Detroit — Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire insists he's not protecting left-handed hitting Christin Stewart. The rookie left fielder was given the night off Tuesday with Astros starting lefty Wade Miley.
"I don't think I have to protect him," Gardenhire said. "I've seen him get after left-handers just like he does right-handers. If he's up there with a bat, he's dangerous."
The reality is, between his stint on the injured list and the fact the Tigers haven't faced many left-handed starters, nobody really knows yet how well he can or will hit lefties.
He's 0-for-5 against them this season and was 2 for 10 in his September call-up last year.
"He's played a lot of games here lately and if I'm going to give him a break, today would be the day against a left-handed pitcher," Gardenhire said. "Not that he can't hit them. I think he can hit anything. But if you're going to give him a night off, it's going to be against a lefty."
Zimmermann, Ross updates
Tyson Ross, who is on the injured list with ulnar neuritis, was expected to leave the team Tuesday to be examined by two different doctors. One was Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis, who performed thoracic outlet surgery on Ross in 2016.
"He's getting checked out and we'll find out what's going on," Gardenhire said. "He's seeing two different doctors in two different parts of the country to get their opinions and try to figure out the best way to alleviate the pressure."
Jordan Zimmermann, who is out with an ulnar strain, did cardio work Tuesday but did not throw. He is still feeling discomfort when he throws, even lightly .
"I'm just going by what the trainers tell me, but it's not going to be two weeks," Gardenhire said. "He's the only one who will be able to tell us when he's feeling good, when he's comfortable letting it fly."
Gardenhire guessed that it could be another two or three weeks before he'll be able to test the arm off a mound.
"It's a slow process," he said. "You can't really push it if there's still pain. Once he gets off the mound and starts throwing off the mound lightly, then we'll know a little more. But it's going to take time."
Astros at Tigers
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Comerica Park, Detroit
TV/radio: FSD/97.1 FM
RHP Justin Verlander (6-1, 2.51), Astros: Just keeps steamrolling along. Here’s where he ranks in the American League: first in WHIP (0.82), tied for second in wins (six), second in WAR (1.9), third in strikeouts (68), fourth in ERA (2.51). This will be his second start at Comerica in an Astros uniform.
LHP Gregory Soto (0-1, 15.75) Tigers: Soto was called back up after the game Tuesday. He gave up seven runs on nine hits in his big-league debut against the Twins Saturday. He will be working on short rest and will be backed up by long reliever Nick Ramirez.