Winter tumble has Maybin (shoulder) delayed

March 1st, 2016

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Spring Training battle between Anthony Gose and Cameron Maybin for playing time in center field for the Tigers began with Wynton Bernard in center during Tuesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Pirates, who won, 4-2. That had more to do with Maybin than Gose.

Normally, Maybin would've been expected to start against a left-handed starter -- in this case, former Tiger-turned-Pirate Kyle Lobstein. But for now, Maybin is out of the outfield picture, held back with a right shoulder injury he sustained in an offseason accident at home.

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Maybin said he slipped on his porch while holding his son on an icy morning at home in North Carolina, just before he left for camp. Maybin didn't drop his son, but he strained his shoulder while bracing himself against the ground.

"All I was worried about was protecting him," Maybin said of his son. "He was coming from tonsil surgery, so I wasn't worried about myself at all at the time."

Maybin said he's progressing with his throws, which have reached 120 feet. He's well aware of his extensive history with injuries, which is why he wanted to curse his luck on this one, but he doesn't expect it to affect his readiness for the regular season.

"He has no problem swinging," manager Brad Ausmus said of Maybin. "He's throwing, and he has gotten loose, but we haven't had him out there throwing to bases or anything. He said yesterday was the best his arm has felt. It's moving in the right direction."

Maybin served as a pinch-hitter in Monday's exhibition against Florida Southern but didn't play in the field. He's scheduled to serve as the Tigers' designated hitter in Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees at Tampa, Fla., airing on MLB.TV, Gameday Audio and MLB Network.

Likewise, starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez continues to stretch out his right arm as he works his way back from triceps inflammation. He played catch past 90 feet on Tuesday without issue and is expected to throw from 120 feet on Wednesday. If he does that with no trouble, the veteran right-hander could be cleared to throw off a mound by the end of the week, putting him on track for game action at some point next week.

Relief prospect Montreal Robertson, by contrast, is expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks with a sublaxated shoulder, which popped out during a freak accident in the weight room last week. Robertson will try to rehab the shoulder rather than undergo surgery, which would keep him out significantly longer.