Tigers sparkplug Maybin misses fifth straight game

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Cameron Maybin

Kansas City, Mo. – Cameron Maybin saw a group of reporters congregating at his locker and went the other way.

“Tired of talking about it, Cam?” he was asked.

“Yeah, man, I am,” he said. “I’m not in the lineup. Again.”

Maybin missed his fifth straight game Sunday after he aggravated his sprained left thumb on a head-first slide into second base last Monday. He has not been able to hit without discomfort.

“He could be back tomorrow, or he could be back never,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “I can’t give you an answer. I can’t give a timeframe. I do not know.”

Shutting Maybin down for the rest of the season has not been discussed, said Ausmus, who is just as tired of answering questions about the injury as Maybin is. The MRI taken after he re-injured it came back negative. But the swelling and the soreness persist.

Tyler Collins made his second straight start in center field Sunday.

The Tigers are 44-26 in games Maybin has played this season.

Hit-and-run

It’s called the fallacy of a pre-determined outcome.

It’s false to say that it cost the Tigers a run Saturday when Ian Kinsler was thrown out on a hit-and-run attempt in the fifth inning. Yes, Jose Iglesias followed with a double, but that was independent of the decision to send Kinsler.

Pelfrey and Zimmermann set to return, rotation again in flux

To attempt a hit-and-run with Kinsler at first and Iglesias at the plate, with the Tigers down 2-1, made good baseball sense.

“We hadn’t done anything against (Royals pitcher Yordano) Ventura,” Ausmus said. “That was really it. Iggy is as good as there is in the game at putting the bat on the ball. It was a little risky because Ventura wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes.

“But my thought was we hadn’t done anything against this guy in two years. So let’s see if we can get something going.”

The best laid plans …

“Unfortunately, he threw a 57-foot curve ball,” Ausmus said. “And unfortunately (catcher) Salvador Perez was able to pick it clean. It didn’t really go our way.”

And to add insult to injury, Iglesias doubled and the Tigers loaded the bases after that out – and did not score.

Around the horn

Andrew Romine started at third base for the second straight game Sunday. Erick Aybar is dealing with abdominal soreness.

… Right-hander Bruce Rondon pitched another scoreless inning Saturday. That’s 12 scoreless innings in his last 13 outings. “I think he’s in a better frame of mind, which is making him pitch better,” Ausmus said. “He’s doing a better job of holding runners. He’s more aware of what’s going on around him. His preparation and attitude are much better.”

ON DECK: WHITE SOX

Series: Three game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

First pitch: 4:10 p.m. Monday; 8:10 p.m. Tuesday; 2:10 p.m. Wednesday.

TV/radio: Monday-Wednesday -- FSD, 97.1.

Probables: Monday – LHP Chris Sale (15-7, 3.10) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (14-7, 3.30); Tuesday – LHP Matt Boyd (5-2, 4.00) vs. TBA; Wednesday – RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.70) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (11-10, 3.05).

Sale, White Sox: He pitched eight strong innings five days ago at Comerica Park, allowing two runs over eight innings. He did walk four but got three double-play balls to minimize damage. He’s 8-3 at home with a 3.89 ERA. Fourteen of the 19 homers he’s allowed have been at U.S. Cellular.

Verlander, Tigers: He’s on a run of 10 straight quality starts. In the matchup with Sale last week, he gave up just three hits and two runs with nine strikeouts over seven innings. The only damage was back-to-back homers by Jose Abreu and Alex Avila. He’s pitched his way into the Cy Young conversation.