Miggy, J-Up given day off from starting lineup

MRI comes back clean for Maybin; Tigers claim catcher Hicks off waivers

April 24th, 2016

DETROIT -- The Tigers' two-three lineup combination of Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera broke up Sunday, if only for the afternoon. Manager Brad Ausmus gave both of them a day off from the starting lineup, hoping the day to relax will help them shake their early-season struggles. Both players ended up getting into the game as pinch-hitters, with Cabrera popping out representing the potential go-ahead run in the eighth inning with the bases loaded in the Tigers' 6-3 loss to the Indians.

The lineup decision was not something Ausmus welcomed doing. With both players seemingly fighting their own swings and plate judgments while trying to spark an anemic Tigers offense, Ausmus took the chance.

"You don't ever want to do it," Ausmus said. "Certainly fans want to see Miggy play at Comerica Park, and I don't blame them. But sometimes I think it's best to give guys a breather when you think they need one, and I felt like they both could use a day. Pretty good chance it'll never happen on the same day again the rest of the season. But I'd like them to kind of relax today, refresh their mind, reset, come back tomorrow and go at it again."

Upton entered Sunday leading the Majors with twice as many strikeouts (30) as hits (15), batting .217 with four doubles, a home run and three RBIs. His three-strikeout game Saturday made him the first Tiger to reach 30 by the end of April since Austin Jackson and Ryan Raburn five years ago.

Ausmus installed Upton in the second spot in Detroit's batting order shortly after he signed as a free agent in January, expecting him to benefit from seeing more strikes batting in front of the formidable Cabrera. While Upton has suffered from swings and misses, Cabrera has had his own struggles, batting .210 (13-for-62) with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs. He said Friday his timing is off with his swing, much like a similarly slow April two years ago.

"Sometimes in baseball, you can beat yourself up so much when you're struggling, it's best to take a step back," Ausmus said, "even if it's just 24 hours. These guys take a lot of pride and care about how they're performing."

Maybin expected to resume rehab in a week

Cameron Maybin returned to Detroit on Sunday morning, but not to return from his rehab assignment. The center fielder, who resumed a Minor League rehab assignment Saturday night for Triple-A Toledo, underwent an MRI and other tests on his right shoulder after injuring it on a diving catch. Results showed no structural damage.

"Just a little bit of a subluxation," Maybin said. "I'll be back before you know it."

Said Ausmus: "It doesn't look too bad. We think he's going to be out probably five days before he starts throwing again, maybe a week before he starts playing again."

Maybin opened the season on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from a fractured left wrist, suffered when it was struck by a pitch in Spring Training play March 1. He was on the verge of returning when he was hit by another pitch last Sunday while on a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens. Saturday was his first game back.

With Maybin out and Anthony Gose off to a slow start, Tyler Collins has drawn starts in center in recent days.

Quick hits

• The Tigers claimed catcher John Hicks off waivers from Minnesota on Saturday and assigned him to Double-A Erie. The 26-year-old backstop, who went to the same high school as Justin Verlander in Goochland, Va., played 17 games for Seattle last year before joining the Twins' organization off waivers last December.