With what feels like half the Detroit Tigers’ lineup hitting the disabled list over the past few weeks, the offense has flat-lined. Help may finally be on the way as both shortstop Jose Iglesias and centerfielder Cameron Maybin are taking steps toward returning to the Tigers’ lineup.
Maybin, who has been dealing with a Grade 2 sprain to his left thumb suffered back on August 4, took swings off a tee on Thursday. He reported no pain, and may return to batting practice this weekend. According to manager Brad Ausmus, Maybin may be able to skip a rehab assignment and rejoin the active roster as soon as Tuesday, when the Tigers’ kick off a road series against the Minnesota Twins. While that appears an optimistic appraisal, Maybin does seem very likely to be back in action at some point next week, barring any setbacks.
Maybin could be ready to return during next week's series at Minnesota under best-case scenario, Ausmus said. Might not need rehab stint.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 19, 2016
Meanwhile, Jose Iglesias has reported minimal soreness in his left hamstring in recent days. Per Anthony Fenech of the Free Press, Iglesias has been doing light work on the anti-gravity treadmill this week. Because hamstring injuries are particularly fickle, an early return would probably be ill-advised. Still, the Tigers’ shortstop appears so far to be on track to return on his target date of August 27.
In other updates, outfielder Tyler Collins is scheduled to start Friday night against the Boston Red Sox. Collins was inserted into Thurday’s game as a pinch-runner. The backup outfielder took a Yordano Ventura fastball off his upper right knee in Wednesday’s contest.
The Tigers' starting pitching has held up brilliantly with Mike Pelfrey and Jordan Zimmermann out. In fact, it can be argued that this was a blessing in disguise for giving Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris the opportunity to prove themselves ready to hold down spots of their own. Still, the Tigers could really use their depth back, as Michael Fulmer is in need of a skipped start or two, and a healthy Jordan Zimmermann could prove huge in September.
Mike Pelfrey threw 25-pitch bullpen session this afternoon. He will throw another on Sunday, then simulated game next week at Minnesota.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) August 19, 2016
Jordan Zimmermann threw 20 pitches off the mound on Tuesday, but there is still no timetable set for the Tigers’ veteran right-hander to begin a rehab assignment. After two trips to the disabled list from which Zimmermann tried to return too soon, he and the Tigers seem committed to letting him take all the time needed to get healthy. The hope is that the Tigers will have him finally back at full power for most of the September stretch drive.