Detroit — The clubhouse stayed closed for about 30 extra minutes before Friday's game against the Blue Jays, which usually means roster shuffling.
And there was.
■ Miguel Cabrera was activated off the disabled list and in the starting lineup for the first time since May 3.
■ Utility infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment.
■ Right-handed relief pitcher Zac Reininger was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to replace left-hander Ryan Carpenter, who went on the DL with an oblique strain.
A more surprising development, though, was not on the transaction list. Second baseman Dixon Machado was not in the starting lineup again Friday. He’s started just three of the last eight games.
Which begged the question: Is Machado was still the Tigers' everyday second baseman? Apparently not.
“To say he’s the starting second baseman, he’s just another one of the guys on the team,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re going to use him in a lot of different roles. He’s still working on his swing. I am going to get him in as much as I can.”
For now, Gardenhire said he would rotate Machado with Niko Goodrum and Ronny Rodriguez (who started Friday) at second base — in effect, a platoon of three utility infielders — and try to ride the hot bat.
“We’re going to play them all,” Gardenhire said. “Machado will play most of the time, probably. But we’re going to play them according to how they are doing. We brought Rodriguez up for a reason, because he’s swinging the bat really good. We’re going to play him out there a lot.”
Machado is hitting .209, with a .263 on-base percentage and .291 slugging percentage. He is in the process of changing his swing, working with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon to level his swing plane in an effort to hit fewer fly balls and use the entire field.
Gardenhire said he has instructed Machado to start taking ground balls at shortstop, too, something he was discouraged from doing throughout spring training after the Tigers committed to him as their starting second baseman.
“Machie is going to do some of that (playing shortstop and possibly some third base if needed),” Gardenhire said. “We’re going to move him around some.”
Never let it be said that Gardenhire doesn’t adhere to analytics.
He said before Friday's game that, against left-handed starting pitchers, he would hit switch-hitter Jeimer Candelario in the leadoff spot and move left-handed hitting Leonys Martin down in the order.
“I moved Candy to the top because of his on-base percentage (.367),” Gardenhire said. “I like him in RBI spots, to tell you the truth...I love (Martin) at the top and I will put him back up there against right-handers and get Candy back in RBI situations.
“But we’re going with some of the stuff I get from the computer, from those guys upstairs (analytics department). And I’ve been putting my mind to some of it, too. There are things I know I’ve got to do to.”
Nick Castellanos, Cabrera and Victor Martinez are going to remain in the 2-3-4 spots.
“I feel good about (the lineup),” Gardenhire said. “We’ve got Goody (Goodrum) on the bench. I’d like to keep him in there (starting) because he’s been swinging it well, but he didn’t make it in today. (John) Hicks has to get at-bats, too, and not just as the backup catcher.”
Gardenhire is loath to use both his catchers at the same time because there is no emergency catcher. But if Hicks is going to get enough at-bats, he’s going to have to.
“I hate to do it, but he will have to get some at-bats at DH when James McCann catches,” Gardenhire said. “The way Hicks is swinging, that’s only fair to our ball club to do that — dangerous but fair.”
Injured pitchers Jordan Zimmermann (shoulder impingement) and Alex Wilson (plantar fasciitis) both threw simulated games Friday.
“They were very simulated,” Gardenhire joked. “But both were healthy. Both looked fine.”
Zimmermann threw 60 pitches over four innings.
“I don’t know what my velocity was, but everything went well,” Zimmermann said. “The ball was coming out good, the off-speed was good. I think I am going to go out on one more rehab assignment and I should be ready.”
Zimmermann is expected to make a start at Triple-A Toledo Wednesday.
For Wilson, his outing was more about fielding his position. He threw three innings and had no problem getting off the mound to field bunts or cover first base.
He is scheduled to start his rehab assignment on Tuesday.
With Carpenter going on the DL, the Tigers are going to need to call-up or add another starting pitcher, or two.
Gardenhire said they would bring up a starting pitcher for the doubleheader against the Yankees Monday. They could use Artie Lewicki, who has been pitching effectively in long relief, to start one of the games and then add another starter before the game Tuesday in Boston — which would have been Carpenter’s start.
The Tigers have an open spot on their 40-man roster. Drew VerHagen, who has pitched well in a starting role at Toledo, could be an option.
“I’m just worried about one game for now,” Gardenhire said. “I can’t even go forward. We definitely have to have somebody for the rotation for the doubleheader. We will make that move accordingly, when we get there.”