, 4.96). Sunday — Jose Quintana (5-5, 2.13) vs. Justin Verlander (4-5, 4.11)

Scouting report

Rodon: Good, young (23) pitcher who can get you with a strikeout or ground-out, which can pile up because of his heavy sinker. Good change-up, also. Rodon will walk a batter here and there. But a pitcher who can be tough even on right-handed batters.

Zimmermann: Has missed a couple of starts with a strained groin, but all is supposedly well with a right-hander who was far and away the best pitcher the first six weeks. Has given up some runs of late, but a tough, tough pitcher.