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Castellanos could be back by the end of the week

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers could be getting their third baseman back, perhaps before the end of the four-game series against the Cleveland Indians that begins Monday.

Nick Castellanos played in his first Instructional League game in Florida Monday. He went 1 for 3 in a rain-shortened, 3 1/3 inning game. He also played the field and made a couple of defensive plays.

He was initially scheduled to play in games Monday and Wednesday, but the Tigers’ Instructional League team is off Wednesday.

“He’s going to play in an intra-squad game tomorrow, a six-inning intra-squad,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “So I imagine for one of the two teams, he’ll hit, lead off every inning, get six at-bats, play six innings in the field.

“So, if everything goes well tomorrow, we’ll make a decision on what we’re going to do.”

Asked if Castellanos could rejoin the team for the season-ending series in Atlanta this weekend, he said, “There’s a possibility he could be back before that.”

Castellanos has been out since he broke his left hand on Aug. 6. Before the injury, he was having a career season, hitting .286 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs.

Maybin better?

Cameron Maybin has been fighting through a damaged left thumb for the better part of two months now. He went through a 10-game stretch from Aug. 27 through Sept. 12 when he hit .194 with just two extra-base hits in 10 games.

In 11 games since, he’s hit .400 with a 1.116 OPS, three doubles, three triples and a home run.

Ausmus said he hadn’t received any cortisone in the thumb, just daily physical therapy.

“Other than one at-bat (Sunday), he hasn’t been really showing any signs of it bothering him,” Ausmus said. “That doesn’t mean it’s not, occasionally. Certain swings, it grabs him. But he hasn’t mentioned it.

“We gave him that second game off in the doubleheader (in Minnesota). I haven’t really seen or heard much that would indicate it was a problem.”

Maybin was furious at home plate umpire Dan Iassogna after he was called out on strikes in the ninth inning. He continued to holler from the dugout when Iassogna refused to consult with the third-base umpire on a checked swing against Miguel Cabrera.

Iassogna ejected Maybin at that point.

“I think it was probably a combo platter,” Ausmus said when asked which call Maybin was beefing about.

Ryan ready

The Tigers have another left-handed pitcher available in the bullpen — which is significant against a heavy left-handed lineup like the Indians.

Kyle Ryan, who has been dealing with a rib issue in his upper back, was cleared to play Monday.

He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 15. He’s had to have the rib, which is near the scapula bone, popped back into place twice.

Blaine Hardy had assumed Ryan’s role as both a long reliever and early left-hander out of the bullpen.

Around the horn

Ausmus reiterated Monday that Jordan Zimmermann is under consideration for a start in one of the games in Atlanta. “I thought he looked better,” he said. “It ended up being the silver lining of yesterday’s game that we were able to get him live action, to see how hitters react to his pitchers. We’ll see how Buck (Farmer) goes, but he’s certainly in consideration to make a start.”

… Asked about his team’s 2-13 record against the Indians this season, Ausmus said, “The only thing I’m concerned about is that it’s 6-13 after this series is over. Can’t do anything about the past, so try to do something about the future.”

… The Tigers-Indians game Wednesday is being picked up by ESPN. It will also be broadcast on FSD and still start at 7:10 p.m.

… Justin Upton and the Indians’ Carlos Santana were named co-players of the week in the American League. Upton hit .400 with three doubles, three home runs and six RBIs in six games last week.

Twitter.com: @cmccosky