Miner to have right elbow examined
Reliever experiences discomfort in recent pitching session
DETROIT -- Tigers reliever Zach Miner returned to Comerica Park on Friday, but it was to have his arm examined, not put it to work. He was in town to have his right elbow checked out by doctors after experiencing discomfort in his most recent pitching session.
Miner was scheduled to visit Friday with team physician Dr. Stephen Lemos. The results should determine whether he continues to progress from here toward a rehab assignment or has to go back to square one in his rehab program, making it a big juncture for Detroit's bullpen picture heading into the summer.
"I'm not here on the best of conditions," Miner said as he shook hands with teammates walking by in the Tigers' clubhouse Friday afternoon.
Miner began the season on the 15-day disabled list with what the club listed as right elbow tendinitis. He spent several weeks trying to get the pain out of the elbow before he was cleared to begin throwing. Thursday was his fourth outing in extended spring camp, and he was believed to be closing in on a formal rehab assignment in the Tigers' farm system.
His elbow flared up a little while he was pitching Thursday, but Miner said he still threw well. The examination could be as much of a precaution as anything, but it still means Miner is probably going to have to get back to throwing pain-free before he can resume pitching.
Detroit's bullpen has done a surprisingly strong job without him, with Eddie Bonine and Brad Thomas picking up some of Miner's middle and long work. Still, Miner had proven himself a valuable swingman over the past two years, able to pitch anything from spot starts to setup work to situational duty when the Tigers needed a ground-ball out.
Prospect Wells called up from Triple-A
DETROIT -- Casper Wells' first taste of the big leagues isn't going to be a long one, but he'll gladly take it. The Tigers added some positional depth for the weekend by calling up the talented outfield prospect from Triple-A Toledo on Friday afternoon.
The 25-year-old slugger, born a couple of hours away in Grand Rapids, Mich., will be making his Major League debut whenever he takes the field. But barring a change of plans, he'll be heading back down to Toledo on Sunday morning to make room for right-hander Armando Galarraga, who will make a spot start at Comerica Park.
Wells definitely isn't complaining.
"They are shuffling some things around with players," Wells said. "It's good to know my expectations and know what I'm up here for. I've never been in the big leagues. It's exciting."
Wells brings the Tigers back to 13 position players and 12 pitchers after their exhausted bullpen a few days ago forced them to add Alfredo Figaro as a 13th pitcher for Wednesday's day-night doubleheader and option veteran Ryan Raburn.
The seven-inning starts from Rick Porcello and Jeremy Bonderman on Wednesday, plus six solid innings from Justin Verlander on Thursday, left the bullpen at close to full strength for the weekend. Thus, Figaro -- who struggled in his lone appearance Wednesday night -- was optioned back to Toledo to make room for Wells, who gives the Tigers a right-handed-hitting slugger off the bench or a potential starter against a left-handed pitcher, such as Boston's Jon Lester on Saturday. Wells may make his debut against Lester, giving Johnny Damon a break in left field.
Wells entered the day batting .203 (24-for-131) with five home runs and 12 RBIs for the Hens this year, primarily due to a slow start in April. He dislocated his right pinky finger sliding into third base in the season's opening week, but came back quickly for a shot to step to the plate against Louisville and highly-touted Reds prospect Aroldis Chapman.
However, he's 10-for-27 with four homers off lefties.
"I feel confident against the lefties," Wells said. "I think it's mainly just staying in there. Coming from that side, a lot of times, I'm bailing out on a righty. I don't know specific numbers, but from what I'm told, I just rake lefties. That's been pretty true for my career. I've just hit well against lefties."
Those numbers are more indicative of his impact bat, which has made an impression at virtually every level where he has played, including the past two years in the Arizona Fall League against some of baseball's top pitching prospects.
Wells will get his shot, at least for this weekend. Like his stints in big league camp the past two Spring Trainings, he's going to try to take in as much of this as he can. His parents won't be able to make it in from New York state, but he knows they'll be able to watch on TV or online if he gets in.
"I'm trying to take control of the scrolling thoughts," he said. "It's a tornado in my head. I'm just trying to keep it to a minimum and slow that down. Stuff is flying around everywhere, and I'm trying to take bits and pieces of it and soak it up."
Galarraga to make spot start Sunday
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland announced Friday that pitcher Armando Galarraga will get the start Sunday against John Lackey and the Red Sox.
It will be Galarraga's first callup of the season. He posted a 4-2 record with a 3.92 ERA in seven starts this season with Triple-A Toledo.
Outfielder Casper Wells was called up Friday, but his stint will only last two days, as he will be sent back down to make room for Galarraga on Sunday.
Galarraga allowed seven runs on a May 6 start against Norfolk -- the only outing where he has given up more than three runs this season.
His previous start came against Durham, a team loaded with big league talent. Galarraga recorded a quality start and earned the win, throwing six innings and allowing three earned runs.
The major concern that has kept Galarraga in Triple-A has been his tendency to issue walks. But it seems his command is improving. He has thrown 636 pitches in Toledo, 427 for strikes and 209 for balls.
"He's done a pretty good job," Leyland said. "He hasn't been wild. They say he's been pounding the strike zone pretty good."
In two seasons with the Tigers, Galarraga posted a 19-17 record with a 4.58 ERA. Last year, Galarraga started 25 games and went 6-10 with a 5.64 ERA before being sent to the bullpen in September.
Santiago appears OK after hit-by-pitch
DETROIT -- The Tigers might well have dodged a major injury Friday night when Ramon Santiago took a 98-mph fastball from Daniel Bard off his left forearm in the seventh inning.
Santiago took his base, but he received a lengthy visit from head athletic trainer Kevin Rand before staying in the game. In the end, manager Jim Leyland said, some padding around Santiago's elbow might have saved him from far worse.
"He got smoked," Leyland said. "But fortunately he had some padding there. At least right now, it's not as bad as I thought it could've been. I mean, that's a potential broken bone, but fortunately, I don't think that's the case."
Santiago reached base twice Friday, including a second-inning walk, but went hitless to fall to 0-for-7 on the homestand. He has the odd split of a .179 average (5-for-28) at home this season compared to .326 (14-for-43) on the road, though he has played nearly twice as many games away from Comerica Park this season.
Baserunning mistake costly
DETROIT -- Though the five-run Red Sox rally in the opening inning put the Tigers down big early, they had the makings of two rallies late that fizzled. One was the bases-loaded jam in the seventh that went for naught. The other was an eighth-inning surge that yielded only one run thanks in part to a baserunning mistake.
Though Brandon Inge's sacrifice fly scored Magglio Ordonez to whittle Boston's lead to 6-2, a two-out walk to Scott Sizemore put a second runner and brought up Gerald Laird with the potential tying run on deck. A Daniel Bard pitch in the dirt had a chance to move up both runners into scoring position, but while Sizemore took off from first, Brennan Boesch didn't do the same from second.
The result was an easy throw to third to nab Boesch and end the threat.
It wasn't so much a miscommunication as perhaps a misread.
"Scott maybe saw me do a little break," Boesch said. "It happens. He took off and was trying to get that bag. It's one of those things that happens in baseball. You just have to hang with it."
Manager Jim Leyland said much the same.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.