DETROIT -- Tigers reliever Zach Miner is scheduled to pick up his rehab from right elbow tendinitis by throwing to hitters Thursday in an extended spring training game in Lakeland, Fla.
If that goes well, the Tigers will build up his arm until he's ready to go out on a rehab assignment -- possibly soon, according to manager Jim Leyland.
Miner, who began the season on the disabled list, has progressed well over the past couple of weeks once a combination of rest and medication finally cleared up the discomfort. He has had several mound sessions, but has yet to throw to live hitters. Thursday's outing is designed to get him a feel for that and see how his elbow responds to the extra adrenaline.
The Tigers' bullpen has been heavily taxed this season, putting a premium on a versatile reliever like Miner who can work both short and long outings. Without him, Detroit has used a combination of relievers to fill the void, including knuckleball pitcher Eddie Bonine and lefties Brad Thomas, Fu-Te Ni and Phil Coke.
Everett could return Thursday
DETROIT -- Adam Everett hopes to be back in the Tigers lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Twins after missing the past four games with a strained right hamstring.
Everett, who suffered the injury Saturday at Texas when he lost his footing while changing direction on a play, said he was going to test out his leg moving around during batting practice Wednesday. Assuming all goes well, manager Jim Leyland said he could put him in the lineup for Thursday, giving Ramon Santiago a day off.
"I think maybe tomorrow," Leyland said Wednesday afternoon. "That would work out good to give Santiago a blow here shortly. If he's available tomorrow, that's fine. If not, that's fine, too. We're going to make sure he's right."
It's a rare leg injury for Everett, who said he hadn't had a hamstring issue since 2004. He takes pride in his offseason workout routine designed to keep his legs healthy. Though he has had four stints on the disabled list in his big league career, they were all for arm issues -- from a right shoulder strain to a fractured right fibula to a left wrist fracture.
Leyland still wary of Sizemore's ankle
DETROIT -- Scott Sizemore's night off Wednesday wasn't the result of any defensive miscue. However, it's a sign that Sizemore's surgically repaired left ankle still isn't completely out of manager Jim Leyland's mind.
A day after a Sizemore throwing error Tuesday led to one of the Twins' two unearned runs in a 2-0 Tigers loss, he was getting a day of rest. Ryan Raburn, whose errant drop of a fly ball in left field led to Minnesota's first run Tuesday, started at second.
Sizemore has started 17 of Detroit's first 22 games to begin his rookie season, but Leyland said in Spring Training that he'd make a point to get Sizemore some degree of rest every so often. The fact that Sizemore underwent surgery last November to repair a fractured left ankle has given Leyland reason to watch the rookie closely.
"I'm not convinced that his ankle is 100 percent," Leyland said. "I think it's 100 percent some days and I think it goes down when he plays on it [other days]. He's certainly not [sitting] tonight because he made an error last night. That has nothing to do with it. Raburn's 2-for-3 off [Twins starter Scott Baker]. You pick your spots."
Tigers raise awareness for Joe Niekro Foundation
DETROIT -- The Tigers took a moment for a pregame ceremony Wednesday to raise awareness for the Joe Niekro Foundation, a charitable organization established three years ago to support the research and treatment of aneurysm patients and their families.
Natalie and Lance Niekro, children of former Tigers pitcher Joe Niekro, were on hand for the ceremony. Natalie threw out the ceremonial first pitch to outfielder Johnny Damon.
Niekro, one of the famed knuckleballing Niekro brothers, pitched in Detroit from 1970-72 as part of his 22-year Major League career. He won 12 games for the Tigers in 1970, second-most on the team behind Mickey Lolich.
After his playing days, Niekro lived for a time in Lakeland, Fla., where the Tigers hold their Spring Training. He passed away suddenly from a brain aneurysm on Oct. 22, 2006.
For more information, visit the foundation website at www.joeniekrofoundation.org.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.