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Sprained toe keeps Castellanos sidelined

Goodrum out with flu; Norris back in bullpen
@beckjason
April 13, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS – The heating ducts underneath Target Field left the playing surface in surprisingly good shape Saturday after Thursday’s winter storm. It still isn’t enough cushion for Nicholas Castellanos’ sprained right big toe. Though Castellanos said the toe has improved the last couple days, it’s still not in playing shape,

MINNEAPOLIS – The heating ducts underneath Target Field left the playing surface in surprisingly good shape Saturday after Thursday’s winter storm. It still isn’t enough cushion for Nicholas Castellanos’ sprained right big toe.

Though Castellanos said the toe has improved the last couple days, it’s still not in playing shape, and probably won’t be this weekend. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Castellanos will probably sit until Tuesday, when he’ll be re-evaluated ahead of the Tigers’ series opener against the Pirates at Comerica Park.

“It’s a really nice field here, it’s heated, the whole package, but that’s not going to help his toe,” Gardenhire said. “We don’t want this thing to linger on and [him] end up on the [injured list]. By Tuesday, we’ll see where he’s at. I may use him off the bench to scare the Twins, stand out on deck.”

If Castellanos isn’t ready Tuesday, the Tigers could backdate a trip to the injured list by three days and have him back in a week.

Castellanos isn’t the only Tigers run producer who is out. Niko Goodrum, who pounded Twins pitching last year and has been batting cleanup in Detroit’s order this year, is out of the lineup as he deals with a flu bug that has been going around the Tigers' clubhouse.

“As my hitting coach [Lloyd McClendon] put it, his eyeballs are stuck way back in his head right now,” Gardenhire said. “He says he’s good to go, but it’s 31 degrees out. Do you really want to stick him out in the field? Let him take it easy here and we’ll see.”

That left Gordon Beckham as the lone healthy Tiger available on the bench Saturday, and left Gardenhire surveying his pitching staff to see who he could use as a position player in an emergency. The leading candidate appears to be reliever Buck Farmer.

“I watch guys shag [fly balls in batting practice] all the time,” Gardenhire said. “Buck Farmer’s a guy that shags all the time, runs them down. He does it as part of his workout. He’ll stand in center field or left field and he’s running balls down like a freight train.”

It’s not some sort of master plan from Farmer so much as it’s a routine to avoid boredom, though he admits he’ll sometimes read how fly balls are carrying that way on a given day.

“It’s a fun way to run, plain and sample,” Farmer said. “I’d much rather go out there and run for a half-hour doing that than have to run aimlessly. I just enjoy it.”

Daniel Norris, who has shown his hitting and baserunning abilities on rare occasions, is also an option.

“He would run over three guys to get to a ball,” Gardenhire joked.

Speaking of Norris

Norris was in line to start Friday’s series opener, but was skipped once the game was postponed. With the Tigers off again on Monday, they won’t need a fifth starter until next weekend’s series against the White Sox. Thus, Norris is back in the bullpen for now.

Gardenhire said at the end of Spring Training that the Tigers could send Norris to Triple-A Toledo to stretch him out if needed. At this point, it doesn’t appear to be a serious consideration.

“When you have this many days off, that’s the norm. Your fifth starter, whatever you want to call it, they’re the guys that can bounce around a little bit,” Gardenhire said. “He was in the 'pen early, too. This will be good for him, just to get some innings out there in the 'pen. Hopefully we won’t have to use him too awful much and then once we get settled in with a regular schedule, he’ll be back in the rotation.”

Gardy at home

While most of the Tigers' pitchers came to Target Field to throw, most players were left wandering around town. It was their third off-day in eight days, but their first on the road. Some checked out downtown Minneapolis via the indoor Skyway, while others went to the Mall of America.

Gardenhire, by contrast, checked in at the home he keeps in the area. His daughter lives in town.

“My wife’s car, which sits in the garage, was dead,” Gardenhire said. “And I had to take about half the car apart to get to the battery to take it out and go get a new one.”

Minor League suspensions

Two Tigers Minor League players were suspended Friday with violations of the Minor League drug prevention and treatment program. Class A Connecticut catcher Moises Nunez and Rookie-level Gulf Coast League pitcher Richard Terrero received 25-game suspensions, which will begin at the start of their clubs’ respective seasons this summer.

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