OAKLAND -- The A's first hit off Blaine Hardy on Friday night was a ground ball deep in the hole that left shortstop Jose Iglesias with no play at first base. That doesn't mean Iglesias didn't try, quickly firing off a throw that bounced as Jed Lowrie hit first base with
OAKLAND -- The A's first hit off Blaine Hardy on Friday night was a ground ball deep in the hole that left shortstop Jose Iglesias with no play at first base. That doesn't mean Iglesias didn't try, quickly firing off a throw that bounced as Jed Lowrie hit first base with time to spare with a seventh-inning leadoff single.
Iglesias' no-look glove flip to second base on Lowrie's grounder behind the bag in the ninth wasn't so well-advised, but it was well-intentioned. An inning later, Iglesias' quick, accurate throw to third base erased a leadoff double. Then came Iglesias' popup single on an 11-pitch at-bat, and his corresponding out at third base in the 13th.
The non-waiver Trade Deadline has come and gone, and Iglesias remains a Tiger. That doesn't mean he can't be traded in August; he simply has to clear waivers or have the claiming team acquire him. Still, given the contending teams that had middle-infield needs and filled them elsewhere -- the Phillies acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera, the Brewers adding Jonathan Schoop -- the chances of Iglesias finishing the season as a Tiger appear fairly high.
So far, Iglesias has approached the game with the same aggressive mentality that shaped his style of play leading into the Trade Deadline.
"He's played hard. He's played really hard," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had good conversations. He's really done what he's supposed to do. Now we have to maintain that after the Trade Deadline."
Gardenhire talked with Iglesias in Spring Training about the need for him to serve as a veteran example and mentor on a young roster. He reinforced the message in early May after a well-noted misunderstanding on defensive positioning in a game in Kansas City.
With or without a trade, Iglesias is on track for free agency at season's end. In terms of Wins Above Replacement, he'll hit the open market coming off the most productive season of his career, currently at 2.1 WAR according to the baseball-reference formula.
He could also hit the market with his first Gold Glove award. At last update in mid-July, he not only led Major League shortstops in the SABR Defensive Index, the statistical formula used to account for 25 percent of the Gold Glove selection process, he ranked third among all players in that category, regardless of his position.
Nearly as important has been his health, a question over the early part of his career. With 104 games played through the Tigers' first 111 games, he's on track to break his career high of 137 games played in a season.
"He wants to stay healthy, trying to stay healthy, trying to stay on the field," Gardenhire said. "So he has to continue that."
Liriano ready for return
Francisco Liriano feels back to normal now and ready to go against the A's on Sunday for his first start since July 23. But he admits it was scary going through the allergic reaction that scratched him from his start last Sunday.
"It was weird," Liriano said. "My whole body was red and swollen -- neck, arms. It took me a while to feel fine, five days."
His weight also fluctuated, he said, adding to the fear. It was the first time he had dealt with anything like that.
The best explanation from tests conducted last weekend and earlier this week is that the reaction likely came from a chemical being used on his neighbors' garden, which was being redone.
• The Tigers' 1-0 loss Friday night marked their 14th shutout of the season, tops in the Majors and most for the Tigers in a season since 2003. That Tigers team was shut out 17 times on its way to 119 losses.
• Tickets remain available for the Jack Morris and Alan Trammell Number Retirement Dinner, to be held next Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Motor City Casino. The dinner includes a conversation with Morris and Trammell hosted by Tigers radio broadcaster Dan Dickerson, with guest appearances by members of the 1984 World Series champion Tigers, and pre-dinner photos with the 1984 World Series trophy. Visit tigers.com/hofdinner for more information.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.