Arlington, Texas — Manager Ron Gardenhire said he was going to have a talk with his shortstop before the Tigers played the Texas Rangers Monday night. There were a couple of things the two needed to sort out.
The Tigers gave up two uncontested bases in the third inning against the Royals Sunday — both runners scored in a pivotal three-run inning. While the Tigers were shifted, third base was left uncovered and Whit Merrifield stole it clean.
On the next pitch, Jorge Soler stole second the same way — without a play.
After the game, shortstop Jose Iglesias admitted to some confusion about how the coaching staff expected him and third baseman Niko Goodrum to play in those situations.
“There’s nothing we could do,” he said. “Niko couldn’t get to third base playing in the shift. I was playing the shift, too. … If the coaching staff is not happy about it, we’ve got to figure it out. As a defender, you can’t cover both spots.”
Iglesias also said — and this is what irked Gardenhire — that he might have been able to get to the bag for a play on Soler. But he said it would have been risky. He would have been running full speed toward a sliding runner, and pitcher Matthew Boyd would have to hit him on the run.
“You can still try to get someplace, right?” Gardenhire said. “You are going to sit there and say you couldn’t at least try to run over there? ‘I would’ve had to get there on the run?’ That’s baseball.
“Yes, we will have that conversation. Don’t give me (BS). Just try to get there. That’s all we want to see. Just the effort of trying to get there. You still have to try.”
The larger issue, though, is getting the defenders to understand that the positioning charts aren’t hard and fast. You aren’t cemented in those spots and sometimes the situation of the game, or the pitch, dictate an adjustment.
“We will have that talk,” Gardenhire said. “Yes, we put you in situations, but in baseball you have to ad-lib every once in a while. You have to realize, hey, this guy might steal third. I am going to move over (toward third base) rather than going the other way.
“We put you some place, but if you have to get to the bag, you have a job to do. You have to get to the bag.”
Miguel Cabrera, who went on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain on May 4, did some light running Monday. He jogged along the warning track at Globe Life Park, from the left field corner to the right field corner and back.
“He’s getting anxious, I can tell you that,” Gardenhire said. “It was the first time he got out there. He’s been in treatment every day, doing everything they ask during games and all that. He’s feeling pretty goosy. But we have to be careful.
“I had a history of hamstrings and just when you think that you can do everything and run, something happens."
The only true test, Gardenhire said, is live game action.
“Adrenaline is a difference-maker,” he said. “When you run under controlled conditions, everything is fine. When the adrenaline hits you — you hit a ball and take off and that explosion hits — that’s when your hammy will tell you if you’re ready or not.”
Cabrera would be eligible to come off the DL next Monday. He came in Monday joking to Gardenhire about a rehab stint.
“He said, ‘Toledo,’ ” Gardenhire said. “He told me he was going to Toledo. I said, ‘If you go, I go.’ ”
Bart in the D?
The Tigers will face beloved veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon on Wednesday. Colon was among the free agents the Tigers had considered this offseason before signing Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano.
“His name did come up,” Gardenhire said. “I gave him the information that (coach) Joe Vavra gave me. Joe was with him in Minnesota last year and said he was wonderful. I said if there was a thought about it, I would be more than willing to say he could come in and help us. Absolutely.”
Vavra told Gardenhire that Colon’s clubhouse presence would be invaluable to a young staff.
“Joe talked about how all the players just rallied around him,” Gardenhire said. “They’d sit around and listen to him. He brings so much to the table, not to mention that he’s 44 and he can still throw that 88-mph fastball by people.
“He’s a great teammate and he can still pitch.”
Nick Castellanos (flu) and Jeimer Candelario (thumb) were back in the lineup Monday.