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Iglesias could return on Thursday, others close

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Tigers are likely to get their shortstop back on Thursday.

Manager Brad Ausmus said before the game Tuesday that Jose Iglesias, on the seven-day concussion protocol, had been cleared for baseball activities. He took batting practice and fielded ground balls before the game.

“He’ll be eligible to come off Thursday,” Ausmus said. “Unless he has a bad reaction to baseball activity.”

Ausmus offered some encouraging updates on Miguel Cabrera (groin) and J.D. Martinez (foot), as well.

“Miggy said he feels real good today,” he said. “I don’t know when he will start hitting on the field, but he will work out today and ride the bike. My guess is, it will be just the 10 days.”

If so, Cabrera could be back May 2, in time to play in three of the four games against the Indians.

As for Martinez, Ausmus said the outfielder ran outdoors Monday.

“He said it was the best he’s felt,” Ausmus said.

Still, Martinez has yet to do any outfield work, other than throw, and he hasn’t taken live batting practice. Ausmus said it hasn’t been determined when he will begin playing in extended spring training games.

“We’re just waiting until he tells me he can play at this point,” Ausmus said. “He can progress as quickly as he can deal with any soreness. So it’s kind of on him right now.”

JaCoby Jones (lip laceration) is also eligible to come off the DL May 2. But Ausmus said Jones will probably be sent on a rehab assignment, most likely to Toledo.

“Probably just so he can get back in the (batter’s box),” he said. “When you get hit in the head or mouth, it’s different than when you get hit in the thigh, just from a mental perspective.”

Ausmus said Jones’ offensive struggles before he took a pitch in the mouth on Saturday were not a factor in his needing a rehab stint.

“It’s just about getting him back it in the box,” he said.

Hockey player

If you saw how Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd reacted Saturday when Twins Miguel Sano took a few menacing steps toward him, you’d know he played hockey as a kid.

Boyd threw a pitch waist high and behind Sano. Sano started walking toward Boyd, pointing his finger at him. Boyd immediately threw down his glove — hockey style, with both hands, like he had two gloves on — and told Sano to bring it.

If he’d been wearing a helmet, he’d have shed that, too.

Birthday boy Norris eager to get back on track

“I don’t know about that,” Boyd said, laughing.

Boyd played hockey through his high school years and was primarily a defenseman. One of his thrills growing up was skating with former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios.

“I got into quite a few fights,” he said. “I was the point man, so I was always charging to the net and clearing things out.”

He didn’t win all of his battles.

“I got hit with a (goalie’s) blocker one time,” he said. “I was playing wing that time and I rushed the net. I thought it was a loose puck and I stuck my stick right in there. The goalie put a glove on it, but I was kind of digging at it.

“The whistle blew and the D-man was shoving me out and I was giving it back to him. All of a sudden, whack, I got a blocker right in the jaw. Those things are hard.”

He was dazed for a minute, but he got the last laugh.

“The goalie got a major penalty, so at least I drew a penalty,” he said.

Around the horn

Tigers catchers James McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia combined for 24 home runs last season — 12 each. McCann and Avila are on a hotter pace this year. They have combined to hit seven home runs, the most among catcher tandems in baseball. .

Twitter @cmccosky