The Detroit Tigers have been battered by injuries recently, but might start to get healthy soon. Among the updates provided to reporters on Monday was the news that Miguel Cabrera took batting practice in Minnesota. While there was no specific update given on his status, the fact that Cabrera is taking swings again is an encouraging sign. He has been on the disabled list since May 4 with a hamstring injury, but could be ready to return fairly soon.
Also on the mend is Jeimer Candelario, who took ground balls at third base on Monday. Candelario is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday, but might be sent on a rehab assignment before he is activated. Assuming his wrist doesn’t flare up in the coming days, he should be back sometime this week. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire just wants to see Candelario in some game action first.
“I just talked to him in the batting cage. He’s smiling. He doesn’t feel anything,” Gardenhire said. “The smart thing might be to let him get into some real action rather than just BP and take a few swings before we activate him.”
Pitchers Alex Wilson and Jordan Zimmermann were also mentioned. Wilson still can’t run after snapping the plantar fascia in his left foot last week, and Zimmermann will still be out for a couple more weeks; even if he gets back to game action soon, the team will send him out on a lengthy rehab assignment to rebuild his stamina.
I don’t buy the draft drama
If you take the Tigers front office at their word, they have not yet decided on who they will take with the No. 1 pick in June’s MLB draft. We’re not buying what they, or those in close proximity with the front office, are selling.
Tigers have a Draft Day muddled mess: Have become wary of Casey Mize for undisclosed reasons. Don't like Joey Bart's strikeouts. And know Brady Singer has no real plus-pitch. Of course, this is the year they draft First Overall.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) May 19, 2018
“Undisclosed reasons” sounds a lot like “Casey Mize is asking for a bunch of money because he’s the best player in the class.” This is how draft negotiations go, though. The team with the No. 1 pick wants to create an air of mystery so as to keep bonus demands as low as possible. That doesn’t seem to be working quite as well with Mize, who has elevated himself above the rest of his draft class. But I don’t believe for a second that this will deter Detroit from taking him on June 4.
Let’s talk about Francisco Liriano trade rumors again
On Monday, John dove into what Francisco Liriano’s Sunday start did for his trade value. Others, including USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, have taken notice.
Francisco Liriano is throwing a no-hitter and the Detroit #Tigers have a beautiful trade chip on their hands. The Tigers already are getting inquiries from teams who have expressed strong interest when the Tigers decide to move him.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 20, 2018
As Anthony Fenech of the Free Press noted, the Tigers might have to shop Liriano aggressively if they want to beat the deadline rush; there are likely to be a number of sellers this summer, which could create a buyer’s market if Detroit doesn’t move early.
Zack Cozart is wrong about the Rays’ “Opener” strategy
In case you missed it, the Tampa Bay Rays used reliever Sergio Romo as their starter on both Saturday and Sunday. Romo, a righty specialist of sorts, was tasked with getting through the top of the Los Angeles Angels’ batting order before turning the game over to an actual starter-ish pitcher. The strategy worked; Romo struck out six in 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings across the two games, and Tampa won three of four.
But a lot of people didn’t like it. Zack Cozart, L.A.’s leadoff hitter, was most critical, saying “I don’t think it’s good for baseball.” While there could certainly be consequences if this strategy catches on, I love Tampa’s outside-the-box thinking here. It doesn’t seem to be something that will catch on like wildfire (or shifting, more accurately), and offers another neat little wrinkle to the game we love,
Baseball is awesome
Juan Soto is younger than Google. And he just hit his first big league home run on Monday.
1st @MLB start ✅— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2018
1st at-bat ✅
1st hit ✅
1st HR ✅
Welcome to The Show, Juan Soto! The #Nats No. 2 prospect (No. 15 overall) goes deep for a 3-run measured at 422 feet to give the @Nationals the lead. Top 100 Prospects: https://t.co/TuTZgd5PTS pic.twitter.com/Dlu9zOC1xq
The best part? This celebration from the Nationals’ Dominican academy.
The Nats put tonight’s game on for their youngsters at their academy in the Dominican Republic. If you thought this crowd went wild when Soto homered... well, this is pretty special. pic.twitter.com/SKROdB2oox— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 22, 2018