The Tigers series against the White Sox this weekend comes on the heels of the surprising trade involving Avisail Garcia, Jose Iglesias, and Jake Peavy. The White Sox could make this more intriguing by starting Avisail Garcia, but the Tigers did not start Miguel Cabrera last night so for the sake of symmetry there was no Mini Miggy either. Jose Iglesias was in the lineup, not for Jhonny Peralta at shortstop, but for Cabrera at third base. Apparently Miggy needs more time to rest his aching side.
The White Sox have a reputation as a team that is able to keep its best players healthy and on the field. From 2002 to 2012 the White Sox lost players to the disabled list more than six thousand fewer days than the Tigers. Anecdotally, you need to look no further than the 81 starts they managed to get from Jake Peavy in four years. Peavy had his right latissimus dorsi tendon reattached in a surgery that may be named for him - the shoulder version of Tommy John surgery.
The Tigers do many things right such as deadline deals, collecting power arms, and respecting the game's tradition. But they could do a better job understanding their players' injuries, and keeping them off the field until fully healed.
In the Leyland era we have had to endure Magglio Ordonez's ankle, Brandon Inge's knee, Victor Martinez's knee, Gary Sheffield's shoulder, and Bobby Seay's shoulder. They played obviously hurt for weeks or months, and likely injured themselves worse by doing so.
The Tigers have an opportunity to improve by reducing time lost to injuries. Earlier this year Alex Avila went on the disabled list when he may not have needed a full 15 days to heal. He has come back much improved with a .269 / .355 / .463 triple slash in July. Omar Infante was recently rushed to a rehab assignment, and had to sit another week. Miguel Cabrera came back, and then was gone again. These are professionals who will always say they want to play. But management needs to step up and rest them until healthy, which will lead to more playing time in the long run.
Avisail Garcia batted third last night for the Charlotte Knights, Chicago's Triple-A affiliate. He went three for four with a home run, walk, and four RBI's. He will be in Chicago very soon.