Ausmus: Greene will be ready to pitch Friday
Seattle — The Twittersphere was shrieking late Tuesday night and into the wee hours Wednesday.
The cries grew louder as manager Brad Ausmus paraded one reliever after another, even one starting pitcher through the Tigers' 15-inning 6-5 loss to the Mariners — and not one of them was named Shane Greene.
“What’s he doing?”
“Is he trying to lose?”
Those were some of the PG-13 questions.
What was unknown during the game, since the Tigers lately have become extremely guarded with their injury reports, is that Greene was unavailable and has been since he last pitched Saturday against the Mets.
Ausmus, in explaining Greene’s absence Tuesday, finally revealed he’s been dealing with a strain in his posterior oblique.
“We’re trying to work him through it without having to put him on the disabled list,” Ausmus said.
Greene said the muscle soreness, which is mostly in the right side of his lower back, has been bothering him “for a while,” even before he pitched on Saturday. But he’d been taking daily treatment and it hasn’t impacted his ability to pitch.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Greene said. “It didn’t affect me (when he last pitched) and I don’t plan on it affecting me. We’re just playing it day by day.”
Verlander proves skeptics wrong with stellar season
Ausmus said he was hoping not to use Greene again Wednesday, but expected to have him available Friday in Texas.
“First of all, you’ve got to know Shane Greene — he’d tell you he could pitch if his right arm was falling off,” Ausmus said. “Then you’ve got to be smart about what you are doing with him. We have a day off Thursday. Which would be smartest thing to do, pitch him tonight or not?”
It was a rhetorical question — clearly the Tigers believe giving him the extra days off would be far more beneficial.
“I firmly believe he’ll be ready to pitch Friday,” Ausmus said. “We’d like not to pitch him tonight.”
As expected, the Tigers placed center fielder Cameron Maybin on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and recalled right-handed pitcher Warwick Saupold from Toledo.
The move was retroactive to Aug. 4, so Maybin could return to the active roster a week from Friday. That will depend on how fast the Grade 2 sprain of his left thumb heals.
“The best case is that he’ll be cleared in 15 days,” Ausmus said. “We don’t know how that’s going to work out.”
Maybin said on Tuesday that he planned to seek a second opinion on the diagnosis. The Tigers medical staff was already a step ahead of him on that. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand had already sent the CT Scan to a hand specialist — Dr. Tom Graham.
The second opinion confirmed the first. There is no tear, just a Grade 2 sprain.
What about Gomez?
The Tigers were well aware that the Astros designated center fielder Carlos Gomez, a right-handed hitter, for assignment Wednesday. He is in the last year of his contract and would seemingly be a player of interest for the Tigers, if Maybin’s injury lingered.
Of course, nobody was speaking specifically about any such interest before the game Wednesday.
“We haven’t discussed him specifically,” Ausmus said. “But if it turned out that Cam needed more than 15 days, then finding preferably a right-handed hitting center fielder that could help out would be something that would be discussed.”
Gomez, a former All-Star, was hitting .210 with a .323 slugging percentage and .594 OPS at the time of his release.
Around the horn
Right-hander Bruce Rondon, who has been on paternity leave, is expected to rejoin the team in Texas.
…Right-hander Drew VerHagen, who is out for the season with thoracic outlet syndrome, had no complications after his surgery on Tuesday. Rand said he would be able to resume a throwing program in six to eight weeks.
…Ausmus has set the pitching rotation for the Rangers series. Anibal Sanchez will pitch Friday, Matt Boyd on Saturday and Michael Fulmer on Sunday. The Rangers will counter with Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and A.J. Griffin.