Detroit — The incident is over, if you can even call it an incident.
“It’s not going to be an issue, I promise you,” manager Brad Ausmus said before the game Thursday.
Ausmus said he talked to Nick Castellanos after the game Wednesday night. Castellanos, piqued by being lifted for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 4-0 game Wednesday, slammed his helmet in the dugout. It ricocheted and nicked Miguel Cabrera.
“Players throw helmets almost on a daily basis,” Ausmus said. “I don’t want him to be happy about being taken out of the game. I don’t want pitchers to be happy about being taken out of the game. I don’t want people to be happy about being pinch-hit for.
“But it’s also part of the game.”
Ausmus explained to Castellanos afterward why he sent Andrew Romine in to pinch-run for him.
“Romine might be our best base runner,” he said. “Nick is not a guy that has to be pinch-run for. But if I am going to replace him defensively, and the guy I am using to replace him defensively is even a marginally better base runner, I might as well take advantage of that.”
Ausmus said he was on the fence about taking Castellanos out for defensive purposes because he felt he’s worked through the mini-defensive slump he had been.
“These guys are competitors,” Ausmus said. “You don’t want them to be complacent and be like, ‘Oh well, ho-hum, they pinch-hit for me.’ You should want the ball in your hand. You should want the bat in your hand.”
James McCann is expected to come off the disabled list before the game Friday.
He caught all nine innings of his final rehab start Wednesday night in Toledo. He also got four hits and knocked in three runs. Three of the hits came off Pirates top prospect Jameson Taillon.
“Felt good,” McCann said. “Facing Taillon, he was giving me a hard time. He said, ‘You’re not supposed to be here right now.’ It was good to see an arm like that in a rehab game.”
The laceration on his left hand, which required five stitches to close, has been reduced to basically an open blister wound. He wears a blister pad under his batting glove without any ill-effects.
“The only time I feel it is when my (catcher’s) glove rubs against it,” McCann said.
McCann doesn’t wear a batting glove inside his catcher’s mitt.
“I wanted to see how it held up and it was good,” McCann said.
John Hicks, most likely, will be returned to Toledo. That was on hold, though, pending the status of Justin Verlander.
Verlander, bothered by a tight right groin, threw a bullpen session before the game. Ausmus was expected to give an update post-game. If Verlander can’t start on Saturday, Hicks may remain with the team a little longer.