Detroit — If you were watching the Fox Sports Detroit broadcast of the Tigers’ three-homer inning on Thursday, you saw Niko Goodrum greeting each home run hitter like a waiter in a fancy hotel, with a towel over his arm and a bottle of iced tea in the other.
Nick Castellanos and Mikie Mahtook, both politely dabbed themselves with the towel, took a drink and thanked him. Ronny Rodriguez, however, after his first big-league homer, took the water and bolted — not offering a thank you or a tip.
“Yeah, he just grabbed the tea and took it with him,” Goodrum said. “I was like, ‘Hey, I need that back.’ We have a good time.”
Goodrum explained how he came to be serving tea to home run hitters.
“Me, Nick and JaCoby (Jones) made it up,” he said. “I had a towel with me because it was hot. And I had a drink. So I thought, ‘All right, we get a homer, I’m going to serve the tea.’”
Since Rodriguez lowered his hands in his batting stance, he had hit safely in eight straight games before striking out in a pinch-hitting role Friday. He’s 9-for-28 in those nine games.
He used to stand in the box holding his bat straight up over his head. He was having trouble dropping his hands and then reacting to the pitch.
“I was trying it in the cage and (hitting coach Lloyd) McClendon said, ‘You look good like that, why don’t you try it at the plate?’” Rodriguez said. “I tried it during the Minnesota series and I can see the progress…It helps me be early (to the ball) and see pitches better.
“This game is about making adjustments. I want to stay here, so I have to keep working and get better.”
Around the horn
How hot is Castellanos these days? On Friday he posted his 43nd multi-hit game and is hitting .418 with four doubles, three homers and 14 RBIs in his last 11 games.
...The back end of the bullpen got hit hard in the eighth inning Friday, but the middle relief was stellar. Victor Alcantara, coming off a four-run bludgeoning by the Cubs on Wednesday, got four straight outs.
Lefty Daniel Stumpf struck out two of the three hitters he faced in a clean seventh inning — both left-handed hitters. Stumpf has not allowed a run or a hit in 4.1 innings since being recalled from Triple-A Toledo.
... According to reports out of Toledo, Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris, out since April with a groin injury, will make a rehab start for the Mud Hens in Toledo on Sunday. He has made his two previous rehab outings in the Gulf Coast League in Florida.
White Sox at Tigers
First pitch: 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Comerica Park, Detroit
RHP Lucas Giolito (9-9, 6.08), White Sox: This will be his fourth start against the Tigers. The others haven’t gone all that well. He has allowed 13 runs and 18 hits in 17 innings against the Detroit this season.
LHP Ryan Carpenter (1-1, 6.00), Tigers: He returned to the Tigers rotation after a two-month stint on the DL and earned his first big-league win at Minnesota. He gave up three solo homers in that game, but that was all the damage in 5.1 innings. The slider is his best pitch — opponents hitting .222 off it.