As the roster turns: Tigers lose Turnbull, Harrison; Candelario, Reyes return
Baltimore — And the Tigers’ roster carousel turns again.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario and outfielder Victor Reyes were summoned back from Triple-A Toledo before Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Orioles.
Pitcher Spencer Turnbull, whose grandfather died, was put on three-day bereavement leave. He is expected to rejoin the Tigers in Atlanta and make his next scheduled start on Friday.
In addition, second baseman Josh Harrison was placed on the injured list with a second-degree hamstring strain.
"There is no timetable for his return," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
There was more bad new on shortstop Jordy Mercer Tuesday, too. He was pulled from his rehab game in Toledo after his second at-bat.
"He felt some tightness in his quad," Gardenhire said. "He has a scheduled day off (Wednesday) and his game status will be assessed on Thursday."
Harrison and double-play partner Mercer have only played 12 games together this season.
“And we played pretty good in those games, defensively, catching the ball,” Gardenhire said. “They ran the defense pretty good. When you fill in with utility players like we’ve done, they aren’t as familiar with each other.
“When Jordy was out there, it was pretty clean. But because we’ve had to move so many people around, it’s not clean anymore.”
Mercer was expected to re-join the Tigers next week.
"We had a plan for Mercer," Gardenhire said. "We wanted to let him play in a couple of nine-inning games to see how the leg does. This is obviously a set-back. We just have to hope it's nothing serious, maybe just fatigue."
Candelario was hitting .192 and slugging just .288 when he was sent back to Toledo on May 16. His stay with the Mud Hens, to say the least, was productive.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I put in a lot of work with the guys over there, the hitting coach (Mike Hessman). They helped me a lot."
Candelario was hitting .357 and slugging .667 with an OPS of 1.147 at Toledo. He had hit three home runs, knocked in 13 runs and struck out just six times in 52 plate appearances.
"It's always good to be back in the big leagues, be back with the boys and help the team win,” Candelario said. “It's a blessing."
Candelario said the focus of his work in Toledo was on calming himself down in the batter’s box and trying to put himself in a better position to see pitches.
“Just slowing everything down and control what I can control,” he said. “Try to keep the same routine all of the time. We worked hard on specific things that I need to do to be consistent…It was just little things. I was loading early and trying to do too much.
“Sometimes it's just little things that make a big difference."
It’s hard to imagine the Tigers recalled Candelario just for the three days Turnbull will be gone. He was in the starting lineup Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a walk.
Looking to bunt
The topic was center fielder JaCoby Jones and Gardenhire reiterated his plea for Jones to incorporate the bunt into his offensive arsenal.
“How many times has he bunted? Once?” Gardenhire said. “That’s another weapon. He’s showed it a couple of times, but he hasn’t done it. I’d love to see him push the ball to first base or drag one down third base.
“When he becomes a player, those are the things he should be doing all the time. When he becomes what he potentially could be, it’s there for him. But he’s got to want it.”
Jones does want it. He is constantly looking for situations to use the bunt. They just haven’t been there.
“I don’t mind bunting at all,” he said. “But for the most part, early in the count, teams are playing me in — it’d be an easy out. But it opens up a hole that I can maybe shoot a ground ball through.”
Jones said he doesn’t like to bunt once he has one strike on him. He doesn’t want to put himself in a hole.
“Teams know I can do that, that’s why with no strikes they play me in," he said. "Then they back up."
Jones came up in the ninth inning Monday with runners at first and second. The Tigers were down two runs and he was thinking about dropping a bunt to put the tying runs in scoring position.
“I wanted to do a push bunt down the first-base line because they were shifted way over,” he said. “But they threw the ball outside. They were playing me in, so even if I got a perfect bunt down, they’d get an out at third.
“Yeah, maybe I should bunt more, but I look over there all the time and they are playing me in.”
If Jones keeps hitting the ball like he's been since he changed his stance at the plate, teams will have to drop back at the corners. He rapped a pair of doubles Tuesday and has hit safely in 10 of 14 games, hitting .333 during that stretch.
Around the horn
The Tigers signed first baseman Frank Schwindel to a minor-league contract.
Schwindel, 26, was released by the Royals eight days ago. He was 1-for-15 with the Royals this season and hitting just .186 at Triple-A Omaha. He hit 24 homers at Omaha last season.
Tigers at Orioles
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Camden Yards, Baltimore
LHP John Means (5-4, 2.96), Orioles: A pitch-to-contact lefty with a crafty fastball (92 mph) and change-up (80 mph) mix. Opponents are hitting just .169 against the change-up. He mixes in a slider, too, which opponents are hitting .158 against.
LHP Ryan Carpenter (0-2, 9.00), Tigers: He’s coming off his best start with the Tigers, allowing two hits and one earned run in five innings. He also struck out five. He threw 56 pitches, which makes it possible to start Wednesday on four days of rest.