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Greene near return, could impact trade market

Reliever expected back next week; injury updates on Martin, Norris, Miggy
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- Shane Greene wasn't the only one relieved that an exam showed inflammation and bursitis rather than any structural damage in his sore right shoulder. The Tigers, too, had many reasons to be thankful.

First and foremost, the back end of the Detroit bullpen will have its depth again with Greene and Joe Jimenez if Greene returns, as expected, next week. If Greene can get back to old form, though, the resulting trade interest could leave his days in Detroit numbered as the Tigers' rebuilding movement marches on.

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DETROIT -- Shane Greene wasn't the only one relieved that an exam showed inflammation and bursitis rather than any structural damage in his sore right shoulder. The Tigers, too, had many reasons to be thankful.

First and foremost, the back end of the Detroit bullpen will have its depth again with Greene and Joe Jimenez if Greene returns, as expected, next week. If Greene can get back to old form, though, the resulting trade interest could leave his days in Detroit numbered as the Tigers' rebuilding movement marches on.

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Greene planned on picking up a ball and resuming a throwing program Saturday, then progressing from there. Both he and the Tigers are hoping for a return from the disabled list in time for next weekend's series in Houston. However, manager Ron Gardenhire suggested again that Greene's program of throwing every day is going to change, and how he feels as he begins throwing will impact whether he returns before the All-Star break.

"I know he's very anxious to start throwing a baseball," Gardenhire said. "But as we talked and [pitching coach Rick Anderson] talked, yeah, he's going to have to make some adjustments. …

"He's one of these guys that really likes to play catch a lot, really likes to throw a lot before games. Talking with him about changing his routine a little bit and taking a little pressure off the arm so he'll be ready for all these situations for saves."

That could presumably extend to his game usage, too. Greene threw in four consecutive games over four days in mid-June, then went eight days without pitching, then threw 45 pitches over a two-day stretch before a velocity drop in his last outing July 1 concerned even him.

The streak of four straight appearances stemmed in part from Greene insisting each day that he felt good and ready to go. Even after the fourth straight appearance, he told Gardenhire the next day he was ready to go, though Gardenhire told him there was no way he'd pitch a fifth straight day.

At the same time, the Tigers will have to prove Greene is healthy before generating trade interest, which was waning even before the injury. Between the ratio of sellers and buyers on this summer's trade market, and the supply and demand for relievers, teams seeking bullpen help have enough alternatives.

With this year's All-Star break a week later than usual, plus off-days scheduled on July 26 and 30, the Tigers play just nine games between the All-Star break and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Six of those games are at home against the Red Sox and Indians, both contending teams that could pursue bullpen help at the Deadline. So, too, could the Astros, which could make the series before the break a showcase if Greene is ready to return.

Other injury updates
• Center fielder Leonys Martin will not return before the All-Star break, according to Martin and Gardenhire. The Tigers will take their time rehabbing Martin from a left hamstring injury that goes back before he joined the Tigers last offseason, with a goal of sending him on a rehab assignment during the break.

"He definitely has some deficiencies in his hamstring," Gardenhire said. "He's gotta get stronger or he's going to continue to have this process."

• Left-hander Daniel Norris suffered a minor setback while rehabbing in Class A Advanced Lakeland, but has resumed long tossing, according to Gardenhire.

Asked if he's expected to rejoin the team this season, Gardenhire said, "I would say no, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. He's got plenty of time, and if he gets healthy and gets back on the mound and does some rehab stuff and all those things, maybe you could see him in September."

Miguel Cabrera has been working out in Detroit as well as closer to his home in South Florida as he rehabs from season-ending surgery to repair his torn biceps tendon.

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, Shane Greene, Leonys Martin