Toronto — Never, perhaps, have the Tigers been as relieved that their Triple A affiliate at Toledo is so conveniently located.
An hour from Detroit. A short flight from Toronto. An easy plane ride, or even a drive, from Chicago.
The Tigers continued a flurry of two-day roster shuffles Monday when, after a 10-inning, 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, they returned catcher Grayson Greiner to the Mud Hens and called in outfielder Jim Adduci, who was with the Tigers for 29 games in 2017.
They earlier had put Shane Greene on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, hours after outfielder Leonys Martin had hit the DL with a bad hamstring. Daniel Stumpf and Mikie Mahtook were summoned from Toledo as roster replacements.
Miguel Cabrera was pushed to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Adduci on the Tigers' 40-man roster.
The move to Adduci was designed to bring offense and flexibility to a lineup craving both.
"More options at first base," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said, explaining that Adduci has been playing occasional first base for the Mud Hens, as well as working in the outfield.
"He's been playing really well down there."
Adduci, 33, is a left-handed batter who hit .309 in 70 games for the Mud Hens, with seven home runs and an .832 OPS.
"I loved him in spring training," Gardenhire said. "He's got big-league experience and he's a good player."
With the option of using Adduci at first, Gardenhire now has only two catchers: James McCann and John Hicks.
Hicks could be moving closer to regular work. McCann was 0-for-4 on Monday as his batting average slipped to .226. His OPS is an alarming .592.
Greene's trip to the DL was a surprise, except, perhaps, to him. The Tigers closer had been dealing with the usual discomfort, hardly uncommon to big-leaguers who tend to play with less than optimum comfort.
But when his fastball velocity dropped in Sunday's game, and when shoulder pain suggested something deeper was at work, he decided a line had been crossed.
Asked when he knew it was more serious, Greene said:
"It's tough to say. As a relief pitcher, you very rarely feel 100 percent. And after Opening Day you can say goodbye to 100 percent."
Greene said there was a risk beyond any physical gamble in not leveling with his bosses.
"I know myself well enough to know that if I hadn't said anything I wouldn't have said anything (after any bad follow-up appearances).
"I'm not going to make excuses."
Joe Jimenez will work as the new Tigers closer. Jimenez had the dubious distinction Monday, as well as the consolation, of getting a victory as well as responsibility for a blown save. The Tigers scored their winning run in the 10th after Jimenez had pitched a one-run ninth.
Blaine Hardy is back as a reliever. And that's just fine with a man who is something of a sacred pitching vagabond for the Tigers.
He starts. He relieves. He spends time in Toledo. He appears on waiver wires.
And he somehow always seems to find himself back with the Tigers, pitching niftily, as he did Monday after coming aboard in the 10th, with a man on first base and none out in a game in which the Tigers had just taken a 3-2 lead.
Hardy was met with a sacrifice bunt from Curtis Granderson, which sent leadoff batter Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to second. Hardy then struck out right-handed hitting Randal Grichuk. He wrapped up his first save of 2018 by getting Devon Travis on a ground-out to second.
"I wondered how long it would take to get my feet wet," said Hardy, who had pitched well in the Tigers rotation before he returned to his old specialty, bullpen pitching. "Apparently, it didn't take long."
The Tigers have now gone from zero left-handers in their relief corps to two. Daniel Stumpf, who had been on the disabled list, has also reported to work after a rehab stint with the Mud Hens.
On deck: Cubs
Series: Two games, today-Wednesday, Wrigley Field, Chicago
First pitch: Both games at 2:20
TV/radio: Both games on FSD/97.1
Today — RHP Michael Fulmer (3-7, 4.20) vs. RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-8, 4.21); Wednesday — LHP Francisco Liriano (3-4, 3.99) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (6-6, 4.31)
Fulmer, Tigers: It’s been a rough season for the 2016 American League rookie of the year, but he’s coming off his first eight-inning start since Opening Day. His ERA his last four starts is 2.93, and during that span, opponents have hit only .229 against him.
Hendricks, Cubs: He’s eager to put an ugly June behind him, as his ERA was 7.03 during five starts last month. His last time out was particularly ugly, as he lasted just 2.2 innings while allowing six runs to the Dodgers.