Prospect Turner scratched from start
Forearm strain isn't believed to be serious
ANAHEIM -- Tigers top prospect Jacob Turner was scratched from his scheduled start for Class A West Michigan Tuesday night with a right forearm strain, but the injury isn't believed to be serious.
Turner was scheduled to make his third professional start for the Whitecaps at Dayton, but was taken out of the assignment late, MiLB.com reported. Victor Larez made the spot start in Turner's place and tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 3-0 loss.
The Tigers drafted Turner with the ninth overall pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft and signed him to a Major League contract. After spending the first half of Spring Training in Major League camp, Turner went to West Michigan, where he has tossed nine innings of one-run ball in his first two starts. He has allowed seven hits but no walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Tigers' other highly touted pitching prospect, left-hander Casey Crosby, has been sidelined since the end of Spring Training with a sore elbow.
Kelly's first big league homer worth wait
ANAHEIM -- One inning, Don Kelly makes a diving play at third base that looked a little like Brandon Inge. The next inning, his first Major League home run was the kind of drive some might have expected more from Miguel Cabrera.
"Those are some big shoes," Kelly said, laughing.
Kelly's first big league homer came in his 10th professional season, but it might well have been worth the wait. It was neither a walk-off nor a grand slam, not even changing the lead. But with the Tigers being held scoreless by Angels ace Jered Weaver and down, 3-0, it was a game changer, even in the fifth.
Weaver fell behind on a 2-1 count with one out in the inning before challenging Kelly with a fastball. Kelly not only centered it, but powered it on a line to the rocks beyond the fence, just to the left of center. The surprised look on Weaver's face seemed to say plenty.
"Just going up there and trying to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it," Kelly said. "Everything worked out."
Kelly eventually got the ball after the game, after the Tigers got the win.
Ordonez's 'D' turning heads in Detroit
ANAHEIM -- Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez still isn't quite sure how he came up with that over-the-shoulder catch Monday night, but he knows how he became a better defensive player game in and game out this year: He worked at it.
From an offseason workout program designed to strengthen his legs to a full Spring Training in which he could take fly balls off the bat day after day in batting practice, Ordonez put in the physical training and practice of his craft to become a better outfielder. The result is remarkably different from last year, when people wondered if Ordonez was destined to become a designated hitter sooner rather than later.
"This is the best I've seen Magglio since I've been here, all-around," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a totally different guy. He's playing young."
He feels younger now. He definitely doesn't feel old enough to DH.
The training program was well known. So is the clearer mind Ordonez has now that his wife's health is better this year following her battle with breast cancer last year. The approach to batting practice is something more recent, a point he made to himself coming into camp. He didn't have a full Spring Training last year because of the World Baseball Classic, so he wanted to take advantage of the extra time this spring.
"Last year I was in a survival mode, because I wasn't ready," Ordonez said. "I wasn't strong. And I learned how to survive. When you get to a certain age, you have to work all year around."
Leyland encouraged by RISP hitting
ANAHEIM -- The numbers for the Tigers' offense with runners in scoring position right now aren't pretty. While cleanup man Miguel Cabrera entered Wednesday's game against the Angels batting .474 (9-for-19) in those situations, and Austin Jackson was batting 6-for-13, the Tigers as a team are hitting just .216 in RISP situations.
Those numbers include seven double plays, two of them hit by Cabrera.
It's a difficult situation for the team to sustain, good pitching or not. Yet the hard-hit outs the Tigers are producing in some of those situations, especially the last few games, has manager Jim Leyland believing it won't go on.
"I can think of about four games we've had where we've hit hard shots with men on," Leyland said. "I get a kick about everybody talking about runners left on base. We've played 14 games.
"We've had five or six balls with runners on base where, if they were hit 10 feet either way, we'd have been doing pretty darn good with runners on base."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.