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Candelario knocks in go-ahead run in return

Injury updates: Miggy, Wilson, Zimmermann
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- The Tigers' lengthy disabled list shrunk by a player on Friday. With Jeimer Candelario's return, the Tigers also gained one of their most valuable bats in the middle of the order. His value was apparent after the go-ahead single in Friday's 5-4 win over the White Sox.

Candelario, out since May 13 with tendinitis in his left wrist, was activated from the 10-day DL before the game and inserted into the third spot in the lineup, between Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez. It's one spot down from his old role, but manager Ron Gardenhire opted not to disrupt the hitting outburst Castellanos has going this week.

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DETROIT -- The Tigers' lengthy disabled list shrunk by a player on Friday. With Jeimer Candelario's return, the Tigers also gained one of their most valuable bats in the middle of the order. His value was apparent after the go-ahead single in Friday's 5-4 win over the White Sox.

Candelario, out since May 13 with tendinitis in his left wrist, was activated from the 10-day DL before the game and inserted into the third spot in the lineup, between Nicholas Castellanos and Victor Martinez. It's one spot down from his old role, but manager Ron Gardenhire opted not to disrupt the hitting outburst Castellanos has going this week.

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"I have the same approach," Candelario said. "I just try to be aggressive in the zone with my pitch and try to look for a pitch I can drive, no matter if I'm second or third."

That's what Gardenhire surmised.

"He's a pretty easy person to put in the lineup," Gardenhire said.

Candelario was placed on the DL to address the wrist, which had bothered him off and on since at least last season. He received a cortisone injection, but more importantly, he began a rehab routine to strengthen the muscles in the area to try to avoid -- or at least limit -- a recurrence of the injury.

"Right now, it doesn't hurt at all," Candelario said Friday afternoon, after doing early work with fellow infielders Pete Kozma and Niko Goodrum. "Just gotta work hard every day to get it strong, so it doesn't come back again."

He felt pretty well after sending a blooper just out of first baseman Jose Abreu's reach in shallow right field, scoring Castellanos with the go-ahead run. Though it looked like a routine pop-up, Candelario said he believed off the bat it had a chance to fall in.

Video: CWS@DET: Candelario gives Tigers lead with RBI single

"It's not easy, that ball, when you're playing in," Candelario said. "Thank God that we got the win."

Candelario returned to Detroit on Friday morning after a two-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo. He went 2-for-8 with a walk, three runs scored and an RBI for the Mud Hens. Though manager Ron Gardenhire gave an initial target of 12 at-bats for Candelario with the Hens, his nine plate appearances were enough to show he was ready.

"I went down, felt comfortable with my at-bats and told myself, 'You know what, I'm ready to go,'" Candelario said.

Outfielder Mikie Mahtook was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to make room on the 25-man roster. Mahtook went 9-for-38 for the Tigers since being recalled earlier this month, but his playing time dwindled after Leonys Martin's return from the DL. Mahtook received a lone at-bat in Minnesota, pinch-hitting for Dixon Machado and striking out Tuesday.

"He needs to be playing. He needs to be hitting," Gardenhire said. "That's the only way he's going to find his true swing and keep it. And we're going to need it at some point."

With Martin playing every day in center and JaCoby Jones shifting to left, the Tigers don't need Mahtook for now.

Quick hits
• In other Tigers injury news, Miguel Cabrera took batting practice and ground balls at first base Friday as he continues to work his way back from a right hamstring strain. Though he did some light running in the outfield, he did not run bases, which he'll need to do before he's cleared to return. Cabrera told reporters he hopes to return soon, though there's no firm timetable for when that is.

Alex Wilson (ruptured left plantar fascia) and Jordan Zimmermann (right shoulder impingement) both threw bullpen sessions Friday, Gardenhire said, and Zimmermann could be close to going on a Minor League rehab assignment to stretch out his arm.

• Tigers assistant general manager David Chadd was in attendance at the SEC Tournament on Thursday, where top Draft prospect Casey Mize took the loss for Auburn with four runs over 7 2/3 innings. The junior right-hander struck out seven with no walks, but threw a pair of wild pitches.

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

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, Alex Wilson, Jordan Zimmermann