Recovering Leonys Martin checks in with former Tigers teammates

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Leonys Martin, who was traded to the Indians last month, Face-timed with manager Ron Gardenhire and former Tiger teammates on Sunday. Martin was released on Monday from the Cleveland Clinic after battling a near-fatal bacterial infection.

Detroit — As the Tigers boarded the bus Sunday at Target Field, manager Ron Gardenhire’s phone started buzzing.

“I open it up and there was Leonys with that big smile,” he said.

Leonys Martin, who on Monday was finally released from the Cleveland Clinic after battling a near-fatal bacterial infection, was Face-timing his former manager.

“He was laying in the hospital still but it was really nice to see him,” Gardenhire said. “Everybody was coming up to say hello, the players and the coaches. It looked like he’d lost a lot of weight but it looked like he was feeling a lot better.

“I told him when we play them and he’s playing again, we’re going to hit him, just drill him,” Gardenhire said with a chuckle. “He said he was happy with that. We are just happy to see him smiling. Same old him.

“He always picks you up and makes you feel better.”

The Tigers traded Martin to the Indians at the trade deadline. 

Lewicki seekssecond opinion

Tigers right-hander Artie Lewicki technically could come off the disabled list on Saturday. But that might be pushing it.

Lewicki, who was shelved with elbow inflammation last Wednesday, will be in New York City Wednesday for a second examination, this one by a specialist he’s known since he was a kid – Yankees orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher Ahmad.

“When I had (bone) spurs in high school, he went in and shaved them out,” Lewicki said. “He’s been in my arm before and he’s been my doctor since I was 13. Plus, he’s the Yankees surgeon and he has a good background.”

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Lewicki is still feeling pain in the back of the elbow, so he is searching for some confirmation that there’s nothing else going on there.

“He’s already seen the film (MRI)," Lewicki said. "He’s just going to go in and examine me. Nothing’s really changed. I am just going for peace of mind. It feels a lot better. It’s not like I am not making progress.

“It’s just still there.”

The back of the Tigers rotation remains in flux. Left-hander Ryan Carpenter, who pitched Sunday, is expected to remain in the rotation for at least one more start. Michael Fulmer, the Tigers’ ace, could return as early as Friday.

Blaine Hardy, on the DL since Aug. 17 with elbow tendinitis, is on pace to return Monday.

Rehab time for Jones

It’s the last thing he wanted, but he understood it was likely part of the deal.

Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Thursday (hamstring strain), will be heading out soon on a three-game rehab stint at Toledo.

“We want to make sure the hamstring and his back are good,” Gardenhire said. “We need to get him some at-bats before he dives back into it up here. That’s the right thing to do for him. We talked to him about it already.”

Jones, who went through a battery of stop-and-go sprint drills with outfield coach Dave Clark here Tuesday, said over the weekend that he felt he was ready to play.

Daniel Norris close

Left-hander Daniel Norris, on the disabled list with a groin injury since April, may finally be released from his Florida exile. He’s been doing his rehab work in Lakeland for nearly four months.

Gardenhire said Norris could make his next rehab start at Toledo.

“He’s doing great,” he said. “He’s up to 70-75 pitches. In a day or two, he will do another bullpen and then make another start moving forward toward maybe getting back here in September.”

The Tigers front office will conduct meetings in the next week or two to determine September call-ups and other roster issues.

“They could bring him back here or they could shut him down for the rest of year, I honestly don’t know,’ Gardenhire said.

Around the horn

Miguel Cabrera, out for the season with a ruptured biceps muscle, has moved his entire rehab set up to Miami, where he lives in the offseason. He had been doing some physical therapy work in Ann Arbor.

... Right-hander Zach McAllister, who the Tigers designated for assignment Saturday night, has cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than going to Toledo.

Cubs at Tigers

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

TV/radio: FSD, 97.1

Scouting report:

LHP Jon Lester (13-5, 3.72), Cubs: His last start was by far his best since the All-Star break, shutting out the Pirates over six innings. The three starts before that, he’d allowed 18 runs (17 earned) and six homers in 13⅔ innings). The Tigers have hit him hard over the years (2-6, 6.05 ERA, 1.8 WHIP, .333 average in 11 starts).

LHP Francisco Liriano (3-8, 4.72), Tigers: He’s looking to shake off his last start in Minnesota, where he faced 13 batters and allowed eight runs (four earned), eight hits and three walks. He hasn’t had a quality start since July 4 and hasn’t gone past six innings since May 20.