Chicago — It was a busy pregame around the Tigers’ clubhouse Friday at Guaranteed Rate Field.
First, the news on Miguel Cabrera’s surgery Thursday was encouraging.
“Everything went fine,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He’s doing really well.”
Cabrera had surgery in New York City to repair a ruptured biceps tendon in his left arm. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek. Cabrera was released from hospital Friday and, as Gardenhire addressed the media in Chicago, was on a flight back to Detroit.
It will take at least six weeks for Cabrera to regain full range of motion. He is expected to do his rehab work in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area.
“I know he’s going to be going back and forth to Ann Arbor,” Gardenhire said. “And I am sure he wants to come around the clubhouse. He told me that before the surgery. He wanted to be around for the guys.”
The expectation is Cabrera will be ready by spring training next February.
While the team flew to Chicago Thursday night, shortstop Jose Iglesias stayed back for a very important reason.
On Friday, he became an official citizen of the United States of America.
“We had talked about it and he sent me a picture — he’s a citizen now, very cool,” Gardenhire said.
Iglesias is a native of Cuba and has been playing professional baseball in the U.S. since 2010. He makes his home in Miami.
He was expected to arrive in Chicago in plenty of time for the game, but he was not in the starting lineup. That was pre-determined when he got the date of the naturalization ceremony.
“We’ve been trying to get him to take a day off for a while,” Gardenhire said. “He’s been going at it.”
Niko Goodrum started at shortstop. Iglesias had started 66 of the Tigers first 70 games.
Pena to manage
The Tigers have named a new manager for their Gulf Coast League West team — longtime catcher and former Tiger Brayan Pena.
The Tigers invited Pena, 36, to big-league camp this spring both to compete for a job perhaps at Toledo and to work with the young catchers in the organization. He was trying to decide whether to make the move to coaching, which the Tigers were encouraging him to do.
“That’s the conversation we had,” said Tigers first base coach Ramon Santiago, who made that decision himself two years ago. “I told him, ‘Make sure you talk to your family and whatever you feel, be sure. Because once you go to the other side, there is no way back.’”
Pena is three months shy of getting to 10 years of big-league service time and a full MLB pension, which is why he kept catching and taking at-bats in extended spring training in Lakeland.
But he can still get those three months — as a big-league coach or manager.
“I played with him in Cincinnati,” Santiago said. “He’s a very smart guy. He’s going to get all the information and he’s going to be a very good manager.”
Stumpf rehab set
Tigers left-hander Daniel Stumpf, on the disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation, will throw a bullpen session in Chicago Sunday and then go on a rehab outing with the Mud Hens on Tuesday.
Gardenhire said he would make at least two rehab outings. And the fact there is no lefty in the Tigers bullpen won’t accelerate the process with Stumpf.
“You try to get by the best you can,” Gardenhire said. “You would like to get a left-hander back, but he has to be throwing it good to be successful. That’s what we have to have with Stumpf. He was struggling and we found out why, because his arm was bothering him and he didn’t say anything.
“We have to get him well. Will two outings be enough? Will two outings tells us if he’s ready to do this or does he need to face more hitters? There are decisions that need to be made.”
Left-handed starter Francisco Liriano (hamstring) will make a rehab start with Toledo on Sunday. He could return to the rotation five days after that. Presumably, that would put lefty Blaine Hardy back into the bullpen.
So, if Stumpf isn’t ready after two rehab starts, the Tigers could keep pitching in Toledo.
Around the horn
The Tigers agreed to terms with six more of their 2018 draft class.
The list of signed players includes LHP Adam Wolf from the University of Louisville (fifth round), CF Avery Tuck from New Mexico Junior College (17th round), RHP Angel Reyes from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (19th round), 3B Zach Malis from Grand Canyon University (24th round), LHP Jared Tobey from Wayne State University (30th round) and 1B Justin Childers from Ohio Dominican University (33rd round).
…The Tigers have now agreed to terms with 21 of their 40 draft picks.