KANSAS CITY -- The Tigers are finally starting to get some encouraging news about injured reliever Zach Miner, who began playing catch this week as he tries to get past a particularly tenacious bout with tendinitis in his right elbow.

Detroit put Miner on the disabled list with a week and a half to go in Spring Training with some hope of having him eligible to come off the DL for the season's first weekend, but that quickly became unrealistic as the pain in his elbow lingered.

Miner was not going to be cleared to throw again until he was pain-free, which happened recently. He played catch from 60 feet away Monday and was scheduled to throw again Thursday. He missed enough time since he last pitched in a game that he'll be progressed slowly on his way back to game action.

Without Miner, the Tigers are missing one of their more versatile relievers in their bullpen, someone upon whom manager Jim Leyland called on to pitch anywhere from long relief to the eighth inning over the past couple years.

Fiery Scherzer happy with debut

KANSAS CITY -- The regular-season intensity of Max Scherzer was on display in a regular-season game Wednesday in his Tigers debut, and Scherzer showed how he can channel it to his advantage.

Scherzer was visibly fired up when he got the call on the inside corner for strike three on Kansas City's David DeJesus to end the fifth inning with the bases loaded. His no-hit bid was gone, but he kept the game scoreless. Even more encouraging for him, he did it by pounding a fastball inside, a big point of his during Spring Training. He had fallen behind on a 2-0 count to DeJesus to put himself in serious trouble, but worked out of it.

"It wasn't the strikeout; I really worked hard on locating the fastball in," Scherzer said. "And on that pitch, when I needed it most, I located my fastball in. That's where I can walk away from this outing knowing that in that situation I did something right."

Scherzer felt like Wednesday was a good starting point for him. His slider was off and on, but his changeup was generally solid. His fastball, obviously, was encouraging, and he changed speeds on it according to the situation, ranging from the low-to-mid-90s. He didn't rack up a lot of strikeouts, but walked just two while inducing some quicker outs. He would've liked to have gotten into the seventh inning, but with 91 pitches through six -- an average of just about 15 pitches per inning -- he had to be encouraged.

"Scherzer was terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "Used all his pitches, changed the speeds on his fastball, good changeup, slider."