Gardenhire: If you want players to heal quickly, send them to Florida for rehab

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Boston — The visitor’s clubhouse at Fenway Park has been renovated, somewhat. There is an illusion of it being more spacious. Still, only the clubhouse at Wrigley Field is smaller.

Which meant one of Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire’s pet peeves got solved. The players who are on the disabled list did not travel with the club to Boston.

“Could you imagine if all those guys were in this clubhouse,” he said. “My coaches are already in the hallway. There aren’t enough lockers as it is. It’s really tight in here. But it’s better anyway. The trainers here need to take care of the guys who are playing.

“The rehab guys should be getting their work done in Detroit.”

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Pitchers Alex Wilson, who did join the team here Wednesday, and Jordan Zimmermann both pitched rehab outings at Triple-A Toledo. Ryan Carpenter, Francisco Liriano and Daniel Stumpf also stayed back.

When Gardenhire managed the Twins, they would send injured players back to their spring training facility in Florida.

“Sending them down there, they get better real quick, I will tell you that,” he said. “They hated being down there. It was hot. They actually had to go on those fields. They got better. We sent Jim Thome down there and he called me after about a week and said, ‘Gardy, I feel great. Can you get me out of here?’”

Wilson on hold?

Wilson threw 26 pitches in his rehab outing on Tuesday. The Tigers wanted to give him one day to recover and test his foot (plantar fasciitis). Gardenhire thought maybe he could be activated on Thursday.

“We’ll see,” he said. “Talking to the bosses, they think Friday will be better. We’ll see what happens. We have to see how tonight goes. That could dictate a lot.”

The Tigers went into the game Wednesday without a long reliever. Neither Artie Lewicki nor Drew VerHagen were available. Warwick Saupold threw 35 pitches Tuesday and Buck Farmer pitched an inning.

“We’ve missed Willie,” Gardenhire said. “He’s got a rubber arm and can eat up multiple innings. Plus, he’s been there and done it. He’s a big arm for us. He’s one of those guys I have trust in. I trust he’s going to throw it over the plate.”

Daniel Norris update

Gardenhire reported that left-hander Daniel Norris, who had surgery on his groin in April, began doing some light throwing Tuesday.

“He was really sore at first after the surgery but he’s starting to feel good,” Gardenhire said. “He’s able to move around a little bit and play catch. So, he’s moving forward and that’s good. He’s got that initial soreness out. Now we have to let the scar heal and then it’s let him do what he can.”

Norris was moved to the 60-day disabled list at the end of April.

Around the horn 

Third baseman Jeimer Candelario (finger) was available to pinch-hit Wednesday, but Gardenhire wanted to give him one more day to heal. “I can’t put him out there and have him come out of the ballgame,” he said. A ground ball hit with an exit velocity of 104 mph by J.D. Martinez jammed the middle finger on Candelario’s throwing hand.

…The Tigers signed two veteran pitchers to minor-league contracts Wednesday — right-hander Jacob Turner, the Tigers first-round pick in 2009, and left-hander Hunter Cervenka, who was pitching with the independent league Sugar Land (Texas) of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Turner has been through five organizations since he was traded by the Tigers in the Anibal Sanchez deal. Cervenka has big-league time with the Red Sox, Braves, Cubs and Marlins.

... Zimmermann, on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement, threw 72 pitches and 50 strikes over 4⅓ innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Toledo. He allowed a run on three hits. He walked two and struck out five. 


First pitch: 7:10 p.m., Thursday

TV/radio: FSD, ESPN/97.1

Scouting report:

LHP Jalen Beeks (0-0, 0.00): This will be his Major League debut. He’s subbing for Drew Pomeranz, who went on the DL Tuesday. He’s the No. 11 prospect in the Red Sox organization and was 3-3, with a 2.56 ERA, 80 strikeouts in 56.1 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.

LHP Matthew Boyd (3-4, 3.23), Tigers: He’s holding hitters to a .207 batting average, which is ninth-best in the American League. He soldiered through seven innings, allowing four runs, against the Blue Jays in his last start. He’s three runs or less in eight of his 11 starts this season.