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Tigers’ Maybin tweaks quad, is day-to-day

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Kansas City, Mo. — You had the feeling something was up when Cameron Maybin grimaced and moved gingerly back to first base after beating out a potential double-play ball in the fifth inning Wednesday.

He finished the game but was not in the Tigers lineup Thursday.

Was it the hamstring?

“Nope,” he said.

Groin?

“Nah.”

So, what was it?

“I tweaked my quad a little bit,” he said, laughing. “I didn’t lie. It wasn’t neither of those other things. I was just being honest.”

Maybin first aggravated the left quadriceps in the first inning Monday in Chicago when he scored from first on a double by Miguel Cabrera. He re-aggravated it Wednesday.

“It’s not too bad,” he said. “I just need to get some treatment on it. I don’t want it to get worse before it gets better.”

The Tigers medical staff determined that no MRI was needed at this time, just rest and treatment. He will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.

“A part of Cam’s game is his ability to use his legs,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “We don’t want to lose him for an extended period of time.”

Justin Upton got the start in center field, with Mike Aviles playing in left field.

“We don’t want to do it too often,” Ausmus said of playing Upton in center, especially in the more spacious outfields like Kauffman Stadium. “But we’re kind of stuck.”

The Tigers faced left-handed starter Danny Duffy Thursday, which is why Upton moved to center and right-handed hitting Aviles got the start in left. Had the Royals started a right-hander, Andrew Romine — a switch-hitter who hits better left handed — would have started in center.

Maybin has only played in 27 of the Tigers’ first 65 games this season. He missed the first month and a half with a fractured left wrist and then a right shoulder injury. This is the first time in his career he’s had a quad injury.

“I’m trying them all out,” he said, laughing. “Nah, I just want to make sure it’s short-term. Just trying to be smart; it’s hard to be smart sometimes. But I have missed enough time. I don’t need any more extended time off. I’ve got to take care of it.”

Decision time

Right-handed reliever Warwick Saupold, on the DL since June 1 with a groin injury, threw a 35-pitch bullpen Thursday. It was the first time he threw off a mound since the injury.

“Felt good,” he said. “No pain. Now I just have to get my reps. Command’s not as good as it should be, but once I get a few more reps I should be all right.”

The 15 days are up, so he is eligible to come off the DL. The Tigers will have to decide what the next step is — whether he will stay in the bullpen in Detroit or go back to Toledo.

“He will definitely have to do a rehab assignment before anything would be decided,” Ausmus said.

Saupold is just anxious to get back to pitching.

“I got through the first bullpen and that was a major thing for me,” he said. “The command will come with more reps. I am pain-free. Now it’s a matter of getting people out. I need to work on repeating my delivery, get my timing back and once that’s good — whether it’s here or down there — I’ll be ready to go.”

Draftees sign

The Tigers signed nine of their 2016 draft picks Thursday.

They are:

Seventh round pick Austin Sodders, left-handed pitcher from California-Riverside; 10th rounder Sam Machonis, outfielder from Florida Southern; 13th rounder Brady Pollicelli, catcher from Towson University; 16th rounder Will Savage, second baseman from Columbia.

Seventeenth round pick Brandyn Sittinger, right-handed pitcher from Ashland University; 22nd rounder Burris Warner, right-handed pitcher from Marshall; 24th rounder Evan Hill, left-handed pitcher from Michigan; 26th rounder Colyn O’Connell, right-handed pitcher from Florida Atlantic; and 27th rounder Chad Sedio, shortstop from Ohio.

Around the horn

The Tigers will face temperamental Rpyals right-hander Yordano Ventura Friday. Ventura is appealing his nine-game suspension for his role in the benches-clearing brawl with the Orioles. Ausmus was asked if they’d try to rattle him if they got the chance. “I couldn’t tell you that,” Ausmus joked. “No. Just play our game. We’re not worried about what happened with him and another team.”

… Victor Martinez (right knee) was back in the lineup as the designated hitter. He had missed the three games in Chicago. “He’s all good,” Ausmus said. “But we’ll keep an eye on it. It’s not a major concern, in terms of the issue (bruising). But it can be an issue that lingers.”

… Ian Kinsler, who got his 1,600 career hit Wednesday, is one shy of 1,000 runs scored.

… The Royals continue to be ridiculously good at home. After sweeping the Indians, they have won nine straight and 12 of the last 13. They are 22-7 at home this season and 13-23 on the road.

Twitter: @cmccosky