CHICAGO -- Tigers hitting prospect Ryan Strieby remains sidelined at Triple-A Toledo while specialists try to determine once and for all the reason why he can't shake the recurring problems in his left wrist and hand.
Strieby hasn't played in a game since July 31. When he was scratched from the Mud Hens lineup the next day, it led to speculation he was getting called up to Detroit for his first Major League stint. Instead, he was heading back to the disabled list.
Strieby had an EMG study, or an electromyogram, on his hand earlier this week. The test usually determines if there's nerve or muscle weakness. Strieby also visited a hand specialist, who referred him to a therapist. Strieby has been able to work out, but so far, there has been no timetable for getting him back to action.
Strieby has been one of the organization's most talented hitters, and entered the season as promising as Brennan Boesch by some estimates. However, he has had five different stints on the disabled list with wrist problems since 2008, including surgery last year that limited him to just 86 games at Double-A Erie. He's batting .245 for Toledo this year with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 76 games.
Inge not worried about rumors, future
CHICAGO -- Baseball's rumor mill had Brandon Inge in its sights Friday, first with a FOXSports.com report that the Tigers had tried to get Inge through trade waivers only to have him blocked, then with a retraction that the Tigers hadn't put him on waivers in the first place. Inge said Friday afternoon that he hadn't heard it.
As far as Inge is concerned, that's how he wants it, whether it involves trade rumors or contract rumors. He'll have plenty of time to worry about his future, which he hopes includes the Tigers, but he doesn't want to be distracted by it in the present.
"All of it is hearsay," Inge said. "You never know what's going to happen. That's the best thing about being around as long as I have, because I don't worry about things like that anymore. If they happen, they happen."
Inge learned that lesson from the fallout after the Miguel Cabrera trade a few years ago. After being caught completely off-guard by the trade, Inge waited to see where he was going to be dealt, hearing from fans all over asking where he was headed. But a trade never happened.
By the end of the next season, Inge was still with the Tigers and had his old job back at third base. He hopes to have it next year, too, but his pending free agency throws an entirely different question into the scenario.
Inge said he hasn't heard anything from the Tigers about any interest in bringing him back, but he admitted, "I would hope so. But at the same token, I don't really know. I haven't talked to them at all. I've tried to let my agents handle anything that would be going on. I try to also tell them, 'Don't talk to me about anything unless it's concrete or something worth negotiating.' Otherwise, I really don't want to hear about it right now, because I don't want to be a distraction to the team and what we have going on.
"I'd rather just do my job and if they show an interest, then I'm more than happy to talk about it."
Coke fills relief role nicely
CHICAGO -- Some relievers don't have the mentality to handle late-inning leads. Others seem to have the mind-set for it.
Phil Coke falls into the latter. He says it's because he doesn't think out on the mound at all.
"I don't care if we're down or if we're up," Coke said. "I'm out there to do my job."
Coke's performance has made an impression on his manager. Jim Leyland said he knew Coke had a "dirtball, aggressive" personality on the mound, but he didn't know the left-hander was that much of a power pitcher until he saw Coke pitch in Spring Training.
Back then, hard as it is to believe in hindsight, Coke was briefly under consideration for a rotation spot if the cornucopia of veteran candidates the Tigers had, like Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson, didn't work out. Willis and Robertson are gone, but Coke has emerged as Detroit's main setup man in the wake of Joel Zumaya's injury and Ryan Perry's inconsistency.
That doesn't mean Coke doesn't take bad outings hard. His July 31 blown save against the Red Sox was particularly rough on him. But over time, the converted starter has learned how to handle them and shake them off.
"It depends on how much I stunk," Coke said.
Brookens earns kudos for scouting
DETROIT -- Tom Brookens says all the credit for great plays in the outfield goes to the outfielders making them. Still, it was impossible to overlook the compliment Justin Verlander paid to the Tigers outfield coach when he talked about Brennan Boesch's diving catch Wednesday that prevented the Rays from pulling ahead.
"You've got to give credit, one, to Boesch [for an] outstanding job, great play," Verlander said. "And two to Brooky, who did a great job with scouting and having him positioned in a position where he was able to make that play. As soon as the ball left the bat, I think, 'Oh crap, base hit.' And then I look up and see how shallow he's playing, and that allows him to make the play.
"So I think credit's got to go to both those guys right there. Mainly to Boesch. Obviously making the play is very difficult. But great job scouting and getting our guys in a good position."
It's a part of the game that gets easily ignored. But outfield coaches do much more than work with outfielders on technique.
Brookens, a former Tigers infielder who's in his first year on a Major League staff after the Tigers promoted him last fall, says he bases most of his positioning by judging spray charts on opposing hitters. However, he said, he might play outfielders differently with a power pitcher like Verlander on the mound as opposed to more of a finesse guy. He can adjust game plans from game to game, or sometimes even during a game.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.