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Wilson's fast track could involve bullpen cart

Tigers reliever could be first to break in new ride as he recovers from foot injury
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The bullpen cart the Tigers introduced this season has yet to have a passenger. Depending on when Alex Wilson returns from the ruptured plantar fascia in his left foot, he could be the first.

It's not a ride he wants to take, but those are the lengths he's willing to go to get back on the mound. He's eager enough that he spent part of his Friday afternoon playing catch while sitting on a stool.

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DETROIT -- The bullpen cart the Tigers introduced this season has yet to have a passenger. Depending on when Alex Wilson returns from the ruptured plantar fascia in his left foot, he could be the first.

It's not a ride he wants to take, but those are the lengths he's willing to go to get back on the mound. He's eager enough that he spent part of his Friday afternoon playing catch while sitting on a stool.

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"Depending on how fast I come back, I might not be doing a whole lot of running, so that cart might get used after all," Wilson said Wednesday. "I would prefer not to, but if it lets me get out there a little bit earlier and takes a little stress off of it, I have no problem riding the cart in. We'll play it by ear, but we'll see how it works out."

Before Wilson considers the cart, he has to be able to pitch first. There's no firm timetable on that because it's all a matter of how much pain Wilson can pitch through. The plantar fascia has been bothering him all season, he admitted, and finally tore when he broke to cover first base on a ground ball Monday in Texas.

Tests revealed that the plantar fascia was 95 percent torn. Odd as it sounds, Wilson spent the last couple of days trying to tear the rest so that he can resume.

"Just need to try to get rid of these last few fibers that are hanging around," he said. "From then, it's going to be on pain tolerance and comfort. I think covering first is going to be the biggest thing for me, because pitching-wise, I land on the ball of my foot. If I can avoid landing on my heel, which is where all the pain is currently, I think I'll be OK."

Wilson believes he could be ready to pitch when he's eligible to come off the 10-day DL next weekend in Seattle.

"I'm already putting weight on [the foot]," he said. "Having said that, I've kind of talked to a few people that have done this before, and they say realistically it's 2-3 weeks. One hundred percent back to normal would be a month, a lot of the time. Because I'm not a smaller guy, there's a lot more stress on my foot, and the way I pitch is not going to be easy on my foot, either. The biggest thing is not to rush back, flare it up again where I have to be back in a boot. But we'll see."

Romine returns to Detroit
The last time many Tigers fans saw Andrew Romine, he was coming off the historic feat of playing all nine positions in a game. That was the next-to-last game of last season. He started at second base for the Tigers for the season finale, not knowing for sure it would be his last game as a Tiger but somewhat suspecting it.

Video: Must C Combo: Romine plays all nine positions

"It wasn't totally a surprise," said Romine, claimed off waivers in November by the Mariners. "I mean, I saw what has happening with them getting rid of some contracts and a rebuilding year. I think it was 50-50 for me: I wouldn't have been surprised if I came back; I wasn't surprised when they didn't bring me back.

"I understand it's a business. We know how things work. Money's always an issue, especially when you're over the cap like we were when I was over. I actually had talked about it with [GM] Al [Avila] at one point in the gym or something last year: 'Hey, how far over are we? How many contracts are we going to have to get rid of?' And he was like, 'Right now, it looks like a lot.'"

Romine still has ties to Michigan since his sister lives in the area with his niece and nephew, whom he'll see this weekend. His deal to Seattle was a reunion of sorts, since Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto was the Angels GM who traded him to Detroit in 2014.

"He called and said, 'Hey, we want you to come in and do what you were doing in Detroit,'" Romine said.

So far, Romine's starts have been limited to a couple of games in left field, one at second base and another at first. That could change this weekend as players get days off.

Video: LAA@SEA: Romine leaps for tough catch at the wall

If Romine starts Sunday's series finale, he'll have the odd scenario of batting against Tigers lefty Blaine Hardy, the pitcher he caught during his nine-position game last year.

Quick hits
Miguel Cabrera received treatment on his strained right hamstring Friday but wasn't able to do anything on the field thanks to the weather.

"They're doing all the rubdowns and now we just go day-to-day," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Leonys Martin, currently on the 10-day DL with a strained left hamstring, is at home in Miami working out with a physical therapist, Gardenhire said. Martin returned home to spend time with his father, who was dealing with some health issues.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers, Alex Wilson