Chicago — Cameron Maybin held out his arm.
“I’ve got goose bumps, man, look,” he said. “It gives me goose bumps. Just to be able to go out there and play and play and play. It’s just a feeling of happiness because you never know what you can do if you are out there.
“It’s been really fun to go to bed at night and wake up knowing I’m going to be in that lineup — truly fun.”
There have been too many days, too many weeks and months throughout his 10-year career he was unable to play every day. Including this year. He missed all of spring training with a fractured wrist and then injured his shoulder during his rehab assignment.
It cost him all of April and half of May. But other than a tender hamstring that kept him out for a couple games in June, he’s been in the Tigers lineup nearly every day. He’s started 23 of the last 24 games — and he’s loving every minute of it.
“We talked about it before the break,” Maybin said of a chat he had with manager Brad Ausmus. “He said, ‘You good for the stretch run?’ And I was like, yeah, I’ve had enough time off earlier in the year.”
Even with the All-Star break, Ausmus is considering given Maybin a day off soon. He is 5-for-25 since the break with no extra-base hits and one RBI. His batting average has dropped 20 points.
“It’s hard, of course,” Maybin said. “Mentally, I am always upbeat. But yesterday (Thursday) my body was dragging a little bit.”
He’s been among several Tigers who have been hitting the ball hard with limited results. He hit a ball to the wall in right-center field Thursday night against the White Sox that was caught. His batting average on balls put in play since the break is .217, so a correction could be coming soon.
“I feel like if I just continue to have quality at-bats, consistent quality at-bats, I’m going to be all right,” Maybin said. “I don’t know if they keep a stat for it, but I feel like I haven’t given any at-bats away.”
Maybin has made himself a perfect fit for the No. 2 hole in the lineup. He’s put a premium on getting on base, picking his spots to drive the ball into the gaps.
“I am really happy as far as how I feel as a player,” he said. “I feel like I am a late-bloomer. I’ve been around now and I had a lot to learn. I’ve finally figured out how I can make an impact on a really good team.
“The scoreboard dictates when I can take my shot. I know you look at my stats and I have two home runs. But these guys (pitchers) are careful. They don’t want to make a mistake because they know I will put some good wood on the ball.”
Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had no setbacks after his 40-pitch bullpen session Thursday. He is on pace to make a rehab start Sunday with Triple A Toledo.
Left-hander Daniel Norris will start for the Mud Hens today.
... Ausmus said while the club was still keeping a wary eye on Michael Fulmer’s pitch counts and innings, there remains no set ceiling.
“We will just see how it goes,” he said. “We’ve got a couple days off coming up, so we maybe will push him back and take advantage of those days.”
Tigers at White Sox
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Saturday, U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago
LHP Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.91), Tigers: He’s coming off the best start of his young career — six innings of three-hit shutout ball against the Twins. His change-up was lethal — he threw 21 with 67 percent swung at, one resulted in a hit, eight were swung at and missed. His two-seam fastball also was effective.
LHP Chris Sale (14-3, 3.18), White Sox: He had his worst start July 8, allowing eight runs in five innings to the Braves. But he bounced back nicely his last start, throwing eight, one-hit shutout innings on the road against the Mariners. This is the third time the Tigers have faced him — 1-1 with a 1.350 WHIP. The Tigers have scored seven off him in 131/3 innings.