Houston — One of the first things Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire did Friday was to call third baseman Jeimer Candelario into his office.
Gardenhire wanted to explain why he’d moved him down to the No. 8 spot in the batting order against Astros’ left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
“I told him, ‘I’m putting you down to eighth and I don’t want you to think anything of it,’” Gardenhire said. “Just go down and relax and quit thinking about everything. Just swing. He said he was starting to feel really good again.”
Since June 1, Candelario is hitting .157 with 44 strikeouts in 147 plate appearances.
He’s struggled hitting right-handed (which he will do against Keuchel) most of the season, hitting .208, nearly 60 points lower than he hits left-handed.
“We are trying to move people around the best we can,” Gardenhire said.
Jose Iglesias (bruised hand) was out of the lineup for the second straight game, though Gardenhire said he would be available if needed later in the game.
“He feels good,” Gardenhire said. “He took some swings today. It’s still sore but there is no bite to it. He will be available if I need him and he will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Ronny Rodriguez got his second straight start at shortstop.
Iglesias has hit Astros pitching very well. In 17 games, he’s slashing .357/.403/.536 against the Astros, with seven doubles, a home run and nine RBIs.
No move for Nick
Gardenhire was asked during his radio show on 97.1 The Ticket about the possibility of Nick Castellanos moving from right field to first base next season. Gardenhire responded to the question, but he made it clear on Friday that moving Castellanos to first base has not been seriously discussed by the coaching staff or front office.
“They talked about Nick,” Gardenhire said. “I didn’t talk about Nick moving to first base. I said we’ve never talked about moving Nick to first base. He’s my right fielder, like I have said all the time. We are still making him a right fielder and we’re hoping he gets better.”
Gardenhire reiterated what he’s said before, Castellanos played third base most of his career, so “he probably could” play first base if it came to that. But that is not in the plans.
Around the horn
Gardenhire said he and pitching coach Rick Anderson kicked around the idea of leaving Joe Jimenez in the closer’s role until the All-Star break. Shane Greene was activated off the disabled list Friday. But they decided to stay with Greene. “It’s his job,” Gardenhire said. “He’s missed 10 days, but he says his arm is great.”
… Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano, who both pitched for the World Series champion Astros last season, will get their rings along with the rest of the Houston team before the game Saturday. Fiers started against his former team for the first time Friday night. Liriano will start against Justin Verlander on Sunday.
…Prospect note: Shortstop Isaac Parades, who is 19, hit his 10th home run for High-A Lakeland on Wednesday. He is the first teenager to reach double-digit home runs in the Florida State League since 2009 when Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Dominguez did it.