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Chicago — Gordon Beckham had lunch on Friday with his agent, and it was suggested that they should’ve maybe presented him with a card to commemorate him reaching the 1,000-game milestone.

“Well, yeah,” Beckham said. “I guess.”

A card? Beckham on Sunday became the 78th active player to reach the 1,000-game plateau.  A card doesn’t quite match the accomplishment.

“Yeah, maybe something a little more shiny,” he said, laughing.

Reaching 1,000 games had to be far, far off his radar as he was bouncing from franchise to franchise the last three seasons. It probably seemed flat-out unreachable when he was spending most of time in Triple-A the last two.

“I think it’s kind of crazy,” he said. “It’s a good accomplishment. I think it shows a kind of resiliency. You do it, you do it well, you do it not so well, you kind of bounce around — but you just continue to show up and answer the bell.

“You survive. It’s pretty cool.”

Over the span of 11 years, he went from hot-shot prospect and foundation piece to a flame-out. Then to a journeyman utility player and now, to a successful reclamation project. He’s been a key contributor for the Tigers, especially with shortstop Jordy Mercer on the injured list.

But it’s fitting that he played  his 1,000th game here in the ballpark where he made his big-league debut and spent the first seven years of his career. 

“I have more fun now,” Beckham said. “Maybe not more fun than I had when I was rookie. I had more fun then. But, when it started to go south, I have more fun now than I did.”

Hardy an opener?

With Jordan Zimmermann on the injured list, the Tigers are presently operating with a four-man rotation. Left-hander Ryan Carpenter, who was scheduled to start Saturday before the snow fell, was sent back to Triple-A Toledo.

“He needs to pitch and they (Mud Hens) need pitching, too,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I can see that. They’re playing football games down there.”

The Tigers won’t need a fifth starter until they play a make-up doubleheader in Minnesota on May 11. On that day they will need a fifth and sixth starter, so Carpenter could be back up for that.

In the meantime, the Tigers are searching for longer-term options, and the first name that came up was Blaine Hardy.

“He might be our best option, but he’s hurt,” Gardenhire said. “How do you stretch a guy out when he’s coming off the injured list?”

Hardy, who went on the injured list Tuesday with a forearm strain, is eligible to come off Tuesday. He was expected to resume throwing Monday in Philadelphia. There is a chance that if he’s healthy, he could get stretched out to three to five innings with two rehab starts.

“That means we could use him more like an opener,” Gardenhire said. “We did talk about using him in that role and start to stretch him out that way — as an opener. But then what do you do with the rest of the bullpen?

“It’s a screwy situation right now. But we’re talking about it.”

Also clouding the decision is the uncertainty over how long Zimmermann will be out. They might have a better idea on that in a week when the swelling is out of his elbow and he starts his rehab process.

The best-case timetable for Zimmermann initially was three-to-four weeks.

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Peterson back to Toledo

With Mercer (quad strain) expected to return from the injured list Tuesday, the Tigers sent outfielder Dustin Peterson back to Triple-A Toledo after the game Sunday.

"He needs to go get at-bats and I want him to get a little more in-tune with first base like we started in spring training," Gardenhire said. "That's easier to do down there. He doesn't need to be sitting here. 

"I like that kid a lot. It's disappointing to send him out. But I want him to get at-bats and play first base for a few days before we can make this adjustment."

Peterson hit .227 in 17 games. 

Painful out

White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected in the third inning for arguing an interference call against Jose Abreu. Abreu had struck out, but the ball got past catcher Grayson Greiner. Greiner’s throw to first hit Abreu in the back.

First-base umpire Jeff Nelson called Abreu on for interference — claiming, correctly according to video replay — that Abreu was running in fair territory.

Renteria got his money's worth, with an animated protest with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo and then Nelson. 

Around the horn

… Left-fielder Christin Stewart (quad strain) was scheduled to fly to Lakeland on Sunday and begin his rehab process. Gardenhire said he was not quite ready to play in the field every day. “But we’ll get him to the good weather where he can shag some balls and get his swings,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to need plenty of them before he can come back.”

...The Tigers scratched second baseman Josh Harrison before the game. He's still dealing with left shoulder soreness caused by a couple of diving plays he made over the past week. The most recent was on Friday, when he dived to his right and flipped the ball with his glove to get a force out.

… The Tigers will start Tyson Ross and Spencer Turnbull on Tuesday and Wednesday in Philadelphia.

.. .White Sox rookie Eloy Jimenez, who sustained a high-ankle sprain crashing into the fence on Friday night, was placed on the injured list. 

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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