Maybin quickly contributes in return to lineup

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Cameron Maybin of the Tigers strikes out in the first inning against the Red Sox at Comerica Park.

Detroit – They’re getting healthier.

A battered and bruised Tigers’ roster is getting reinforcements back, Sunday seeing outfielder Cameron Maybin return.

Maybin quickly contributed, lining a two-run single in the Tigers’ 10-5 victory over Boston.

Out with a grade two left thumb strain since August 4, Maybin started in centerfield Sunday and batted second against Boston.

“His timing was a little off,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “Especially that first at-bat, but he’ll come around. That’s what happens when you come off the DL (disabled list) and get into a major league game.

“He did have the big two-run hit, which was important.”

Ausmus removed Maybin heading into the seventh inning.

“Just precautionary,” Ausmus said. “At that point, it’s 10-1, he’s (the thumb) not completely healed, and the speed of a major league game is more than a simulated game.

“Just get him out of there, get some treatment, and rest (Monday).”

Maybin felt ready to go after taking some swings Sunday morning in a simulated game designed for pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (neck).

Ausmus was anxious to get Maybin’s spark back in the lineup.

“He’s been a tremendous catalyst when he’s been in the lineup hitting in the 2-hole,” Ausmus said. “We feel we’re a better lineup and better offensive club when he gets on base.”

The Tigers optioned infielder Dixon Machado to Toledo, while activating Maybin.

Zimmermann update

As for Zimmermann, the right-hander threw approximately 35 pitches and looked good, according to Ausmus.

“The ball was coming out good,  he had good finish on his fastball, especially early, he said he felt good,” Ausmus said.

If Zimmermann feels good Monday, the plan is for him to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and be sent to the minors Friday for a rehab start.

Ausmus said it’s likely Zimmermann will make about three rehab starts.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias (left hamstring strain) participated in the simulated game and will be sent to Toledo Monday to begin his rehabilitation.

Ausmus said Iglesias will play approximately four games, a combination of playing shortstop and designated hitting, before returning to the Tigers.

Is Ausmus sensing the Tigers have turned the corner as far as surviving the recent spate of injuries?
“We’re approaching the corner,” Ausmus said.

Four-game split

Sunday’s victory enabled the Tigers to salvage a four-game split with Boston in this weekend series, and gave the Tigers a 2-5 record on this seven-game homestand.

They couldn’t afford another loss.

“It was a big game,” winning pitcher Justin Verlander said. “Obviously, coming down the stretch here, every game's a big game, especially against teams you're trying to catch. Big split.

“In the big picture of things, we've played these guys well this year and they're a really good ball club. We're a really good ball club (and) to still be able to come away with a split, today was big.”

Around the horn

Mike Pelfrey (lower back strain) was scheduled to throw Sunday – and if he felt fine - could throw a simulated game Wednesday in Minnesota.

…Victor Martinez was given the day off Sunday after the late game the night before. Miguel Cabrera was the DH Sunday, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia playing first base.

On deck: Twins

Series. Three games, Target Field, Minnesota.

First pitch: 8:10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. Thursday.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1.

Series probables: Tuesday – RHP Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 5.94) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (5-7, 4.90); Wednesday – LHP Matt Boyd (4-2, 3.93) vs. RHP Tyler Duffey (8-9, 5.93); Thursday – LHP Daniel Norris (1-2, 3.81) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (2-3, 9.28).

Scouting report

Sanchez, Tigers: Two of his last three starts have been outstanding, including take a no-hitter into the seventh inning Wednesday against Kansas City.  Sanchez has allowed one or none runs in three of his last four starts. But in the other, he gave up eight runs.

Gibson, Twins: Pitched a complete game victory Wednesday over Atlanta, allowing eight hits and three runs in a 10-3 victory over the Braves. Gibson has been a roll lately, winning five of his last six decisions.