Detroit — For many sports fans, the calendar turning to September means football.
For the Tigers, it means decisions.
Well, it used to.
"They're all here," manager Ron Gardenhire quipped, with a smile, Wednesday when asked if the team is narrowing down its decision on September callups.
There's a whole lot of truth to that given the Tigers, thanks to a variety of injuries and deadline trades, have had to turn to one youngster after another to try to play out this year.
Major League Baseball rosters on Sept. 1 can expand to 40 players — for the last time. Starting next year, rosters only can be expanded to 28.
Truth is, of course, Gardenhire and general manager Al Avila are exploring options for bringing up some more players.
They'll start with the injured bunch: Catcher Grayson Greiner (back), outfielder Christin Stewart (concussion) and third baseman Jeimer Candelario (thumb) should be back at some point. Greiner is really key, as the Tigers want a third catcher. Utility man Niko Goodrum (left groin) could be back, too.
Outside of that, though, it's slim pickings. Perhaps they tap into a few folks who saw action earlier this year, like lefty Daniel Stumpf and righties John Schreiber and Victor Alcantara. Each of those three would be easy additions, given they're already on the ballclub's 40-man roster.
More of a stretch is outfield prospect Daz Cameron, who has had his ups and down at Triple-A Toledo, as fans have clamored for his arrival in Detroit.
In any event, don't expect the earth to shake when the Tigers make their additions. In other words, no, the fabulous Erie prospects aren't coming north.
"It's not gonna be a big blowup thing," Gardenhire said.
"Our plane's not big enough, and that is true."
Miguel Cabrera left Tuesday night's game for what the team called precautionary reasons.
He was out of the lineup for Wednesday night's game, with no-so-precautionary reasons, as Gardenhire said he still was "sore" with left bicep tightness.
It was that left bicep that cost him most of 2018, and required surgery.
Cabrera looked awkward in striking out twice before coming out of Tuesday's game.
"Give him a day," Gardenhire said, before adding Cabrera is day-to-day.
"That's all we can do."
Also out of the lineup for Game 2 against the Indians was center fielder Harold Castro, who suffered a calf injury Tuesday, though he finished the game.
Castro told Gardenhire he was sore but could play, so Gardenhire played it safe.
As a result, the Tigers' lineup Wednesday featured Victor Reyes, Gordon Beckham, Willi Castro, Ronny Rodriguez, Dawel Lugo, Brandon Dixon, Travis Demeritte, Jordy Mercer and John Hicks.
Around the horn
Rosters for the Arizona Fall League were announced Wednesday, and the Tigers have seven players heading to the desert: infielder Isaac Parades (No. 5 MLB Pipeline); outfielders Derek Hill (28) and Jose Azocar; right-hander's Anthony Castro (No. 20), Alex Lange (No. 29) and Wladimir Pinto; and left-hander Trent Szkutnik.
The Tigers will play for the Mesa Solar Sox, to be managed by Mike Rabelo, manager of the Tigers' Double-A affiliate in Erie.
... Speaking of Erie, they earned some hardware Wednesday, with right-hander Matt Manning (11-5, 2.56 ERA, 148 strikeouts) being named Eastern League pitcher of the year, and Azocar (.286, 56 RBIs, 63 runs) being named Eastern League rookie of the year. No players for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens (International League) or Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps (Midwest League) earned postseason honors.
... Fox Sports Detroit's Dan Petry, a rookie on the broadcast, is on pace to work well more than the 50 games that were planned for him — including some stints in the booth. He's gotten more time, as Kirk Gibson has worked less, given his duties in the Tigers' front office. Don't be surprised if Petry's time expands even more in 2020.
... Ever wonder how many suits Fox Sports Detroit's resident sharp-dresser Craig Monroe owns? Turns out, the answer is 30.
Indians at Tigers
First pitch: 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Comerica Park, Detroit
►RHP Mike Clevinger (9-2, 3.00), Indians: One of the game's finest pitchers who nobody really talks about, he's posted three straight seasons with an ERA of 3.11 or less. Clevinger has struck out 113 in 78 innings.
►LHP Daniel Norris (3-10, 4.70), Tigers: Expect him to stay on his three-innings routine, as the Tigers keep his innings in check. The last two times out, the plan has worked beautifully, as he hasn't allowed a run against the Rays and Astros, no less.